Archive for February, 2011

Sputnik Moment for the Arts?

February 25, 2011

This weekend I’m going out with some friends to a Korean restaurant in Houston. Not the kind of place where the menu is in Korean and the food looks like it could be in Seoul. We don’t have such places in Houston, or New York, or LA. To find authentic food, other than that country, you need to travel to Canada. Why? Because we will simply not give immigration to Chefs.

President Obama reiterated our Sputnik moment, a moment when we competed with Russia in the space war and won it. And yes, we want the brightest and the best.  But only the brightest and the best in Science. We give an additional 17 month work permit for foreign students in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math. The rest of the subjects don’t matter to us. In general Extraordinary Ability visas are easier for Scientists to obtain than artists.  And yes, the measly budget that the Government spends on the National Endowment for the Arts gets slashed every time, to increase budgets like the military.

As a Society we consciously chose to become a melting pot. And we did that with great success. Countries like Canada, England or France which chose multiculturalism created sub classes of immigrants with awful race relations. Yet we are not adding to our melting pot.

During New York’s Fashion Week, Mayor Michael Bloomberg argued that the country’s immigration policies jeopardize New York’s status as “the fashion capital of the world,” saying they limit visas for designers, manufacturers and, yes, models.  Similarly throughout the country artistic performances get canceled because artists don’t get visas. And what’s strange is that most politicians, including President Obama are humanities majors. Yet until they realize the importance of the arts, I have to be content with my American version of Korean food.

Contact Houston Immigration Lawyer, or Houston Immigration Attorney Annie Banerjee, for more information.


The Perm Game

February 18, 2011

In order to do a Labor Certification, commonly known by its acronym, PERM, the US employer has to “test” the labor market to prove that no Americans are available to do the job. They do this by advertising in various places. The Department of Labor prescribes to us which particular places we can advertise. And that’s where this game starts. Its a stilted process which has no resemblance to real life. We have to advertise in the Sunday edition of a newspaper. While this might keep the newspaper industry in the US afloat, in real life especially for jobs like “software engineer”–nobody reads print newspapers anymore. Then we have to advertise in the State Workforce Agency’s web site. I bet you did not know that each state has a job search website run by the workforce agency. I did a google search on “Engineering jobs in Texas” and the workforce agency’s website did not come up in the first two pages.

Yet when employers use a private Recruitment firm to do the “test” of labor market, they can get denied unless they have adequate documents to delineate exactly how they conducted recruitment. In re Unica Corporation, Balca 2010-PER-00006

So my advise to Employers is play the game by the DOL rules. In this game, the referee (DOL) is unforgiving, so avoid fouls by keeping meticulous records of all advertisement and recruitment report before starting to play the PERM game. If you are using any private recruitment agency, have a signed statement from them as to what they did, and keep it in the file. Follow the letter of the law, not its intent. Is this contrary to American jurisprudence? You bet.


Contact Houston Immigration Lawyer, or Houston Immigration Attorney Annie Banerjee, for more information.

Immigration Scams

February 11, 2011

Immigration Scams are easy jobs.  The immigrants are trusting, and willing to give everything for immigration.  And the scam artists know that.  Here are some common things to look out for:

In the United States, ALL Government web sites end with dot gov.  So if the web site says dot com, dot org or anything else, it is not a Government web site.

No one, not even the President of the United States can promise immigration.  In fact, President Obama’s aunt, his father’s sister, (someone who President Obama did not know existed) was living here illegally. The Government deported her, even though her nephew was the President. This is the United States, and this is why people want to come here.

Similarly, many lawyers in big law firms promise that they are tight with the CIS, can can process the papers faster, better. Not true.  There is NO influence peddling in the Government. The biggest Immigration law firm in the United States was audited by the Department of Labor when they were suspected of illegal practices, and each and every case suffered.

Immigration lawyers can only process immigration papers. They cannot give you a job, an office for L-1 a spouse or anything. Anybody who promises that is fraudulent. A Houston lawyer was found to be doing that with L-1 visas.  Now she is in jail, and all her cases are being audited.

The Diversity visa is done through a lottery. The lottery is done by computers. Many people claim they can influence the results— NOT TRUE.

Notarios are not lawyers in the United States. They are not supposed to be practicing law.  They can only attest to the fact that if someone signs, that the person is really the one signing.

And finally, check out the lawyer’s credentials before hiring her. Ask questions. Most lawyers have their degrees and licenses to practice law framed in their offices. Read those to determine that it is indeed a true LAW degree. Many times a degree in a certain law: “Bachelors in Criminal Law” or “Bachelors in Environmental law” are not true JD degrees.


Contact Houston Immigration Lawyer, or Houston Immigration Attorney Annie Banerjee, for more information

The Patriot Act is dying a slow death

February 10, 2011

The House Republican majority failed to pass the Patriot Act, set to expire at the end of February. The Patriot Act is the Act that denudes Americans of their privacy, enables the Government to tap into their phone, e mail, library books, etc. 26 Republicans voted against the bill, while 67 Democrats voted with the Republicans for the bill.

This shows that House delegates do not necessarily vote on party line. The Republican controlled House cannot just assume that they can pass their agenda, despite Obama holding out carrots to them with the tax bill and other recent things.

Or maybe the house members are realizing how it feels to have your privacy eroded, with the Wiki leaks.


Contact Houston Immigration Lawyer, or Houston Immigration Attorney Annie Banerjee, for more information

Laissez Faire and Immigration

February 2, 2011

Two seemingly unconnected things happened this week, yet they are connected by a broad policy issue. The 65,000 H-1B quota finished last week.  And a Florida Judge ruled that Obama’s health care was unconstitutional. Yes, health care and immigration has nothing in common, but the laissez faire policy reaches out to every facet of Government.

The Florida judge ruled that the State cannot compel an individual to buy public health care. In a 78 page opinion, the judge goes back to American history, and the founding father’s intentions of creating a society founded on freedom, where State does not interfere on individual’s life. The Republican and tea party are rejoicing in that decision.  Yet, the same people have no problem establishing quotas on business immigration.

There are only 65,000 (and 20,000 for US Master’s holders) H-1B visas given annually. In years when the economy was better, there were more than 200,000 petitions filed on the first day (April 01).  When the economy got worse, the filings slowed down.  Last year, the numbers finished in late December, this year it was late January.

Thus filings mirror the marketplace. It is this imposition of an unnatural quota that is contrary to the founding father’s intentions.  Even now, there may be a doctor, who cannot give services due to the numbers, or a highly needed software professional, who cannot get an urgent work done.

Why don’t we go back to the original intentions of our nation, as a Capitalist Laissez faire economy, abolish unnatural quotass, and have the market place determine what is necessary?

Contact Houston Immigration Lawyer, or Houston Immigration Attorney Annie Banerjee, for more information.