Archive for the ‘immigration’ Category

The Donald and Immigration fraud

August 5, 2016

Politico has raised doubts about Melania Trump’s Immigration Status.  Melania could have come to the US with the special H-1B status for models.  H-1B for fashion models, unlike other H-1B categories, does not require education.  However it does require that the model be famous in internationally, and that she has a job offer.  Therefore Melania’s lie about her education in Slovenia was probably not instrumental. However, the facts as to (1) whether she had a job offer, probably from a modeling agency, before coming to the US and (2) Whether at that time she was a reputed model, can be in dispute.

Added to that, Politico also notes that both Donald and Melania Trump stated that she would return home every few months to renew her visa.  Since most H-1B visas are given for three years, maybe Melania Trump came on a Visitor’s visa (B visa).  Under a B visa, she was not allowed to work in the US.

The H-1B visa would require Melania to work for a modeling agency.  She needed to sign up with the agency before coming to the United States.  Maybe she was free lancing, because my guess is that free lancing models get paid more per job. So she came on a B visa, worked here, and went back to Europe after the job was done, to come back again. The only problem is that the B visa DOES NOT allow her to work in the US. So in this scenario, she committed Immigration fraud.

After the article came out, many left wing pundits are calling for deporting Melania.  Not so fast. She is married to a United States Citizen.  Her “fraud” can be waived (the technical term is 601 waiver) if the US Citizen husband suffers “extreme hardship” if she leaves.  This standard is “Yuge”.  However judging by the number of times Donald has mentioned “sex” in the campaign, not to mention his strong defense of his hand size, I think Donald would claim “tremendous loss” if Melania is deported.

For more information on Immigration, please contact Houston Immigration Lawyer, Annie Banerjee

H-4 Work Permit

May 15, 2015
  1. Who can get the work permit?

Spouses of H-1B. The H-1B individual needs to have: (1) and Approved I-140 and (2) Maintain his or her H-1B status.

The H-4 person needs to also maintain his or her H-4 status

So this is not spouses for recent arrivals who just has H-1B and has not started the Green Card (Permanent Resident Card) process yet.  Note L-2 can apply for work permit immediately upon entry into the US.

  1. When can the H-4 apply ?

 

Starting from May 26, 2015.  Citizenship and Immigration Service will reject applications filed before this date.

  1. Is this a sure thing?

This is under the Executive Action which is being currently challenged in Court. So this is not 100% sure. To date Citizenship and Immigration Service has not released any new forms or regulations

  1. Documents: These would probably be the necessary documents
    1. Copy of marriage certificate (with English translation)
    2. Copy of children’s birth certificate, if any
    3. Copy of H-4 approval and/or Visa page
    4. Copy of H-1B spouse’s H-1B approval
    5. Copy of H-1B spouses I-140 approval
    6. Three Recent paystubs of H-1B spouse
    7. Two passport size pictures of H-4 Employment Authorization Document applicant

Please contact Immigration Attorney in Houston, Annie Banerjee for details

H-4 Work Permit

May 15, 2015

H-4 Work Permit

  1. Who can get the work permit?

Spouses of H-1B. The H-1B individual needs to have: (1) and Approved I-140 and (2) Maintain his or her H-1B status.

The H-4 person needs to also maintain his or her H-4 status

So this is not spouses for recent arrivals who just has H-1B and has not started the Green Card (Permanent Resident Card) process yet.  Note L-2 can apply for work permit immediately upon entry into the US.

  1. When can the H-4 apply ?

 

Starting from May 26, 2015.  Citizenship and Immigration Service will reject applications filed before this date.

  1. Is this a sure thing?

This is under the Executive Action which is being currently challenged in Court. So this is not 100% sure. To date Citizenship and Immigration Service has not released any new forms or regulations

  1. Documents: These would probably be the necessary documents
    1. Copy of marriage certificate (with English translation)
    2. Copy of children’s birth certificate, if any
    3. Copy of H-4 approval and/or Visa page
    4. Copy of H-1B spouse’s H-1B approval
    5. Copy of H-1B spouses I-140 approval
    6. Three Recent paystubs of H-1B spouse
    7. Two passport size pictures of H-4 Employment Authorization Document applicant

Please contact Immigration Attorney in Houston, Annie Banerjee for details

The House Immigration Deal

December 13, 2013

Joe Biden, and even President Obama supports the House’ piecemeal approach to Immigration.  And this is because Immigration is simply too complex an issue.  While I completely understand the frustration that most illegal people face, being in this country, working for years, a quick comprehensive bill, supported by one party can never be the solution to this complex problem.

 

According to Bob Goodlatte, R Va, head of the House Judiciary Committee,  used to practice Immigration law.  He will give Immigration a top priority in 2014.  Among the pieces he will be looking at will be visas for high skilled workers, Ag workers E-Verify and securing the border.  Once employers are hiring legal immigrants, the border is secured, and the high skilled (H-1B) and Ag workers (H-2B) here legally, and the country has a need for them—is taken care of, we can talk about the dreamers.  And although the Dreamers were brought into this country as kids, and have known no other country, most of them have merely a high school diploma, and little skill beyond that to get a job.  To have given them a path to citizenship in 13 years as the President wanted, while Master’s Degree holding legal individuals, with job, born in India currently takes 14 years to become a citizen would simply not be fair.

 

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

Immigration Reform

October 17, 2013

The shutdown proves that we are a deeply divided country.  And the ONLY reason that the Republicans gave in is because their constituents, big business said no to them. It was survival for them, an economic necessity.

When it comes to immigration and the shutdown, the media seems to harp upon how people waiting in line was affected.  But Citizenship and Immigration Service was open, and legal people had NO EXTRA wait time.  The shut down merely hindered illegal people.

 

The media never paid attention to businesses.  Business lost immensely because they could not file transfers of H-1B visas.  The Department of Labor was closed.  Before filing the H-1B visa, the Department of Labor has to certify that the beneficiary is being paid a fair wage.  The Department of Labor was closed.  Professionals who were reaching the end of their stay could not file PERM- Labor Certification or H-1B extensions.  These individual came into this country legally, and perform professional services mainly in sectors where not enough qualified US Citizens exist.

 

Yet the Democrats have made immigration into an illegal Mexican issue.  However it will be up to the Republicans to champion their side.  During the passing of the Affordable Care Act, the Republican just chose not to participate.  As a result we have a one party Act, which does not address for instance, tort reform.  Even though tort reform is a State issue, the federal Government could easily have limited it under the Act.  Ambulance chasing law suits add to useless and expensive tests that greatly increase health care costs, and will continue to do so.  But the tort lawyers support Democrats.  Lets not make Immigration a one party law.

 

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

The Government Shutdown will not generally effect most Immigration cases

October 1, 2013

Please note that the Government shutdown due to the budget impasse does not affect Citizenship and Immigration Service.  Citizenship and Immigration Service operates with the filing fees of petitions, and does not rely on any Government funding.  Just like the Postal service, the Citizenship and Immigration Service will run as usual, with the same number of staff.  This means that your business and family immigration case will not be affected.  It will not take longer to process due to Governmental shutdown.

All individuals should go for their interviews and fingerprinting as usual.

The icert (labor condition application, filing before H-1B) and PERM- Labor Certification systems operated by Department of Labor is also running.  The Department of Labor has said its “expected” to operate.  However in the event that the impasse continues for a long time, and their funds run out we will not be able to operate their web sites.  Right now there is no indication of a Department of Labor (Foreign office processing) will shut down.  However if the shutdown is prolonged, we will not be able to file new labor condition applications or PERM- Labor Certifications or audit answers.  Right now, we have to operate as usual.

Department of State will try to stay open as much as possible, but again, might close if the shutdown is prolonged.  Right now there is no report of any consulates being closed.

The Customs and Border patrol will also operate as usual.  So will Transportation Security Agents at ports of entries.

In the Immigration arena, the only type of cases already affected is deportation cases.  The courts will only hear detainee cases.  Other cases are being temporarily stopped.

For more detailed information, please go to:

http://www.whitehouse.gov/omb/contingency-plans

 

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

H-1B vs EAD

May 30, 2013

Question: I have filed my I-485 petition and have my work and travel permit.  Do I still need to continue my H-1B?

 

I get asked the above question a lot.  And the answer like most things is, “it depends.”

 

Since the Department of State advanced the current dates for Indian and Chinese individuals in 2007 and then EB-2 towards the end of 2011, a lot of people filed for adjustment of status (I-485).  Along with that filing they got the initial Employment Authorization Document and advance parole (travel document).  Those documents can be extended yearly until one gets the Green Card (Permanent Resident Card).  So technically one does not need the H-1B

Please note though that once you don’t extend the H after 6 years of being in H status, it disappears.  You cannot extend it anymore.  If you want to get back to the H quota, you will have to go back for one year,  then you will have to wait for the next fiscal year, and might have to get into the lottery which happens some years, including this year.  In other words its close to impossible to get back the H status if you don’t keep extending beyond 6 years.

The work and travel permits are dependent on the I-485.  This is applicable to the principal alien filing the I-485, ie the person for whom the employer filed the Labor Certification.  As long as the I-485 is valid (ie the Employer still wants to continue the process) there should be no problem.  The problem arises though when the sponsoring employer does not want to sponsor anymore.

 

However if the principal alien has a new employer after 180 days of filing the I-485, that new employer can transfer the Green Card (Permanent Resident Card) process through AC-21.  The job has to be “same and similar” to the job described in the labor certificate.  In this situation, the I-485 will be valid for the principal and the dependent aliens as well.

 

If it happens to be a job in a completely different area, the new employer can start a whole new process of PERM- Labor Certification.  The principal alien will still get the old Priority Date, but in this case the I-485 will no longer be valid. And if the principal and dependent aliens don’t have a valid H-1B visa, they cannot do this.

 

The bottom line: The H-1B visa provides a second layer of security and should be extended if cost is not a consideration.  However if cost is a factor, one needs to do a cost-benefit analysis.

 

Contact Houston Immigration Lawyer, or Houston Immigration AttorneyAnnie Banerjee, for more information

Special Quotas for Irish in the New Immigration Deal?

May 17, 2013

The history of Immigration in the USA goes right along the history of slavery, and can be described by one word: Discrimination. The Asians were not even allowed to enter, because Immigration was restricted to people “from Caucasian descent.”

In 1923, when Bhagat Singh tried to get Citizenship, claiming that he was “Caucasian” (Indians are Caucasians by race), the US Supreme Court ruled that Indians could not assimilate into the “white society”, that East Asians were barred from immigrating, and applied it retroactively, denaturalizing all Asians given the Citizenship previously.

Fast forward not even a 100 years and the Irish are claiming favoritism again in 2013.  They claim its “hard” for people of Europe to immigrate and estimates that as many as 50,000 Irish people are currently living ILLEGALLY in the US.  They complain because they are not included in the “Diversity” visa, a visa given by lottery to any High School graduate because there are few citizens of that country.  Note India and China never were included in the diversity visa.  People from there come on the basis of merit.

And just how will Ireland justify allowing more numbers to the Immigration quota? Because they  have “political clout” with a lot of Senators. Senator Chuck Schumer is in their pocket. John McCain “works ” with them.

I have a note to Irish parents: why don’t you just have your children get the Bachelor’s Degree like the rest of us?  And yes, the CIS favors a British or Irish Degree over Indian or Chinese Degree anyways.

We should end country quotas, end Diversity based on country of origin, end Xenophobia, and get immigration not by the color of our skin, but by the content of our brain and character.

 

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

Travel on H-1B

May 7, 2013

Please note that this is advisory ONLY.  Anytime you travel, whether you are let in is purely up to the discretion of the CBP officer at your port of entry.  H-1B visa stamping is difficult in India, especially for smaller software companies.  However if you are not a US Master’s Degree holder and this is your first H-1B stamping, and you are originally from India, you have to go to India for stamping.

There is no way to predict when your regular processing H-1B will be adjudicated.  Premium is a safer bet, however upgrading it to premium sometimes incurs a Request for Evidence.

You are a US Master’s student on OPT, and you want to travel.  Your H-1B got accepted.  Can you travel in June and come back in July?

If you look at your OPT, it says not valid for travel.  So its good to have your student’s visa valid in your passport as well.  Also definitely have your H-1B on premium and approved when you go.  Have a letter from your employer that they are employing you currently on your OPT and intent to employ you on your H-1B, and recent pay stubs. .  However there is always a possibility that CBP Officer may want the H-1B visa stamped, especially if this is closer in date to October 01.  If you return after October 01, obviously you have to have the H-1B visa stamped on your passport.

 

You are on H-4 or L-1, applied for change of status to H-1B.  Your application got accepted. Now you want to go out of the US?

If there is a pending application with the Citizenship and Immigration Service, the CBP officers will usually not allow you to enter back.  Also, if the officer adjudicating your H-1B case finds out that you are not in the United States, then she will not give the change or extension of status.  Thus have the H-1B approval before going abroad.  However the above principles of not being let in, esp nearer to October applies.  And sometimes officers are less forgiving to people who do not have US Master’s Degree.

On another note some L-1s try to file for H-1B just to get the quota, and want to maintain their L-1 status even after October 01.  In that case, if the applicant enters after October 01, on his L-1 status, and the I-94 clearly proves it, then yes, L-1 status is maintained.  The applicant has to file another change of status application or get the H-1B visa stamped though before he starts work on H-1B.

 

You are on H-1B and have applied for extension or transfer and want to go out?

The officers will not extend status if you are not physically present in the US.  So if travel is urgent, then either upgrade to Premium, or be prepared to get the visa stamped before coming in.  If you go out after the approval, if you already have a valid H-1B visa stamped in your passport, you can come in with that, even though you filed for a change of employer, and your new employer’s name is on the I-797 approval form.

 

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

High Tech vs Low Tech

April 12, 2013

Mark Zuckerberg created a PAC for Immigration Reform. The debate on Immigration is now between high skilled workers vs the undocumented people. The tech industry vs the fruit industry.  The Republicans vs the Democrats.

Yes, we need fruit pickers. But we can easily teach the 7 % unemployed people in the US to pick grapes in 3 hours.  We cannot teach them to program a computer.

And yes, this is a political issue. The Obama Administration wants “comprehensive Immigration.” it says that it wants high tech jobs. But all the administrative options that are available, seems only to apply  to  undocumented  immigrants.  That is good.  DACA is giving many kids the chance to drive legally.  But they are high school graduates, and many simply cannot find a job, even though they are getting the work permit. Similarly the procedure for I-601 waivers is made easier.  And it is helping many families stay intact.

But when it comes to the business immigration, we are simply not seeing those administrative solutions.  The “control” memo that puts a dent on the H-1B s for tech companies, introduced during the Obama administration is still here.  This year the H-1B quotas even for Master’s Degree holders from US Universities got filled in the first day, with lottery.  If these Master’s Degree holders don’t get into the lottery, will their OPT work permit be extended? And if not, why not? These are Master’s Degree (or even Bachelor’s Degree holders ) from US Universities. Are they inferior to the DACA people simply because they followed the law and maintained legal status? If the DACA people are given work permits for just being high school grads, why should Bach and masters of US Universities not be given the same opportunity? And what about highly qualified spouses of H-1Bs? What wrong did they do?

 

And last but not least, the Obama Administration wants a “clear path to citizenship” for everyone. And yes, these 11 million people, (most of them poorly educated) has to stand in line behind all those in line right now. But what about the next high tech inventor who is now in grade school, dabbling in programming. If this kid invents the next google, and wants to come to the US, does she have to wait in line behind the 11 million people? And if so, will we then lose our technology edge in the world, simply due to political pandering of the Democrats?

Lets make immigration like most countries do: The more qualified you are, the simpler and faster will be your immigration. Irrespective of whether you are legal or not.  We want people for the content of their brains, not for the color of their skin.

 

Contact Houston Immigration Lawyer, or Houston Immigration AttorneyAnnie Banerjee, for more information