Posts Tagged ‘Visa’

H-1B fraud solutions

March 7, 2016

The H-1B program has been coming under attack lately. Ted Cruz wants to put a moratorium on H-1B visa. That seems to be the Republican solution to every crisis—-stop it and put your head under the sand, and the problem will go away. Is there fraud in the H-1B program? Yes. But the way to…



H-4 Work Permit

May 18, 2015

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…


Due Process at Consulates

September 2, 2009

Stories of unfair US Consular Decisions abound. People meet all the requirements of getting a particular visa, and the consulate officer denies the visa based on his or her innate prejudices. The denied applicant can almost always do nothing.

The petitioning entity in the US can usually appeal to a Congressman or Senator, who can demand the reason for the denial. However previously the Consulate did not have to give a reason for that denial under the Consular non reviewability doctrine. Under the 14th Amendment of the US Constitution, The Government cannot deny any person in the United States any rights without due process.  This usually means a hearing from the applicant and a right of the applicant to defend himself. This due process was denied to individuals who were not “in” the United States. Furthermore, a Consulate decision, no matter how egregious, was not reviewable by a Federal Court in the United States.

The Appellate Court in New York (2nd Circuit) changed that in Ramadan v Napolitano. The Court held that Federal Courts have the right to review Consulate decisions, and that Consulate posts need to provide an opportunity for individuals to explain their case.  This case involved a Muslim Scholar, Mr. Ramadan who was denied a visitor’s visa on the basis of the fact that he contributed money to a terrorist group that had ties to Hamas. However the contributions were made between 1998 and 2002.  The US did not designate this group as a terrorist group until August 2003.  Therefore Mr. Ramadan could not have known that he was making contributions to a terrorist group.

It is yet to be seen what influence this case will have in Consulates such as Chennai, which has the distinction of having the highest visa denials.  Will they provide the applicants with a hearing, and if so, is this hearing going to be of any length of time to be meaningful? Additionally, many people applying for visas all over the world have limited English knowledge, and may be made to sign papers which does not state the truth.

The Rule of Law is a high ideal and although most consulate officers follow it, many are still governed by innate prejudices against little people, little corporations. Yet these are the very people that the Constitution seeks to protect. Additionally these little individuals will not have the resources to appeal their case in an US Court of Law. At the very least, maybe the documents required to prove that an applicant has the “facially legitimate and bona fide” rights to a visa, will be the same for employees of big Corporations and little start up corporations. At least this is a step in the right direction.

Contact Houston Immigration Lawyer, Annie Banerjee, for more information

Marriage Based Interview

September 12, 2008

How to ACE a marriage based Interview at CIS

DO-Dress professionally. As in any interview, the interviewer forms an initial impression, which if negative is hard to shake. The clothes do not have to be expensive But have proper respect by wearing clothes that cover. This is a serious interview, not a dance club

DO- Tell the truth. There are no right or wrong thing in a marriage and making up lies really complicate matter. Apart from the fact that the officer places you under oath to “tell the truth” and lying to a federal officer is a felony, it does actually hurts your case. The officers are supposed to judge whether you are married or not under state law. Most state law defines marriage as:
1. Intent to be married
2. Having a ceremony of some sort for the marriage
3. Holdingout to others as man and wife

Marriage is ultimately a social declaraion of the intent of one man and one woman to be together and no other societal rules govern marriage.

In a separate interview once, for my clients, the husband was asked where he took his wife on the last date. The wife had already answered Mc Donalds. The husband did not want to say that he was that “cheap.” So he hesitated, and ultimately said “a nice restaurant.” We had trouble with that case, although the couple was happily married.

In another case, the male client had gone back to his village in Tanzania, while his pregnant wife stayed in the US. The question was whether when he was in Tanzania, did he call his wife. The man answered no. His village had no phones. His wife thought it would “look bad” that he never called his pregnant wife, so she answered yes. The nest question was how many time, and she answered three ties a day. One lie leads to another. We had to wait for the birth of the child for the officer to actually believe that the couple was in fact living together.

Do -Take all the documents with you. For instance:

Proof of Cohabitation – As many of these as you can get:

A. Copy of birth certificate of child together
B. Copy of joint mortgage documents
C. Copy of joint rental agreement
D. Copy of life insutrance where the spouse is the beneficiary
E. Copy of joint health insurance
F. Copy of joint car insurance
G. Copy of joint bank account
H. Copy of joint stock certificate
I. Copy of joint credit card bills
J. Copy of joint purchases, example car or furniture or appliances
K. Marriage album and pictures

a. Marriage certificate
b. Birth certificates of both spouses
c. Naturalization certificate for petitioner
d. Divorce decrees for both spouses, if applicable
e. All other documents submitted to the INS, like EAD card, or travel document like advance parole
f. Passport, driver’s license and SS Card for both spouses

Do- Be short and sweet. Just answer the specific question asked, nothing more. The officer has many interviews to do a day, and does not have time to hear your life story. Besides going off on tangents derails the officer, and make their job harder. If they forget something, they can ask you to come back later, delaying the time you have to get your green card.

DON’T Prepare for the interview other than collecting the documents. Very often clients ask me what type of questions are asked, with the intent of starting to memorize the answers. When one of my clients asked me that, I had told him that they may ask him questions about his wife, like her birth date, etc. At the interview, he told me he had memorized everything about his wife. I dont know whether that endeared him more to his wife, but for the interview purpose it was a complete waste of time. Again, since there are no rules in a marriage there is no rule as to what you should now. If you dont know, say “I dont know.” Dont make up an answer. A client was once asked what perume the other spouse wears. This couple knew the answer. But dear readers, I have been married for 22 years, and have raised two kids with my husband aged 21 and 20. And frankly I dont think my husband wears a perfume. My husband certainly does not know what perfume I wear. I dont know what perfume I wear, since they come from little bottles on my dresser that I get as presents. So, if you dont know, say “I dont know.”

DON’T-Act overly amorous or lovey-dovey. The officers are trained to recognize frauds and being overly amorous raises the suspicion as to whether you are really married. Act normal. You are always liked best when you are your natural self.

And above all DON’T file false petitions! That is a crime and will get you deported. If you are actually not living together as man and wife, immigration officers do find out. These officers are trained and do nothing but marriage cases about 7-8 a day for years!

Immigration and Sarah Palin

September 5, 2008

The legal stuff first: This blog is not true. Actually I dont think Governor Palin even knows what immigration means. This is just what I think, hopefully a blog whose value is only in its humor.

So, lets say, John McCain gets to be President, and then just dies of whatever carcinoma he has. We will then have President Palin. She is an ex Beauty Queen—- for Wasilla and second in Alaska! She majored in journalism from the University of Idaho. There are no immigrants in Alaska or Idaho. What does immigration actually mean? Oh and where is Iraq? In the middle east, just on the other side of the mid west.

She might think that EB (Employment Based) should be Excellence in Beauty. Yes, the categories will remain the same, except the judging criteria will be the same as the beauty contests. Indians and Chinese will never get on 2nd pref, (they will all be 3rd or less), so EB-2 for India and China will always be current. And probably most beneficiaries will be females, with husbands being derivative beneficiaries. (Nothing against guys, but there just isn’t any male beauty contests, and therefore no rules. And Congress of course will not pass anything).

Ok, so we will have only one type of employment based categories. OK, maybe 2. Oil Drillers and Fishermen. So if you are either, you come in. If not, leave NOW!

Maybe we will have a category for dogs. Palin is a self described “pitbull with lipstick”. I’m sure she likes huskies. So we should have unrestricted immigration for dogs. Family based categories for dogs.

Now do you see why it was a bad idea to buy Alaska from Russia? The Putin/Palin ticket has a great ring to it.

TN Visa to Green Card

July 9, 2008

TN visa is given to Canadian and Mexican Nationals under the NAFTA treaty. These individuals qualify for and work in jobs specified under a specific Schedule enumerated in the NAFTA Treaty with Canada and Mexico.

Unlike H and L visas, TN visa holders could not apply for Permanent Residency, (green card) because this visa was temporary and did not allow for dual intent (ie intent to hold both temporary and permanent visas) in the US. However, unlike visitors visa, the TN visa holder did not have to maintain foreign residency abroad. Also, a June 1996 letter by Yvonne LaFleur, Chief of Business and Trade branch at INS, said that the TN worker could do consular processing of their permanent visas. Although this letter is not binding, it has been followed by most Consular Posts.

Logistically, this was not possible earlier, because TNs were given for 1 year and most green cards took more than 1 year. So the TN visas would not be extended after that year if one applied for the Permanent Residency. However now TN visas are being given for 3 years. So many TN nationals can now probably apply for their Permanent Residency and able to do consular processing of their green card during this time. With only 65,000 H-1B visas available, it worth a shot for many desperate employers and employees.

J-1 Student Internship

June 23, 2008

The USCIS released final regulations regarding J-1 Student Intern visa. This new visa will allow a student, enrolled in post secondary education, to intern with private or Government sector employers for training. This will provide much needed work experience to foreign students. Previously the students could only work on CPT or OPT, and the length of time was highly restrictive. In contract, USC students could enter into any number of internships. Thus US students could have a competitive advantage in graduate studies or the job market.

It is nice to note that ALL students (and not just STEM students) can avail of this situation. The OPT extension,l by contract is ONLY available to STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) students. I still fail to realize how technology cannot include Engineering. Also I am appalled by the cold world era emphasis on Science in this day and age. If one looks at great works of literature, movie, music, it is primarily produced by hyphenated Americans, (like Chinese-American, Indian-Americans, etc.) Scan the Pulitzer or Oscar list. Same is true of any Management Degree holders, whose international experience is greatly necessary for global business. Yet the government only recognizes the need for STEM students. This is so reminiscent of the Cold War. But then, so is the War on Terror.

The Politics of Immigration

June 8, 2008

The issue of Immigration has broad bi partisan support. But at loggerheads are two issues, business immigration and granting status to illegal immigrants. Business immigration laws restrict the number of immigrants that can come in for instance on the H-1B visa (professional visa) and employment based green cards. Tech companies like google and Microsoft are severely affected. This year google received more than 1 million application for jobs . They filed only 300 H-1B visas. 90 of those visas did not get accepted. Google has the reputation of being one of the best employers and hire the very best. In fact one of google founders, Sergey Brin, is an immigrant.

Responding to complaints by Google and Microsoft, both the house and senate has bills to increase the H-1B quotas and exclude people in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) from the quota.

But such bills are often not passed, and tend to be rejected by those law makers who believe that there is more pressing need to legalize illegal immigrants rather than do something about business immigration. Comprehensive immigration is great, but almost impossible to pass in this divided congress. Yet the champions of legalizing illegal immigrants often do not want to pass immigration reform to grant businesses more professional immigrants. Ultimately, what those Senators and Congressmen and women fail to see is that Immigration benefits us, no matter what type it is. Restricting professional immigrants just results in those professional jobs being outsources to other countries, and the US loosing its foothold in the world.

DOL to Audit ALL Perms filed by Big law Firm

June 3, 2008

The Department of Labor announced yesterday that it will audit every PERM filing by Fragomen, which is the biggest immigration law firm in the US. The DOL charged that some of their lawyers engaged in questionable and illegal practices while advising employers. What it means for individual clients is that their cases will be delayed, in many cases denied, and in still many cases the employer has to do supervised recruitment all over again. All because they chose the wrong law firm.

The biggest law firms almost always charge more and tout their experience. Sometimes they even say that the CIS knows their firm personally and give them better service. This is all totally false. The only thing that big law firms care about is their profit margin. The clients pay for their shiny offices and become just a number in the firm. They are not individual cases, just a number. The paralegal does all the work and many times, the attorney does not even have the time to review the case over. Many times, the paralegal does not even possess the paralegal degree and just knows how to type.

When retaining a lawyer, the client should ask the question as to who will actually work on the case, and what the education and experience of that person is. It is also helpful to ask how many clients the firm has and how many lawyers there are. Divide the number to gauge if an individual lawyer will actually look at your case.

We specialize in giving individual attention to all our clients. ALL cases are individually handled by Annie Banerjee who graduated third highest in her law school class in Houston and has over 10 years of experience. Check us out at

The Brighest and the Best

June 1, 2008

Anti Immigration groups like the Center for Immigration Studies charge that the foreign workers who come in to the United States are not the Brightest and the Best. Dr. Norman Matloff, a Professor of Computer Science, in UC Davis, recently wrote a paper full of fallacies, whose main theme is that Asian students are inferior than American and Western students in Math and Science.

Lets look at some facts here. The Dept of Labor has mandated that foreign workers have to be paid more than the prevailing wage. The CIS fees for Companies over 25 workers is $2340/- each H-1B employee. Add attorneys fees to that, and the figure can reach almost $5000/- per H-1B individual. Would it make market sense then, for a Company to hire a foreign worker if American workers are available? Surely Mr. Matloff does not think that American businesses, like Cisco, Google and Microsoft, who he quoted in his article are stupid in making business decisions.

What Mr. Matloff has done to prove that Asian students are lower than European students is taken averages from those countries. Yes, Europe will have a higher average any day than China or India. That is because European countries have a homogeneous and small population, with free public education. India and China have over a billion people and of course cannot afford to educate its entire population. The same is true of states in the US. The average PSAT score which is used to compute the average for National Merit Scholarship is much higher in North Dakota than it is in CA, NY or TX. ND has a much smaller and homogeneous population than the larger states. But if you look at the population of students in the ivy leagues from the bigger states, there are more students from these states than there is from North Dakota. So the brightest and the best does not necessarily coincide with the median.

If we are to look at averages, can Mr Matloff explain why Asians have, as a group scored higher in the Math portion of the SATs? Why compared to their population in the general US society, so many Asians get accepted into the ivys? Bear in mind that Asians get neither legacy nor affirmative action in terms of admission to these ivys. My daughter just graduated from Yale University with distinction in Literature, and yes, the top scoring Science and Math student at Yale in 2008 was a student from Vietnamese origin. This is not a statistics, just a fact.

There’s got to be a lot of Asian students taking Computer Science at UC Davis. Do they enroll in Mr. Matloff’s class. If so, I would dearly love to know how he grades these students. With his prejudicial views, I doubt that he is a fair and impartial grader.