Visa Status Alternatives Can be Quite Complex

By | News & Press | No Comments

Though getting an H-1B status after a long petition is the usual desired outcome, it pays to look at all options. The annual cap on the number of visas and the unknown, “lottery” aspect of being awarded a visa means that many employers and hopeful employees are forced to look at possible alternatives. It may even happen that when the H-1B visa is approved, you may prefer one of your alternatives and may not wish to make use of it, as then changing your status to H-1B is often a drawn-out and rocky process..

As a prospective employee, you may be sponsored into the U.S. by multiple potential employers for a change of status. Multiple sponsors would increase one’s chances of success, in theory. But if multiple petitions are selected for the lottery and are approved, that individual now has multiple I-94s issued, all with the same start date of October 1. The employee may join the employer of his or her choosing, and must maintain that visa status. Concurrent employment should be discussed with an immigration attorney to ensure that there is correct filing with the USCIS.

If you are a prospective employee, your employer may have filled out an H-1B petition which requests a change of status for an L-1 status foreign national, or someone who is otherwise a nonimmigrant. The petition must be filed in April for a start date of October 1. You may not hear again from the prospective employer and assume that they H-1B petition was not approved, and then hear after the October 1 start date that it was approved when you receive a work request. This happens quite frequently. An employer may hold onto authorization for a variety of reasons, or communications go awry.

Unfortunately, if you fail to join the H-1B employer on the start date of October 1, it is considered a status violation. Additionally, work you perform for your L-1 employer after October 1 is considered unauthorized employment.

If an individual’s status has changed and they wish to continue in their prior status, they may be advised informally to leave the U.S. and then return to the U.S. in their preferred status. The general wisdom is that returning will cause an individual to be issued a new I-94 at their port of entry. However, there are numerous risks with this approach and the many issues that can occur during travel. It is strongly suggested that you or your employee consults with an experienced Houston immigration attorney before deciding that this will solve any visa status issues.

[footer block_id=’903′]

Denying L-1visas does not make Fiscal Sense

By | Houston Immigration, Immigration Policy | No Comments
As Capitol Hill debates the country’s financial crisis, California and Vermont Service Centers have increased their denials of Inter Company  managerial transferees of foreign businesses to US on the L-1A visa. The Government narrowly focuses on the fact that their job needs to be managerial, and cannot be performed by Managers in companies that have low number of employees. 
In  recent non precedent decision, the Administration Appeals Office reversed a decision of the California Service Center to deny an L-1A for a  new Company opened 12 months ago which had 2 other employees.  It belonged to a publicly traded foreign Company.  The Manager also supervised foreign Companies’ employees and had a profit of 600,000/- for the first year of operations.  The AAO held that the Manager has to manage “primarily” as in 51% of his time. 
One can completely understand the rationale that a small company can fail, and thus extending a visa might lead to someone staying illegally here. However, if there is a large foreign company backing, if the US Company is making money, what is the rationale behind the denial simply because the company employs 2-3 employees. The nature of many companies have changed. Computerization has reduced and eliminated a large number of low level employees. And the manager manages and procures business. If we deny these companies the right to do business, ultimately we lose the taxes. Even one US job, is one US job, and the Government cannot simply take that job away at a time when unemployment reigns high. 
Contact Houston Immigration Lawyer, or Houston Immigration Attorney Annie Banerjee, for more information

Highly-Skilled H-1B Worker Visas Still In Limbo

By | H1-B | No Comments

Many business leaders are expressing confusion and irritation that getting highly-skilled workers into the U.S. continues to be such an ordeal. Workers from India, China and Canada typically report that they have been waiting five, six, even seven or more years to hear if they can travel to the U.S. to work on an H-1B visa.

According to Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), more highly-skilled workers may be able to become employed in the U.S. in a shorter time frame – within a year. That could happen if immigration reform becomes a reality. Hatch joined a roundtable discussion on immigration reform, where he acknowledged that workers who travel to the U.S. for higher education degrees often want to stay in the U.S. and work at high tech and other high-skilled companies and in high tech industries, only to have to move back to their home countries due to visa restrictions.

Hatch said that there was an ongoing push to change outdated U.S. policies on high-tech immigration issues. Meanwhile, business leaders across the country have expressed their frustration attempting to hire more high-tech skilled workers for their firms.

Sen. Hatch has co-sponsored the Immigration Innovation Act of 2013. The Act hopes to raise the highly-skilled worker visa cap from 65,000 annually to 115,000 annually, though business leaders say even that is not a large enough number of visas for their job opportunities. The capped amount would have some flexibility, allowing for as many as 300,000 H-1B visas annually, if there is a proven need for that increase.

The visa expansion debate was part of larger immigration reform battle in Washington earlier this year. The Border Security, Economic Opportunity and Immigration Modernization Act was hammered out for months and finally passed this June in the Senate. It is currently still waiting for approval in the House. But House Republicans have been combing over the Act, taking apart the pieces they do not ant and attempting to stitch together their own version, which would put a greater emphasis on border patrols, specially the U.S. /Mexico border.

Senator Hatch stated that there was a sort of “de facto amnesty” currently at work – people are being employed if they are a good fit, regardless of their citizenship status. Hatch has stated that U.S. citizens are encouraged to contact their congressional representatives with support for immigration reform.

[footer block_id=’902′]