A New way for the Government to make money—Deemed export rule

By | Houston Immigration, Immigration Policy | No Comments

Certain technology is controlled by our Government and restricted for importing to other countries. The Commerce and State Depratments issue licenses for such exports. This rule has long been in the books, but was not really enforced. Suddenly in December of 2010, the new I-129 form came in, and the form included questions about deemed export for H-1B, H1B1,L-1 and O-1A.

The employer has to first ascertain what the beneficiary’s citizenship country is. Then ascertain what technology the beneficiary has access to. If the employer needs a license from the Department of commerce/State to export that technology to that person’s country, then the employer has to first get the license before filing the H-1B, or deny access to the person until such license is obtained.

For large Computers Systems, usually source code is controlled, not onject code. Also sophisticated networking systems and encryptions are usually controled.

There are two types of Deemed Export regulations: the Export Adnimistration Regulations administered by the Department of Commerce, and the International Traffic in Arms Regulations, administered by the Department of State. More information on these can be found at:

http://www.bis.doc.gov/licensing/exportingbasics.htm

To get the license for nationals from countries like Iran, Iraq, Syria, China and Libya is very difficult.

The penalties for violation of this law is severe. And ICE will audit employers. Civil penalties range is either $250,000 or twice the gain from the particular technology. Criminal pelalties range from upto 1 million USD, and upto 20 years prison term.

There is of course no prior evidence that anyone on H-1B ever exported any technology back home. But, Immigration is fast becoming a huge cash cow for the Government. We love to hate immigrants, and make employers who hire immigrants pay severe penalties. And in the process we will loose our competitive edge to other countries.

For more information contact Houston Immigration Lawyer or Houston Immigration Attorney, Annie Banerjee

As the Two Year Timeline Approaches Seek Legal Counsel to Make a Green Card Good for 10 Years

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Houston, Texas – Couples that are currently near the two-year mark on their I-551 Conditional Permanent Resident green card need to be aware of what the U.S. government will want to make their card into a true permanent resident card. The government monitors the couple’s status to see if the marriage is going well and will last. Unfortunately, there are enough violators who are U.S. citizens that marry a foreigner to help them out. So any foreigner who does want the permanent classification that lasts for 10 years will need to file a I-751 Petition.

“At the two year mark, there are only two choices – file the I-751 Petition as married or divorced,” said Houston immigration lawyer Annie Banerjee. “Unless domestic violence occurred, there are no exceptions. An individual cannot even state they are doing a trial separation.”

Couples can be found to be fraudulent if they claim to be married but are not living together anymore. For couples that have a true, honest relationship, they will want to apply for the permanent classification 90 days prior to the two-year timeline. They must show substantial, convincing documentation that the marriage is real. Legal counsel is extremely helpful in completing the application thoroughly with the right documents that will expedite the decision.

Wedding invites, joint bank accounts and memberships, photographs before, during, and after the wedding with dates are helpful as well as leases, receipts, phone bills, and being designated a beneficiary on health or life insurance. Two affidavits from individuals knowing the couple and the status of the relationship during the last two years are required. Sometimes an interview is also required, and legal representation is highly recommended. The USCIS interview can be quite lengthy and they will want the couple to recall every facet of the marriage.

The Law Offices of Annie Banerjee specialize in immigration and basic family law. From “fiancé” K visas to 1-751 Petitions and assisting clients with their residency status, Banerjee has more than 10 years of immigration law expertise. She is an immigrant herself, and takes pride in giving each client high quality, individual attention.

To learn more, visit https://www.visatous.com.

Xenophobia failing in Arizona

By | Houston Immigration, Immigration Policy | No Comments

We formed society and weaved laws to regulate our lives so that we can live and let live. Laws need to be for common good. Thus any law based on hatred for any group, usually fails. The tough immigration law of Arizona, based on xenophobia is failing. Arizona has been shunned by businesses across the nation. Phoenix dropped from being one of the top four destinations in the US for conventions, to being the 23rd. And Governor Jan Brewer’s tough anti immigration stance has been tempered.

Arizona businesses are now strongly protesting the anti immigration law. Bowing down to business pressures, the Arizona Senate recently voted down 5 bills which included amongst other things that hospitals report police of immigration status of emergency care patients, and do away with birthright citizenship. Other conservative states like Utah are not going the Arizona way. The whole reason behind the unpopularity of the Arizona law was that it was based on xenophobia about Mexican immigrants. The hatred for them was embodied in the denial of basic services to them. And hatred for a targeted group got no one no where.

For more information contact Houston Immigration Lawyer or Houston Immigration Attorney, Annie Banerjee

Immigrant Children

By | Houston Immigration, Immigration Policy | No Comments

In the official American Immigration Lawyer’s Blog, Ms. Crystal Williams disputes a “study” for the Center for Immigration Studies, an Anti Immigration group, which states that in 2009, 200,000 people were born in the US to immigrant women here who were “lawfully admitted as temporary visitor” and they are all growing up to become terrorists. Both the claims are of course preposterous. Ms. Williams reasons why the number (200,000) is impossible in her blog. http://ailaleadershipblog.org/2011/03/15/msu-on-steroids/

In this blog, I want to make a case that first generation immigrant children achieve much more than their peers who are not. I was one of those who had a child born in the US, when my husband was on a J visa at Harvard Medical School, and this is my story too.

In her book, “Battlehymn of the Tiger Mother” Ms. Amy Chua, a Yale law professor argues about how, we immigrant mothers do not have the softer way of parenting as does native American mothers. We are not concerned about hurting the feelings and self confidence of our children. We feel that if our children achieve, they gain the self confidence through admiration from teachers and other students, rather than from parents. I have “American” (I will use this term to mean US born) mother friends who say “wow” when their children get Bs and Cs. If my children got a 95, I would ask why they did not get a perfect score. The result? Both my happy healthy kids went to the ivy leagues, and are now both in med school. In both their graduations, about 95% of cum laude students were first generation Americans. My kids loved the education they got, and have already given back numerous hours in social service. They will continue to do so, because they feel for Americans. (Not to mention the high taxes they will pay as future doctors).

Would they have done this, if birthright Citizenship was not granted to them? Would these high achieveing ivy educated kids love a country that did not care for them? We would be back to the America of the 50s, with a generation of Willy Lomans if we followed the dictates of Center for Immigration Studies.

For more information contact Houston Immigration Lawyer or Houston Immigration Attorney, Annie Banerjee

Peter King, Muslims, the Hysteria

By | Houston Immigration, Immigration Policy | No Comments

Today, the Chairman of the Department Of Homeland Security in the House, a Republican from New York, Peter King testified before the House about the “growing radicaliszation of American Muslims.” He has previously said more than 80% of mosques were tainted by radicalism. I wonder where he got that figure. There were two people who testified that they their relatives, (a son and a nephew) turned radical. Two out of how many muslims in this nation? Two is a trend for Mr. King. Enough to scrutinize every Muslim in America and deprive them of their fundamental right to privacy. Not to mention the humiliation.
Interestingly where were these republicans when Timothy McVeigh blew up the federal building in Oklahoma. Or during the KKK ralies? Unfortunately its so easy to target and demonize an identifiable minority group. And if America does this, can it really champion Freedom and Democracy to the rest of the world?

For more information contact Houston Immigration Lawyer or Houston Immigration Attorney, Annie Banerjee

Foreign Nationals that Graduate from American Colleges Benefit from Immigration Legal Counsel

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Foreign nationals who graduate from U.S. universities later this year will want to know their legal rights and duties to stay in the country for work. Undergraduate and graduate students who have F-1 non-immigrant status and have finished their studies oftentimes want to work in America to get real world experience in their field of studies. The United States Citizenship and Immigration Service allows for one year of Optional Practical Training, or OPT. If the student desires to stay and work here longer, then the individual will need to apply for H-1B status.

The H-1B status typically lasts for three years, with an ability to extend it out to six years. Individuals who desire permanent residency are advised to apply for a green card as soon as possible because of the huge amount of applicants. The United States encourages employers to hire foreign nationals to work in specialized jobs. H-1B petitions are capped at an annual amount of 65,000 visas each fiscal year. Up to 20,000 more H-1B visas are also available for students who graduate with a master’s degree or higher level of education. The next open application period is right around the corner and begins April 1. From there, the USCIS will release the visa numbers on October 1 and the foreign national may then begin working.

Science, technology, engineering and mathematics graduates are particularly sought after. These type of workers, known as STEM, are allowed a 17 month extension on their OPT to HB-1 status. Be mindful that the extension is only applicable with employers that use the e-verify federal employment verification system. And since the extension is not automatic, students will have to get an extension recommendation from their designated school official, or DSO. With the recommendation, the student will need to file an employment authorization application before their OPT expires.

STEM and specialty jobs involve theoretical and practical knowledge for higher-level industries. Computer science, engineering, business, bioscience, math and statistics, military technologies, science technologies, and medical experts are in high demand.

Recent “cap-gap relief” measures are helping foreign nationals remain legally in the country. Students can be relieved that their OPT status will be automatically extended if they filed for HB-1 in a timely manner. Again, students must alert their DSO that they have filed a H-1B petition in a timely fashion. In turn, the DSO will give the student an I-20 form showing the individual’s status extension.

In Texas, for example, Houston immigration attorney Annie Banerjee counsels many foreign national graduates from top-tier schools such as Rice University, the University of Texas, the University of Houston, Texas A & M, Baylor University, and many of the region’s medical and health science schools. Their impact on the regional and national workforce and economy is immense. Proper planning and expert legal counsel to successfully transition from a student to a worker is critical. She has represented clients for more than 10 years in immigration law matters both in Texas and throughout the United States.

A. Banerjee is a Houston immigration lawyer in Texas. Before selecting an immigration lawyer in Houston Texas, contact the Law Offices of Annie Banerjee by visiting their information filled web site at https://www.visatous.com.

Houston Immigration Lawyer Explains New N-648 Form for Disability Exceptions

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Houston, Texas – The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services recently revised the Medical Certification for Disability Exceptions, also known as Form N-648. Immigrants suffering from disabilities or impairments can apply for an exception to waive the English and civics requirements. The USCIS is holding public info sessions in regards to the N-648 changes, but it is highly recommended to have an experienced immigration attorney review an individual’s case.

The new form is touted to help immigration officials understand a medical professional’s diagnosis of the particular disability and how it affects naturalization guidelines. The new N-648 has revised instructions, making it easier to complete the form on paper or electronically. Beginning March 22, 2011, all the old versions of the N-648 will be obsolete and barred from use.

“The disability must show that the applicant is unable to learn the history and civics part of the test,” said Houston immigration lawyer Annie Banerjee. “Old age or depression is not an excuse. Individuals benefit by speaking to an attorney to clarify their best route to citizenship, no matter the circumstance.”

Any individual wanting naturalization usually has to show proficiency of U.S. history, government and the English language. A disabled applicant can now use an interpreter or medical professional to complete the certification section. Previous disability evaluations from other government agencies and a log of daily activities are no longer needed with the new form.

“It is critical to fill out the form with ample details,” said Banerjee, who has more than 10 years of success in immigration law. “I hear so many sad stories of people who did not fill it out correctly and then must start the process over again.”

An immigration lawyer will review that the disability diagnosis and the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders code is filled out correctly. The linkage between the disability and how it hampers the applicant from taking the exams is crucial. For example, an applicant with Alzheimer’s disease would have less blood flow to the brain, causing memory loss. The applicant would be unable to learn facts or the English language for the test. The USCIS will want to know that drugs or alcohol did not cause the disability; so showing the causation of the disease, the age of onset, and the permanence of the condition is important.

To learn more, visit https://www.visatous.com.

Proposed registration before filing the H-1B

By | Houston Immigration, Immigration Policy | No Comments

The Citizenship and Immigration Services (CIS) is proposing a registration process before filing the actual petition for new cap subject H-1Bs. The registration will apparently take 30 minutes, and the CIS will preview the application and then give the employer the go ahead to file.

If by April 01, more than 65 K applications are reached, the the CIS will do a lottery and let lucky ones know. The rest will be kept on a wait list, and may get in if the numbers become available. If the numbers are not reached on the first day, the CIS will keep the registration open until the cap is reached.

This will hopefully be a simpler process, and cut down the amount of work, and thus the cost of having an H-1B petiton filed.

However, what we dont know is HOW LONG the CIS will take to review the registration and give the go ahead. Also not known is how much bureaucratic mess we will go through. The Department of Labor’s LCA fiasco with their “inability to match FEIN numbers” come to mind. So if numbers are still available after October 01, of a given year, and an employer wants an urgent approval, she will still have to deal with first the CIS registration, and then the LCA process before she can file. Thus the purpose for which Premium processing was created so that the Employers can get somebody at the pace of the 21st Century, will become meaningless.

Also not known is how extensive this registration process will be. If the CIS needs to adjudicate substantive issues of the law, then the registration itself will be as long as the petition. Thus this whole process will be a complete waste of time and money for everyone.

The Comment period is until May 02, 2011. So this registration process will not be for Fiscal Year 2012.

For more information contact Houston Immigration Lawyer or Houston Immigration Attorney, Annie Banerjee

Immigrant Entrepreneurs Beneficial to US Economic Livelihood

By | News & Press | 156 Comments

The Brookings Institution recently published a study showing that 16 percent of high tech businesses employ at least one immigrant. A total of 77 percent of them have become U.S. citizens and are touted as immigrant entrepreneurs. These individuals typically have extensive education, professional expertise, and contribute to high-impact companies that are the backbone of the country’s economic livelihood and job creation.

Many of the immigrants came to the U.S. for graduate level education. Others came to create business opportunities that were unavailable in their home countries. The Brookings study noted that immigrant-founded companies were inclined to have strategic partnerships with other countries for endeavors such as product development and sales. These partnerships created more revenue and growth in the U.S. and abroad.

Companies and individuals seek to diversify their employee base, but sometimes they hit a roadblock on the way to immigrating. An employer can sponsor an individual under the First Employment Based Preference, also known as EB-1, if they have a permanent position or tenure. Some outstanding researchers and professors can qualify for EB-1 even without an employer backing if they have extraordinary ability or they can apply for immigration under Second Employment Base Preference, EB-2, for National Interest Waivers.

An experienced immigration lawyer will assist an individual or a backing employer to navigate through all the documents and qualifications. More visas are permitted for higher preference levels, and thus the time to get permanent residency is markedly shorter. Outstanding and extraordinary ability aliens must have a minimum of three or more traits to qualify under this status; extraordinary aliens need a minimum of two or more. These qualifications include: national or international awards or prizes; membership in associations for outstanding achievements; publication in major journals or citations of the individual’s work by others; participation in panels or peer reviews; proof of original scientific or artistic contributions such as patents or copyrights; or, proof of a high salary.

National Interest Waivers are a bit different, and mandate that individuals have a master’s degree or higher and entail work of a national scope and substantial intrinsic merit. Their work must complement U.S. interests to a “substantial greater degree than is available to a native worker having the same minimum qualifications.”

Immigration lawyers can help expedite the lengthy process of immigration. An eight to 10 year backlog of a half million applicants wait for employment-based green cards with EB-1, EB-2, and EB-3 status. Applicants become nervous and frustrated, with their entrepreneurial goals stifled by such a lengthy delay. Green cards have a set amount that can be given out each year as well as limits on how many individuals can immigrate from each country. Temporary visas are a short-term fix while an individual waits five years or more for true citizenship.

Students who wish to stay after their U.S. college experience also benefit by utilizing an immigration lawyer to transition to permanent residency. A promising career path and the potential to contribute in high-skill occupations is a big plus for an immigrant student.

Houston immigration attorney Annie Banerjee has helped many individuals and businesses through the intense immigration process. Many of her clients, including biotech companies, multinational manufacturing companies, IT firms, Fortune 500 oil companies and small businesses have prospered because of immigrant employees. She is known for her fast, efficient manner and individualized attention to every client. Annie is an immigrant and thus she knows how to represent her clients for the best outcome.

A. Banerjee is a Houston immigration lawyer in Texas. Before selecting an immigration lawyer in Houston Texas, contact the Law Offices of Annie Banerjee by visiting their information filled web site at https://www.visatous.com.