H-1B denials

By | Employer/Employee, H1-B, Houston Immigration, Immigration, Visa, Visa denials | No Comments

So you got your H-1B denied

If you read the denial and feel you ARE being denied on grounds that are flimsy and for documents already submitted—-we feel your pain. Unfortunately Officers are not even reading petitions and denying it with stock material that the officer is simply copying and pasting.  The problem is there is no leadership at the top, and each officer is left to deal with 4 words given by Trump: Buy American, Hire American.

We have to deal with this unfortunately. Please note that NONE of these remedies provide status to your employee, and your employee NEEDS to maintain status if he/she is in the US independently.  He/She can also go back to their home country and not accrue any unlawful presence. If the remedy is successful, they can come in with their H-1B visa.

The BEST WAY to deal with this is to sue Citizenship and Immigration Service in federal court. The court will:

  • Look at your initial filing
  • Request for Evidence
  • Reply to your Request for Evidence

If the reply to the Request for Evidence looks good (hereinafter referred to as the Record) the Court will rule in your favor.  Note though that you cannot add any other material to the record

The Positives in this scenario are:

 

  • Citizenship and Immigration Service has not been sued for business immigration before and does not know how to deal with it
  • The Citizenship and Immigration Service does NOT have the resources to hire their own expert, so your experts rule.
  • The venue is quite liberal, in CA and VT

Thus if your record is good: Multiple experts, letter from competitors, end client attestations, etc.  re recommend suing Citizenship and Immigration Service in federal court. If you choose this, please call us for costs/fees

Note: there is no time limit for this action.

 

The NOT SO GOOD WAY is following what the denial recommends, ie file a Motion to Reopen and reconsider/Appeal to the Administrative Appeals Unit (AAO)  Please note that this should be only attempted if your record is not good.  You can add other expert opinions, etc.

Our experience and American Immigration Lawyer’s Association recommendation suggest that these can be useless, since most AAO is rubber stamping the Citizenship and Immigration Service decision. These have to be filed within one month of the denial.  These take a long time, 2-4 years  for adjudication, during which the employee needs to be in status if present in the United States.  You cannot pursue Federal Court (as in above) unless this process ends.

 

We really think its better to refile the case with next year’s quota and more documents, but of course the decision is yours.

 

For more information, contact Banerjee & Associates

 

H-1B transfer of Employer in an age of No Premium

By | Business Immigration, CIS, Citizenship and Naturalization, Employer/Employee, H1-B, Immigration, Immigration Policy | No Comments

AC-21 (ACWIA) was passed by Congress to bring business immigration into the 21st Century. It recognized the speed of modern business and deemed that an H-1B Employee can change employer and work for the new employer, “upon filing” of the H-1B case. The AC-21 law did not define “filing” and common law dictates that “filing” is done when the petition is dropped in the mail. The law also created fees ($750 for employers under 25 employees, and $1500 for employers with more than 25 employees) to educate the American workforce to reduce foreign dependence.

Citizenship and Immigration Service has slowly chipped away at the AC-21 law. If the employee changes jobs and the subsequent petition is denied, then the employee does lose status.  Usually such petitions were filed under Premium Processing and the results were received within two weeks.

However, since September 11, 2018, the Citizenship and Immigration Service took out Premium Processing for Change of Employer and new H-1B cases.  As of now it is scheduled to start again from February 19th 2019This does put the employee at risk of losing status if the petition is denied. At the same time, business in the 21st Century does not wait for Citizenship and Immigration Service to take forever.

The Ombudsman, who is a liaison between the public and Citizenship and Immigration Service is having a conference with the public on November 01, which I will be attending (via phone) and will input my comments on this issue.

So the question becomes can an employer reasonably wait for that length of time? If the employer does not wait, the options are:

  1. Take a risk and jump ship. Usually if the offer is from a large company, the petition should get approved
  2. Stay with the present company and risk losing the job

 

The answer will depend on: TAKE RISK IF:

  • Are you working in house?
  • The petitioner is a Large Company?

 

DO NOT TAKE RISK IF:

  • Your petition is filed by a computer consulting company, and especially if the end client is not a direct client. However even in this scenario, it will depend on what type of document is produced.

Contact Banerjee & Associates for more information

Take the Agency to Federal Court

By | Business Immigration, CIS, Citizenship and Naturalization, Employer/Employee, H1-B, Houston Immigration, L-1 | No Comments

For some time now, Citizenship and Immigration Service has been acting against legal Immigration, under a “policy” expressed in 4 words by Mr. Trump, “Buy American, Hire American” (hereinafter referred to as BAHA.) However 4 words are not adequate to form a solid policy, and it has been largely left up to the individual adjudicators on how they adjudicate Legal Business Immigration.

H-1B

The Citizenship and Immigration Service has since then tried to interpret the term Specialty Occupation, with no legal authority whatsoever that (1) Level 1 wage is not good enough; (2) Systems Analyst is not a specialty occupation, (although it was fine even 1 year ago—and there has been numerous Systems Analyst approved by Citizenship and Immigration Service)

L-1A and B

For L-1A for small companies it is virtually impossible, with Citizenship and Immigration Service raising questions about “managerial position” viability and anything under the sun. For L-1B, unless you have a patent, nothing is specialized knowledge.

There are huge number of denials, and appeals to Administration Appeals Office (AAO) are 1. Taking forever; and 2. The AAO is being told to rubber stamp the agency’s decision.

Therefore the time has come for us to sue the Citizenship and Immigration Service in federal court. The law is on our side! We DO NEED to “forum shop”. However, with I-129 petitions being mainly adjudicated in Vermont and California, those federal courts are still quite liberal.

There are two types of lawsuits:

  • MANDAMUS

This one compels the Citizenship and Immigration Service to adjudicate the case. However note that Citizenship and Immigration Service can adjudicate the case and deny it. This is advisable when there is a very strong case, and the OPT or other restrictions will render harm to the employee

 

  • DECLARATORY JUDGEMENT

This is applicable for denials. Business Immigration litigation is in an early stage. And the Citizenship and Immigration Service does not have the resources to hire experts, let alone defend many law suits. If we have a strong case, we will win. A word of caution though—Bad facts+ Bad lawyering = Bad laws. Therefore these cases should be handled by attorneys who specialize in Business Immigration and practices mainly business immigration

For more information visit Banerjee& Associates

 

CPT/OPT and H-1B portability Dangers

By | Business Immigration, Citizenship and Naturalization, Employer/Employee, H1-B, Immigration Policy, Immigration Reform | No Comments

 

On June 28, 2018 and July 13 2018, the CIS issued 2 memos that might drastically change the practice of Immigration law. Since I practice mainly Business Immigration Law, I will discuss the ramification of these two memos as they pertain to Business Immigration.

The RFE memo (July 13th) seems to say that RFEs will be issued for only those cases that does not meet the prima facia evidence. That evidence is just filing ALL THE REQUIRED FORMS. This memo starts from Sept 11.

The Notice to Appear memo (NTA Memo-June 28 ) says that That CIS will issue NTA (ie start removal proceedings) if CIS denies an application.

The guidance for the RFE memo is that we need to do our very best. It has not been interpreted yet, but we do need to file all control letters and Specialty Occupations letters at the filing stage.

But the NTA memo will have more far reaching consequences to Employment based applicants, particularly Stem students and H-1B portability.

An NTA is a document sent by ICE, when CIS refers the case to them. It starts the process of Removal. NTA’s are issued with no dates given on the Notice to Appear. It says TBD.  According to the Supreme Court Case Pereira V Sessions, 2018, the court ruled that writing TBD makes the NTA flawed. It has to specify the date, time and place to appear. Since that is not ICE’s procedure, lawyers have had varied success in getting those cases dismissed. Basically it depends on the judge. But those cases were before Pereira. Now though ICE has to give dates and times, so it remains to be seen what ICE will do.

 

Students on STEM

Current Request for Evidences are not based on third party sites, but on period of stay after obtaining the OPT. Students CANNOT have more than 90 days in a 12 month OPT, more than 120 days for 17 months; and more than 150 days for 24 months. Please note that voluntary work IS counted as work, so they will need employer verification.

What happens if the stem applicant gets a denial of their H status and does not have time left on their OPT?

We would like to have individuals maintain status. Please study in your subject in as good a school you can get in. Please do not take CPT. Please do NOT work illegally.

 

What happens if an H petition for transfer gets denied?

We are advising clients to file with Premium and not quit the first job. Of course the CIS will give an RFE, esp if this is a computer job, and can and does deny with no proof.

 

What happens with folks filing for Adjustment of Status has been on CPT, or has worked with no authorization?

Increasingly CIS officers, during Employment based interviews, are going through an applicant’s status and can deny based on any status issues. However, there is a remedy applicable for Employment based applicants. Under Section 245 K of the INA, the government can only look at status 180 days from the last entry. So as soon as any of these individuals receives their Advance Parole documents, we are sending them to Canada or Mexico just before the interview, so Citizenship and Immigration can ONLY adjudicate status from the last entry.

For more information contact Banerjee&Associates

 

Employment Based I-485 Interviews

By | Employer/Employee, Immigration, Immigration Policy, Uncategorized | No Comments

Who will get the interview?

Anyone who filed the I-140 application after March 17, 2017

What is the process?

The Service Center, ie Texas or Nebraska Service Center will send the case to National Benefits Center. The NBC will send the files to the various field offices.
Will the field offices Adjudicate the I-140 ?
According to Citizenship and Immigration Service, the field office will not adjudicate the I-140. But the service center will check for:
• Authenticate documents—ie Actual educational documents, Employer’s taxes, or Beneficiary’s paystub proving “ability to pay.”
• Family member’s relationship to the principal beneficiary, ie spouses will be interviewed for whether it’s a valid marriage—Take Original marriage certificate, birth certificate, joint documents like joint children/mortgage, financial documents
• Eb-1 and NIW will have to take all their original works.
• Take all status documents—–ie original H-1B approvals, and/or Employment Authorization Document cards, Sevis cards, etc.
• Valid Passport and I-94
• Paystubs and W-2—- a letter from the Employer and the Supplement J
• New Medical, if original medical is a year old

Interviewing Officer:

Field Officers adjudicate family petitions. They are used to adjudicating relationships. In our previous appointments with Employment cases, we have found the interviewing officers do not have knowledge of any employment law. I have had to point out the law on several issues. American Immigration Lawyer’s Association concurs. Although Citizenship and Immigration Service is saying that they have “trained” their officers, American Immigration Lawyer’s Association is recommending a lawyer be present, at least for the first few months.

Field officers may not get the concept of “future employment”, and definitely wont be able to define NIW or EB-1.

 

For More information, contact Banerjee & Associates

DUI/DWI and Immigration

By | CIS, Employer/Employee, H1-B, Immigration Policy, Uncategorized, US Consulate, Visa | No Comments

With Thanksgiving approaching, I hope you all stay safe and don’t drink and drive.  But if you are a non immigrant (ie with say a H, E, an L or a TN visa) and you get caught (not convicted, just caught), you may receive a letter in the mail, cancelling your visa.

But, you say, you thought that you were presumed innocent until proven guilty in America.  And you are right.  Yet, the Department of State has the right to suspend your visa.  Because this is not a legal ground of inadmissibility, it’s a medical ground of inadmissibility

If your I-94 (here) is still valid, you can continue to work in the USA.  However, if you go outside the USA, you will be required to revalidate your visa.  The post will send you to a medical doctor, who will evaluate whether you are “medically fit” (read not an addict) to do your job.

So have fun, drink, but don’t drive if you do drink.  Or at least, don’t get caught

 

Please contact Annie Banerjee at Banerjee & Associates for more information

 

In Texas, Nominal Political Allies Stand at Odds Over Immigration Reform

By | Citizenship and Naturalization, Employer/Employee, Houston Immigration | No Comments

How generous should Washington, D.C. be in granting work-related visas? A largely conservative camp argues that immigrants displace American workers. In general, conservative mindsets will not favor a a standardized, government-sanctioned flow of foreign workers into the United States.

But the agriculture industry, a powerful constituency generally aligned with conservatism, resoundingly advocates for immigration reform. And that rural call is perhaps loudest in Texas.

The American Farm Bureau Federation and the Texas Farm Bureau, its local chapter, have repeatedly ventured to Capitol Hill this year to lobby for immigration reform. They call for legislation that would provide a pathway to citizenship for undocumented immigrants, similar to a bill that passed the U.S. Senate in 2013. The agricultural sector has been full-throated in its support of what it perceives to be its interests, especially since the timing of the immigration debate coincides with an important debate over a new farm bill. Whether through price supports or through a guaranteed flow of immigrant farm workers, agricultural supporters are hoping to protect their farms.

“Let’s just cut to the chase on this thing: 85 percent of the agricultural labor that goes on in the state of Texas … is done by either undocumented or illegally documented people,” said Steve Pringle, legislative director for the Texas Farm Bureau. “If and when that labor supply is not there, that production simply goes out of business.” Representatives for the Texas Farm Bureau are among the most avid supporters of immigration reform. 

However, if one considers the importance of the agricultural sector in the overall economy of Texas, the farm lobby’s stance acquires a more general appeal.

Agriculture’s importance to the Lone Star State’s economy is quite clear:

Texas ranks second in the nation for total agricultural receipts (behind California)
Texas is first in the nation for total livestock and livestock product receipts, which includes 20 percent of the nation’s beef cattle and its largest concentration of sheep
As the nation’s top producer of cotton, Texas accounts for 29 percent of U.S. cotton revenues
Texas is the third biggest producer of nursery and greenhouse products as well as a leading producer of various grains, fruits and nuts

The increasingly noticeable rift between the agricultural sector and conservative political figures has grown at home as well as in Washington. Indeed, all the leading candidates for statewide offices (including lieutenant governor and agriculture commissioner) have been have been diametrically opposed to the position on immigration reform supported by the Texas Farm Bureau.

“Let’s just put it this way,” Pringle said. “We are finding conservative Republicans less and less supportive of agriculture.”

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Preliminary Injunction Filed to Challenge Neufeld Memorandum

By | Employer/Employee | One Comment

On June 8, 2010, an application for preliminary injunction and complaint was filed by Greenberg Traurig LLP in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia which challenges USCIS’s application of the January 8, 2010, Neufeld Memorandum’s definition of employer-employee relationships.

On June 8, 2010, in the lawsuit Broadgate et al versus United States Citizenship and Immigration Services, et al, the controversial Neufeld Memorandum of January 8, 2010 – which allegedly clarifies employer-employee relationships within H-1B visa applications in the interests of the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), but in practice has resulted in a preponderance of H-1B denials filed by Information Technology (IT) staffing firms – was challenged in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia.

Individual plaintiffs in the case – Broadgate Inc., Logic Planet Inc., DVR Softek Inc., TechServe Alliance, and the American Staffing Association moved in a preliminary injunction to prevent the USCIS from implementing the policy announced in a January 8, 2010, memorandum issued by Donald Neufeld, Associate Director of USCIS. The memorandum declared that a third-party placement contractor is not a United States employer even though the company hires, pays, supervises, fires its employees, and shares control over them, and even though prior to the implementation of the policy initially announced in the memorandum, such an entity was deemed to be a United States employer. It was the preliminary injunction’s contention that this new policy is arbitrary and capricious, while it explicitly changes an existing regulation, limits USCIS’s discretion, and profoundly affects plaintiffs and others outside the government.

According to the injunction, the Neufeld Memorandum is at odds with the plain language of the relevant statute and its implementing regulations. For instance, The Neufeld Memorandum is premised on the assumption that an employee can have only one employer and that “the real employer” is the entity that exercises the greatest day-to-day control. It therefore proclaims that third-party placement contractors that have an overarching right to supervise their employees, that hire, fire and pay their employees and that share control of those employees nevertheless are not valid employers because they have “No Right to Control; No Exercise of Control.” This binding policy is inconsistent with the plain language of the INA which expressly includes contractors as United States employers.

In addition, the rule first introduced in the USCIS Memorandum singles out a particular type of business and, as applied, it precludes that type of business from operating.

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.

What You Need to Know About I-140

By | Employer/Employee | 70 Comments

The I-140 Educational and Work Experience equivalency is a good way to have your experience count, and maybe transcend to the lottery-picked visa system.

Lottery-picked employment-based visas go like hotcakes and professional people with aspirations about coming to America can easily be left out.

Ever heard of the I-140 Educational and Work experience equivalency? While immigration is the only niche within the legal arena where quotas are still allowed, it’s common knowledge that employment-based visas, such as the coveted H-1B, aren’t easily obtained by professionals wishing to immigrate to the United States from India and China. These populous nations teeming with qualified professional people get their national quotas filled quickly, resulting in queues to try one’s patience, especially for third preference visas. Second Preference is another option, albeit with caveats.

For instance, your experience must be post-degree and involve a pre-petitioning company. If you have experience in the same job at the petitioning company, this is insufficient because if the employer is able to train the beneficiary, he’d prefer training an American – not you.

If you possess a master’s degree but it’s not from the U.S., the problem of congruence can arise – as your master’s isn’t likely to match your bachelor’s as a credential.

Since evaluations are for advisory purposes only, the USCIS does not have to follow them. In the same vein, work experience can’t be substituted for years in a degree program – as the H-1B allows.
Recommendations by the Nebraska Service Center for Degree equivalency could also be pertinent.
If you do possess a U.S. master’s degree – and if it’s in the field required, no additional documents would be required.

Your 4 year bachelor’s degree + 2 year master’s degree obtained in India will need to be “subbed” by degrees in the same or related fields to equal a U.S. master’s degree.

If you possess a 3 year bachelor’s degree + 1 year postgraduate diploma + 2 year master’s degree obtained in India, to become acceptable for educational preference you’ll require degrees in the same or similar field or a bachelor’s degree + one additional year of education, to measure up. If you have 5 years of progressive experience, this combination could be acceptable as a master’s degree equivalency.

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.

I-140 Equivalency Ins & Outs

By | Employer/Employee, News & Press | 150 Comments

Lottery-picked employment-based visas go like hotcakes and professional people striving to come to America can easily be left out. But then there’s the Second Preference, albeit with some caveats.

Ever heard of the I-140 Educational and Work experience equivalency? Immigration is the only niche within the legal arena where quotas are still allowed. It is common knowledge that employment-based visas, such as the coveted H-1B, aren’t easily obtained by professionals wishing to immigrate to the United States from India and China. These are populous nations teeming with qualified professional people, and their national quotas get filled quickly resulting in lengthy wait times, especially for third preference visas. So it is only natural that everybody is striving for the Second Preference. Fine and dandy, but there are some caveats.

For instance, your experience must be post-degree and a pre-Petitioning Company. You say that you have experience in the same job at the petitioning company? This isn’t enough because if the employer is able to train the beneficiary, he’d prefer training an American – not you.

Oh, you have a Master’s Degree? If it’s not from the U.S., the problem of congruence can arise – as your Masters isn’t likely to match your Bachelors as a credential.

Did you know that evaluations are for advisory purposes only, and that the USCIS does not have to follow them? In the same vein, work experience can’t be substituted for years in a degree program – as the H-1B allows.

Recommendations by the Nebraska Service Center for Degree equivalency could also be pertinent.

If you do possess a U.S. master’s degree – if it’s in the field required, no additional documents would be required.

Your 4 year bachelor’s degree + 2 year master’s degree obtained in India with need to be “subbed” by degrees in the same or related fields to equal a U.S. master’s degree.

If you possess a 3 year bachelor’s degree + 1 year postgraduate diploma + 2 year master’s degree obtained in India, to become acceptable for educational preference you’ll require degrees in the same or similar field or a bachelor’s degree + one additional year of education, to measure up. If you have 5 years of progressive experience, this combination could be acceptable as a master’s degree equivalency.

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.