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.

Consulting Companies as Employers for H-1B

By | Employer/Employee, H1-B | 6 Comments

In the Computer Consulting business a company (Lets say Company A) might place an employee with one vendor (Lest say Vendor B) and the company itself may not have a contract with the end user. (Let say Enduser C) However, according to Citizenship and Immigration Service the Company A cannot be a sponsor for that beneficiary’s H-1B visa.

The regulations say that “a United States employer” can file for H-1B for the beneficiary. The Citizenship and Immigration Service looks to Common Law to determine the “Employer-Employee Relationship” whereby the employer has to have CONTROL of the Employee. If Company A does not have the contract with End user C, then Company A cannot control the work product of the beneficiary. Enduser C, at whose premises Beneficiary will work, has no dealing with Employer A, but goes through Vendor B. In this scenario, Vendor B has to be the sponsor.

Control depends on a combination of factors listed below, but the control has to be Actual Control. So Employer A not only should have the right to hire, fire and pay the employee, but also to supervise the employee. In the scenario above Vendor B is liable to Enduser C for the work quality. Enduser C will hold Vendor B liable if anything goes wrong. Company A cannot enter the premises of Enduser C to check how the employee is working. Company A must have the right to control WHEN, WHERE and HOW the employee will work, and cannot do that, simply because there is no contractual relationship between Company A and Enduser C.

The Citizenship and Immigration Service look into the totality of the following factors in deciding whether the employee-employer relationship exists in an H-1B situation:

  1. Does the petitioner supervise the beneficiary and is such supervision off-site or on-site?
  2. If the supervision is off-site, how does the petitioner maintain such supervision, weekly calls, reporting back to main office routine, or site visits by the petitioner?
  3. Does the petitioner have the right to control the work of the beneficiary on a day-to-day basis if such control is required?
  4. Does the petitioner provide the tools or instrumentalities needed for the beneficiary to perform the duties of employment?
  5. Does the petitioner evaluate the work-product of the beneficiary, i.e. progress/performance reviews?
  6. Does the beneficiary use proprietary information of the petitioner in order to perform the duties of employment?
  7. Does the beneficiary produce an end-product that is directly linked to the petitioner’s line of business?
  8. Does the petitioner have the ability to control the manner and means in which the work product of the beneficiary is accomplished?
  9. Does the petitioner hire, pay, and have the ability to fire the beneficiary?
  10. Does the petitioner claim the beneficiary for tax purposes?
  11. Does the petitioner provide the beneficiary any type of employee benefits

However simply complying with the last three things above is not enough.

These rules were established by Common Law, invented at a time when the only ‘professions’ were probably priests. There were few if any universities. Why would the modern employer have to “Control” someone with a Bachelor’s Degree, and in some cases does the employer even have the education and ability to “control” the beneficiary in the 21st Century? Unfortunately immigration law is filled with archaic laws which a vastly divided Congress does not even care to address. But businesses and America’s ability to compete in this global world suffers.

Contact Houston Immigration Lawyer, Annie Banerjee for more details

Foreign Labor Divison should only hire ROBOTS

By | Commentary, Employer/Employee | 3 Comments

In a number of recent cases the DOL has proved again that it values form over matter. It has set up rigid rules and follows the rules rather than understanding the rationale behind it. Thus it runs contrary to the philosophy of Common Law, which gave birth to our legal system. By taking out reasonableness and a humane case by case approach, the labor certification process has been reduced to at best a farce, and at worst hurting both American employers and American labor force.

The rules dictate that the PERM application be filed within 180 days of the first advertisement. In Matter of Spires Restaurant, The Board Of Alien Labor Certification Appeals (BALCA) ruled that the PERM application filed 187 days later will be denied. The 180 days is meant to be a current test of the labor market, and anything more than 180 days would be considered too old. But 7 days is de minimis and penalizing an employer for just seven days is ridiculous. There should not be a hard line rule, and each application should be judged on a reasonable standard in a case by case basis.

In another case, the DOL rules that the prevailing wage request exceeded the job requirement mentioned in the PERM form. If anything, that would generate a higher Prevailing Wage. The DOL, whose job it is to see that Americans get the job before it is given to aliens, should not mind if the employer posts a higher wage than is required for the position. In The Matter of Florida Restaurant group, LLC

The last one is equally inane. In The matter of EDWARD J. TIERNEY the position was that of a DOMESTIC worker. This was a family. The DOL required a FEIN number instead of a Social Security Number. I wonder if the family of Bill Carlson has a FEIN, and if it does, what type of business do they conduct? With all his contacts at DOL, I would not be surprised.

Of course, the DOL continues to advocate publishing in major Sunday newspapers. That really is a good thing for Employers seeking to hire Aliens. No one reads those anymore, and in a matter of time, the only major newspapers will only exist in NYC and LA areas. The rest of the country will be left with community newspapers. But the DOL will not change!

We have now a ton of personnel working at Foreign Labor division of the DOL. These people will never loose their job. Why then are they doing the work that a computer system will do just as well. I say, replace them, from Bill Carlson down to the lowest level with ROBOTS. Lets use that money for health care instead.

Contact Houston Immigration Lawyer, Annie Banerjee for more details

icert gripe

By | Employer/Employee, H1-B | No Comments

Employer: I got this contract to start work in 1 week. I have the perfect H-1B guy. Can you have the petition to me by tomorrow?

Attorney: No can do

Employer: Why? You always do that.

Attorney: That was before July 1. iCert will prevent me from doing that now.

Employer: iCert?

Attorney: Yes, the new LCA system. We file it, then wait 4-5 days. Then hopefully if the DOL can identify your FEIN, we may get an approval. If not, you submit FEIN documents to DOL, wait 4-5 days. DOL verifies it, then you need to file again. Then wait 4-5 days again…… This is a song that never ends, it goes on and on my friend

Employer: Stop singing, you have no tonal sense. So wait, wasn’t the purpose of AC-21 to increase competitiveness in the workplace with Employers being able to hire and get work done more quickly? Has Obama changed the century on us as well? Do we have a new AC-18?

Attorney: Ummm, the only thing that Obama wants fast is that health care reform. He said immigration has to wait. Besides the DOL is terrified that we are all trying to pull one over them. All of us trying to file fraudulent LCAs, our Government doubts everything we do

Employer: Thats bullshit! This is not fucking North Korea. This country was built on trust, where we elect our Government and have mutual trust. Besides illegal people don’t file H-1B. H-1Bs are professionals who will go back to their country if they don’t have a job. So this Computer program that DOL has, was it even beta tested?

Attorney: Calm down Sir. You just have to be patient. I quote from DOL’s stakeholder’s meeting on 07/31:”iCERT Program has only been operational for 3 months at this time, so bugs are to be expected at this point.” Also Sir, If we file an LCA, and it is denied, the notice will only go to you, not us. Can you kindly forward it to us?

Employer: I am not dealing with this. I’ll just outsource the work. Maybe the DOL should have hired H-1B professionals to design a better program.

Contact Houston Immigration Lawyer, Annie Banerjee for more details

What is a Company for Immigration Purposes?

By | Employer/Employee, Immigration Policy | 162 Comments

A Company is defined as its Federal Employment Identification Number (FEIN) for Immigration issues. When a Corporation seeks to hire a foreign national under a federal Immigration Law, it stands to reason that the Company should have a FEIN in order to hire that individual.

In a recent decision, In the Matter of Ornelas Inc, The Board of Immigration Appeals verified that the Company’s yellow page listing, or business licenses does not establish a bona fide Company.

Additionally, if two related companies have two different FEIN numbers, and the alien has worked for one entity, and the other entity is sponsoring the alien, the alien can use that experience and it will not be counted as experience from the same Company. Usually the alien cannot use the experience from the same company for labor certification, with the rationale being that the company can easily employ and American and train that person as well. But if say XY has two FEIn numbers, and the alien has worked for a division of Company X, and the petitioner is Y, then that expiration can be counted, even though the two companies are in the same location.

Thus if the two related companies have two different FEIN numbers, the Labor Dept treats them as two separate companies. Does not make sense, but then, the Dept of Labor never lives in a real world.

Contact Houston Immigration Lawyer, Annie Banerjee for more details

EAD Card Delays

By | Employer/Employee | 165 Comments

You filed your EAD card over 90 days ago. You still did not get the card. You cannot work. Your employer is real mad and in this economic climate is going to fire you. You call USCIS line, and the person says, “thank you for calling, we will generate a report.” You get a letter in the mail saying that “we have generated a report. And then you wait….and wait…..

Although this story sounds very familiar to an Immigration Attorney, CIS claims that the delay beyond the 90 days happen to only 1.3 % of cases.

A new memo by Michael Aytes, Acting Director of USCIS, states that if your EAD card has been pending for more than 75 days, you can call the USCIS Service line at 1-800-375-5283, for a service call, and they will let the officer know of the call.

USCIS is also going to conduct sweeps to monitor and see that the EADs are issued within the 90 day period set by regulations. However that is not to say that on the 89th day you can get an RFE requesting more documents. RFEs stop the running of the clock.

Contact Houston Immigration Lawyer, Annie Banerjee for more details

Is Work Criminal?

By | CIS, Employer/Employee, Immigration Policy | 165 Comments

The Bush Government is solidly anti work when it comes to immigration. Yes, I admit that a worker must have the legal right to work. But employers know this too, and they would not take in immigrants if they found immigrants and United States Citizens ready to work. The anti Immigration forces make a huge deal about how immigrants are into crime, violence, etc. Yet Immigration and Custom Enforcement’s major focus is work place raids to eradicate illegal workers, not illegal criminals. Unless of course working was criminal!

But the same is true for legal workers who are not from this country. Everyday I hear stories from clients about how long the work permits are taking, and how they simply cannot get the CIS to issue them quickly. These workers are forced to quit and in many cases force to go back to their home country. Many of them are in fields like research or IT where there simply is not enough qualified immigrants to do the job.

Even though the economy is bad, we still need skilled workers. Laid off auto workers in Detroit will not be able to perform bio tech research. And if we continue to have this same policy, US will continue to slip behind.

I know that the economy and not immigration is the major focus of the Obama Government. But America as a nation was built by immigrants and will continue to prosper as long as we get hardworking immigrants in.

Just like a plant that has to work harder to survive in unaccustomed earth, human being flourish better if they have to fight in a foreign land with scant help.

Contact Houston Immigration Lawyer, Annie Banerjee for more details

When the Government Tries to fix things

By | Commentary, Employer/Employee, Houston Immigration | 189 Comments

There is only one fixed law of Governments: When Government tries to fix things it ALWAYS fails. It will therefore fail in the whole bail out mess, no matter who is the President.

So last Friday DOL tried to fix its computer system, which was working OK, it messed things up. Apparently DOL knows about this problem and is trying to fix things. Among the problems we noticed:

1. Sponsorship questions are taking longer to generate
2. The link which employer click on that E mail to verify sponsorship is NOT working
3. When printing the ETA 9089, the job experience data field is empty, although you can view the data. This problem seems to have been fixed
4. Filed cases are getting a C designation (for Chicago) even though all PERM cases are handled by Atlanta and should get a A designation.

Hopefully DOL will not deny cases for failure of employers to reply to the sponsorship e mails, because the glitch is in their computers.

But then, it is the Government at work, so who knows.

See why they need to certify more computer professionals.

On another note: If the Employer has has submitted the registration application and has not heard anything from the DOL for weeks, they should write to:

[email protected]

Contact Houston Immigration Lawyer, Annie Banerjee for more details