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

 

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

 

Current Issues in Business Immigration Law

By | Business Immigration, H1-B, Houston Immigration, Immigration, Immigration Policy, Uncategorized | No Comments

Stem OPT:
Status: Students cannot have more than 90 days if the OPT is for 12 months
Students cannot have more than 120 days if the OPT is for 17 months
Students cannot have more than 150 days if the OPT is for 24 months
Make sure that the job is in the area of your subject

OPT extension-Third party: There is a fight between Citizenship and Immigration Service and Immigration and Customs enforcement about whether third party placement is allowed on the Stem extension. The problem is not who is wrong or right. The problem is that if using this excuse the Citizenship and Immigration Service denies the H petition, then the F student might get out of status.

CPT: Be very careful with the day one CPT. The Citizenship and Immigration Service will ask to prove that : 1 Your course needs you to have practical training. Also note that the schools MUST have classes as well. You cannot have a job say in a different city as the schools. Very often these are problematic and Citizenship and Immigration Service will rule that you do not have status. If you are out of status for
General advice: Keep in touch with the DSO at ALL times.

H-1B –Request for Evidence : Specialty Occupation-–The key to winning this is Expert opinion. However in third party placements, the Citizenship and Immigration Service wants an expert who has knowledge of the end project. We use folks employers know, rather than pay for stock expertise letters
H-1B Request for Evidence : Pay Level: This was more of a last year’s issue. We had an amazing brief that we wrote and won most of our specialty occupation Requests for Evidence. General advice: Stick to whatever the Employer states in the Labor Condition Application. Be careful for certain SOC codes.

For more Information visit Banerjee & Associates

Visa and Security checks.

By | Business Immigration, Houston Immigration, Immigration, Security, Travel, Uncategorized | No Comments

A huge power company client of mine told me that one of their vendors have a policy of not hiring non immigrants. However with the low employment rate, US Citizens or Green card holders cannot be found to fill the positions. The current administration has created this fear of immigrants. This is the process of how much screening goes into getting a US visa, and it is more stringent than any screening done for USCs.

1. In most types of visa the first process is filed with the Citizenship and Immigration Service. I tell my client that they are omniscient, because they can see expunged criminal history, which a State police cannot.

2. When a visa applicant goes to US consulates to get a visa, the Department of State does various types of checks. Apart from all 10 fingers and facial recognition, the Department of State also does various types of name checks, etc. These checks have various names: NCIC, Condor Sao, Mantis SAO, etc. They have intelligence that we will not have. Again, they work with various intelligence agencies, and the process has become extremely stringent since 9/11. If there is any doubt whatsoever, then visas are refused. This might explain why we have not had legal entrants entering with visas since 9/11 have not committed any crimes.

Look these up: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Security_Advisory_Opinion
https://www.fbi.gov/services/cjis/nics
State govts do not have access to these

3. At their Port of Entry, the Customs and Border Patrol does another security check with all 10 fingerprinting and facial recognition. The database that all 3 agencies use are secret and private citizens do not have access to this.

4. It is a violation of employment law to discriminate against someone who the federal Govt has authorized to work. Companies can only discriminate if an individual is not qualified to do the work.

For more information, contact Banerjee and Associates

A Very Republican solution to DACA/DAPA

By | Business Immigration, DACA, DAPA, Houston Immigration, Immigration, Immigration Policy, Uncategorized | No Comments

Let me be completely honest with you—-I am not an emotional person. I am hard on everyone and operate on pure logic. So I am not going to argue that folks bought here illegally or entered illegally cannot assimilate into their home country. If Americans of any race can live in Mexico, so can they. I am not a bleeding-heart democrat nor am I an evangelical, looking for extra followers for my religion. What I say is just the rational thing to do.

Very few people come to the USA without papers, looking for something illegal to do. They come here because they find work in the US, rather than in their country of origin. If they did not get jobs, they would go back to their home country, simply because cost of living is higher in US. So we depend on them to clean our houses, cut our grass, etc. I pay about $22/hr per person to clean my house. I am willing to pay more. But I want to come home to a clean house. I had some American maids, but their quality of work was poor and in fact horrible in comparison to what I get from the undocumented workers. American Citizens simply don’t work hard.
If I wanted a foreign nanny, I could get an Au pair. But there are NO visa categories for maids, cooks, gardeners, construction workers. There are limited quantity of fruit pickers and restaurant workers. On a side note, it is important to note that when there was a waiter shortage in Mar A Lago, the number of H-2Bs were increased just to accommodate that shortage.

The immigrants working here with no visas, should be given visas because (1) They have a job; (2) They need to pay taxes. Although many do pay taxes, they don’t have to. Would anyone pay taxes if they did not have to? (3) they need to get auto and health insurance. Otherwise they are just draining our resources.
The undocumented came here to work. They do not need Asylum, or Family Immigration (or the recent term coined by the current administration being “chain” migration.) They work. So unless the US can give us citizens who can construct our houses, clean them, care for our lawns, they have to create visa categories for these types of jobs. If Mar A Lago needs foreign waiters, we need foreign workers to do these jobs. If you create sufficient number of these visa categories and folks still come in undocumented, then yes, call them illegal.

For more information call Banerjee & Associates

Business Immigration in 2017

By | Business Immigration, Citizenship and Naturalization, H1-B, Houston Immigration, I-94, Immigration, Immigration Policy, Immigration Reform, Uncategorized | No Comments

In 2016, before the elections, my staff and I had a discussion as to what Immigration will look like in 2017, when Hillary wins. One of them asked, “what if Trump wins”. I brushed her off, saying, “oh, then we all will be annihilated, we will think survival, not immigration.” Of course, that was a joke, but here we are after a year with Trump in the White House.

I will confine myself to changes in Business Immigration during this year. In November of 2016, the US published its “final rule” on Employment based Immigration, an Obama era legacy, making life better for most business non immigrants. With a stated purpose of helping US Employers retain highly skilled individuals, the rule clarified porting, grace periods and other issues in non immigrant and immigrant business visas. So the year actually started with this gift from President Obama.

Of course that euphoria was short lived. Around March of every year, businesses get ready to file the new H-1Bs. Each year the quota for new H-1B is 65,000 +20,000 for US educated personnel. Since more than 200,000 people apply, there is a lottery held. One can file 6 months before the Government year, which starts at October 1. Therefore most petitions are mailed on March31, to reach Citizenship and Immigration (CIS) office on April 01.

On March 31, USCIS issued a “guidance memo” where they said that they do not believe that a level I wages for Computer Professionals does not qualify the employees as “professional employees.” While I do understand the Government’s concern about Computer Consulting Companies (See below), this memo is wrong for so many reasons.
1. Wage levels are set by Department of Labor, (not CIS). This memo is thus ultra vires.
2. To selectively have this for one particular industry violates the rule of law.
3. This memo is not backed up by either law or by a notice and comment period, and thus violates 14th Amendment
But then, the Constitution is not a necessary text for Trump supporters. Subsequently many if not most of those consulting company jobs, which were picked in the lottery, was denied. All those quota numbers were wasted.

Now lets look at the way big business gets its computer business needs. Lets say Macy’s wants to build a new website that would allow customers to browse on what is available in their local store and have something held for them before customers went out to shop. Macy’s will need to build a program. That is a temporary job. The Macy’s Corporation does not want to put in the time and effort to secure these temp jobs. So Macy’s will have a contract with a vendor to provide their computer needs. Sometimes these vendors are intermediary vendors, and they have contracts with sub vendors to get the computer professionals.

Now like many businesses (think Greek diners or Chinese laundromats), the business of supplying Computer Professionals were held by Indian. Not even the whole of India, it was utilized mostly by one state-Andhra Pradesh. Many Colleges there had poor standards. Many systems analysts did not know how to do the job and learned “on the job”. Companies like Macy’s are too big to monitor this. Besides many computer consulting companies were engaged in unethical business practices.

The Computer Consulting owners say that American grads don’t want to do these jobs. The lifestyle is hard—-they need to move from one location to the other with the projects. Usually they have a home base, and work long hours from Monday to Thursday. They fly home on Thursday and leave Sun day night.
Whatever the reason is I think the Government has a legitimate interest to cut back on the fraud. The Obama administration tried to deny H-1Bs with the Control issue, saying that those employees work at end client’s places (Macy’s) and are therefore not employees of the H-1B employer. However that has not had much success, since its inception in 2010.

I do think the current administration is in the correct path by insisting that Computer Consulting H-1B jobs are to be paid more. At least that will ensure that the US gets properly trained individuals. However the means which the current Government took to undertake this was underhanded and violated the Rule of Law.

 

For more information contact Banerjee & Associates

Recent Trends in Business Immigration

By | Business Immigration, H1-B, Houston Immigration, Uncategorized | No Comments

Much has been said about undocumented Immigration, Sanctuary cities etc; but we hardly hear about business Immigration. The recent trends in Business Immigrations are:

H-1B
The recent Request for Evidence are given for Wage level 1 rates.
Pro: We do need higher level Professionals in the US instead of entry level professionals.
Con: Employers for New H-1B don’t know who they are getting and how they will work. Its difficult to promise them higher wages without seeing their performance
Solution: Do the lottery before we apply. That way we know how much to pay or whether to even employ that person
However for petitions with a higher wage, are getting approved.
L
Although the standards are same, the burden of proof (which the applicant has) seems to have increased. Again small Companies are at a disadvantage compared to large companies. However Requests for Evidence are also being doled out for larger publicly traded Companies

PERM-Labor Certification

Right now, if one applies correctly, perms are getting certified in about 5-6 mts. Same with I-140. Not seeing increase in audits.

I-485 Adjustment of status

Although not more difficult, Adjustments both Employment and Family based are taking a lot longer to process.

For more information call Banerjee & Associates

Creating Hopes that wont Materialize

By | Citizenship and Naturalization, Houston Immigration, Immigration, Immigration Policy, Uncategorized, Visa | No Comments

From time to time, our lawmakers meet with lobby groups, with Constituents or with other interest groups and promise them the moon. They of course are given gifts and campaign contributions. In return, these lawmakers introduce bills in the Congress or the Senate. The bills might be debated or might be killed immediately. But most of them don’t make it out to the other House, and some that do, might die in the next house. During my career, I have seen countless bills die. Yet for a fleeting moment, they bring hope to people.
Whenever such bills are introduced, we lawyers get a flurry of calls. Can this be true? Can we get work permit? Can we get the green card soon? And as an Attorney, it becomes our duty to crush these dreams.
Good attorneys crush dreams. Bad attorneys sign on clients. For instances, when DAPA was introduced by the Obama administration, giving dreams of working and driving legally, to parents of children born in the United States who entered illegally, many attorneys took retainers and signed on clients. Clients think, they engaged an attorney and will get their dreams realized. But that executive action died in the Supreme Court.
Today, I got calls from Indian tech employees. They are legal residents, working in the tech sector, being productive. Yet, they have to wait 12 to 18 years after they file their petition, to ultimately get their green card. Most are Master’s degree holders and many times, their employers abuse them. They work hard. They make the best of their situation.
How does a lawyer tell them, that bills to alleviate their wait times will probably die?

 

For your Immigration needs call Banerjee & Associates

New National Interest Waiver Test

By | Commentary, Houston Immigration, Immigration, SCOTUS, Uncategorized | No Comments

Immigration law is a field where hardly anything new ever happens. Yet during the last days the Obama Presidency, there was a case that clarified National Interest Waivers (NIWs) Just like bad facts make bad law, good facts make good law. Dr. Dhanasar had 2 Master’s degree and a PhD. He was a Scientist in the field of Rocket Propulsion. Dhanasar replaced the old NYSDOT test.

  1. Under the old NYSDOT test, the research had to have intrinsic merit—-This excluded pure and theoretical sciences. In many cases of pure Math, there are no direct impact. For instance, Einstein’s theory of relativity in itself is just purely a theory, and does not have any immediate consequences. Yet, there are so many uses which is based off of this theory. We could not file NIW under NYSDOT, but can do so under Dhanasar
  2. Local in scope. The other weird thing about NYSDOT was that the impact had to be national and not local. This presented a huge problem for those of us who worked with oil industry geologists. They did research on say, North Texas oil basin. That would lead to discovery of oil in Texas. But although the research did not have direct national consequences, discovery of significant oil reserves would reduce the US dependency of foreign oil, and lead to national economic benefit
    Maybe if Mr. Trump restricts Immigration, the courts will step up and make things easier.

For more information visit Banerjee & Associates

The Immigration Legacy of President Obama

By | Commentary, DACA, H1-B, Houston Immigration, Immigration, L-1, Uncategorized | No Comments

On this last day of Obama’s presidency, I want to, no need to, look at all the Immigration actions he took, including ones that were the right thing to do, yet made him unpopular with his party.
DEPORTATION:
He has been called by Democrats as the “Deporter in Chief”. Yes, he deported more people than anyone else. But let’s be clear, we ONLY deport criminals. These are people who have come in illegally, or are not yet citizens of the US, and they have committed a felony. If these people get a lawyer, the process stretches out indefinitely. Do we, as a society need more felons, or drug users? I applaud Pres. Obama on standing up to his party.
DACA:
The legislature would not cooperate with President Obama and openly said that they wanted him to fail. Yet, despite that, he started the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals through executive action. This makes sense, because these people were educated by us, the US Taxpayers. They had to have at least a high school diploma and have no criminal records. If we don’t deport them, (we simply don’t have the resources to), you might as well let them earn and pay taxes. They get Driver’s license and car insurance. I do hope this program continues with the next President, because if this is scrapped, we will all lose.
ENDING CUBANS WET FOOT DRY FOOT POLICY
Again, breaking with the Democratic Party ideal, the ending of the absurd policy of Cubans getting Immigration as soon as they land in American soil. Unlike the 70s, when actual Cuban refugees came through, in the 80s, Castro opened Mariel Island, from where people could come by boat to Miami. Castro also opened up the jails and mental asylums. So people coming into Florida were either hard core criminal or criminally insane. Others came in from different countries and since they were born in Cuba, they were given residencies, but did not suffer any hardship from the Castro regime.
BUSINESS IMMIGRATION
The Democratic Party does not favor Business Immigration. Nancy Pelosi once said that businesses should pay the filing fees of the illegal Immigrants. But Pres Obama was hard where he needed to be, and soft in other places. In 2010, under his administration, the Citizenship and Immigration Service introduced the Control memo, which along with the Semieo case has been helpful to cut down on H-1B fraud. On the flip side, Obama with executive order has given H-1B’s spouses work permit, if the H-1B had an approved I-140. That helped save a lot of marriages. His executive order also clarified and simplified L-1 filings.

Thus the 43rd and 44th President of USA did what was fair and just despite opposition from both parties. Pres. Obama, you are my President, you always shall be.

For more information contact Banerjee& Associates