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Articles Posted in Employment Based Immigration

Welcome back to the Immigration Lawyer Blog, where we discuss all things immigration. In this important video, attorney Jacob Sapochnick discusses how the COVID-19 pandemic has affected U.S. immigration law and what you should expect going forward.

Overview:

COVID-19 Firm Update

In compliance with government directives, our office remains temporarily closed for any in person meetings with clients and prospective clients. However, our firm continues to be fully functional on a remote basis.

All meetings with current and future clients will take place via phone, Zoom, Facetime, or other remote conferencing medium. At this time, we are not scheduling in-person appointments to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Our focus remains the health and safety of our clients and our employees, while providing the highest quality of service.

If you are a prospective client, you may contact us by phone or schedule a video conference for a free discovery call to determine your immigration needs.

Our Message to Our Current Clients

Our Firm has been hard at work these last few weeks to avoid any disruptions in service as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak, while at the same time acting responsibly to do our part to contain the spread of this virus.

To achieve business continuity, our office will be engaging an Alternate Work Schedule Program that will allow us to remain fully functional and continue our business with the use of remote working technology.

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Welcome back to the Immigration Lawyer Blog, where we discuss all things immigration. In this video, attorney Jacob Sapochnick discusses the new H-1B mandatory electronic registration system and what to expect after the mandatory registration period has closed. Keep watching for more information.

Overview:

As you know H-1B season FY 2021 is now in full swing. The new mandatory H-1B electronic registration system opened March 1, 2020 and will remain open until noon ET March 20, 2020.

Since the implementation of this new system our clients have been asking whether the system is working, whether there have been any glitches, and whether we have encountered any problems with the registration process.

So, what has happened since the system opened?

Unfortunately, during the first few days the system was open, our office encountered a few problems while registering our clients. The main problem was that the online system was locking us out and preventing us from completing our client’s registrations. Due to this, our office had to set up multiple accounts to prevent the system from locking us out in order to successfully complete the registrations.

Secondly, when registering in the system a code is supposed to be populated that is emailed to the employer for the purpose of verifying the information provided during the registration process. Our office experienced numerous problems retrieving this code, and in other cases the code provided by the system did not work altogether.

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Welcome back to the Immigration Lawyer Blog, where we discuss all things immigration. In this video, attorney Jacob Sapochnick discusses the public charge rule and who is affected.

Overview:

Several categories of people are affected by the public charge rule:

The first category of people primarily affected by the public charge rule are applicants filing for adjustment of status on Form I-485 Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status.

The second category of people affected by the rule are foreign nationals applying for an immigrant visa at a U.S. Embassy abroad.

Also affected are nonimmigrants applying for a change of status in the United States.

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Welcome back to the Immigration Lawyer Blog, where we discuss all things immigration. In this video, attorney Jacob Sapochnick discusses the new H-1B online registration system and everything you need to know if you are applying for an H-1B cap petition in fiscal year 2021.

Overview:

What’s new?

As our blog followers will know, the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services has drastically changed the filing procedure for submitting H-1B cap subject petitions.

Beginning March 1, 2020, before a petitioner can file an H-1B cap-subject petition on behalf of an alien worker, including petitions eligible for the advanced degree exemption, the petitioner must first electronically register with USCIS on the USCIS website.

This electronic registration requirement is absolutely mandatory.

Only petitioners with a valid registration selection will be eligible to file an H-1B petition with USCIS.

The initial registration period for H-1B FY 2021 will open on March 1, 2020 and is expected to close on March 20, 2020. The actual end date will be provided by USCIS very soon on its website. Petitioners must pay a $10 H-1B registration fee per submission. Duplicate registrations are prohibited.

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Welcome back to the Immigration Lawyer Blog, where we discuss all things immigration. In this video, attorney Jacob Sapochnick discusses an important topic. Recently Iranian Americans with dual citizenship have been questioned by Customs and Border Protection upon re-entering the United States. Our clients have been asking: can the government do this?

Stay tuned to find out more.

Overview: 

As our readers may be aware tensions between the United States and Iran have been at an all-time high following the killing of Qasem Soleimani, an Iranian military commander by a United States airstrike.

Since Soleimani’s killing, the Iranian government and supreme leader have vowed to retaliate against the United States.

The United States Department of State has issued a level four travel advisory notice for Iran, alerting United States Citizens of the dangers they may face in traveling to Iran including kidnapping, arbitrary arrest, and detention. The DOS has also advised United States citizens against traveling because the United States government does not have any diplomatic or consular relations with the government of Iran and cannot provide emergency assistance to U.S. Citizens in Iran.

The DOS has also made clear on its website that Iranians with U.S./Iranian nationality are not immune to these dangers and are advised against traveling.

CBP’s Right to Question

Having said that, generally Customs and Border Protection has the right to question any individual seeking admission to the United States about any matter that they consider relevant in determining an individual’s admissibility to the country.

Given the current circumstances and political climate, it is expected for Customs and Border Protection to question Iranian American dual citizens at the port of entry, about things like their social media, what they were doing in Iran, their feelings about the political situation in Iran, who they know in Iran, and other such questions.

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Welcome back to the Immigration Lawyer Blog, where we discuss all things immigration. In this video, we discuss a frequently asked question: can you travel with a pending I-485 Adjustment of Status application?

Overview:

Generally, anytime a person has a pending application with USCIS like a visa extension or change of status petition, that person cannot depart the United States until that petition is approved.

In this video however we will focus specifically on applicants who have a pending I-485 adjustment of status application based on family or employment sponsorship.

Employment-Based Applicants 

With regard to employment-based adjustment of status applicants, this category of applicants is typically present in the United states on a valid non-immigrant visa classification such as H1B, L1, etc. and are simply waiting for their I-485 green card petition to be adjudicated.

With respect to H1B and L1 visa holders ONLY, these individuals can depart the United States on their H1B or L1 visa classification and return, despite having a pending I-485 application.

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Welcome back to the Immigration Lawyer Blog, where we discuss all things immigration. In this video, we have some bad news for H1B visa holders, some very very alarming statistics. If you want to know what they are watch this video.

H1B Visas and Rate of Denials

Based on a recent statistic, between 2015 through 2019 there has been a significant increase in H1B visa denials. H1B visa denials have quadrupled in denial rates.

Similarly, the volume of requests for evidence issued to H1B petitioners have increased by 60 percent.

The H-1B season for fiscal year 2021 will bring some important changes. Firstly, USCIS has imposed a new online electronic registration requirement for H1B petitioners to streamline the H1B lottery process.

When we see a quadrupling in the rate of H1B visas denied for strong H1B petitions, it is apparent that the government is trying to send a message, which is that they want to limit the amount of people who can actually file for H1B visas. In the requests for evidence we have received for H1B extensions and transfers, we see a trend in which USCIS is using the most narrow interpretation of what a “specialty occupation,” is which by definition limits the pool of candidates eligible to receive an H1B visa.

We are seeing almost automatic denials for our marketing and business positions because USCIS is being so restrictive in how they interpret and define a “specialty occupation.” USCIS is taking the position that marketing and business positions are not “specialty occupations.”

USCIS has time and time again refused to accept the complexity of these positions, legal arguments in support of a finding that these positions are in fact specialty occupations, and ignored expert opinions supporting such positions as “specialty occupations.”

From what we have seen in our own filings and from conversations we have had with other attorneys and law offices, it is becoming increasingly difficult to get H1B visas approved for positions and occupations are were normally approved without difficulty in the past.

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Welcome back to Immigration Lawyer Blog, where we discuss all things immigration. In this video, we talk about the different investment visa options available under current law.

E-2 Non-immigrant Visa: Visa through Investment

The first option is the E-2 visa. This is a non-immigrant visa that allows foreign nationals from eligible treaty nations to invest in a new business in the United States. The required investment amount will vary depending on the type of business.

Not every country participates in the E-2 visa program. You must be a national of a treaty nation in order to qualify. For a complete list of qualifying countries please click here.

The amount of time a foreign national may remain in the United States with an E-2 visa depends on the applicant’s country of nationality. The average processing time to receive an E-2 visa is approximately 3 to 5 months. In order successfully obtain an E-2 visa, the applicant must be able to demonstrate the source of funds of the investment, hire employees to work for the business, and the business must be real and operating.

It is important to note that the E-2 visa does not lead to a green card but can be extended.

EB-5 Immigrant Visa Program: Green Card through Investment

The EB-5 Immigrant Visa Program allows you to invest half a million dollars into a regional center government approved project, or a million dollars direct investment in your own project. To qualify, your investment must create at least 10 jobs and the business must be succeeding and growing.

After November 21, 2019, the minimum investment will increase from half a million to $900,000 for investment in a regional center, and from one million to 1.8 million for direct investments.

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Welcome back to Immigration Lawyer Blog, where we discuss all things immigration. In this video, we cover a very important topic: can people who overstayed their visa or entered illegally, get a work visa or employee sponsorship?

Recently our office met with a client who was in this very predicament. He had the perfect job opportunity from his dream employer and was now interested in knowing how he could obtain a work visa with his employer’s sponsorship. The problem: he entered the country illegally and since entering had no lawful status in the United States.

Here is where we had to deliver the bad news.

The bottom line

A person who has entered illegally or overstayed the duration of their visa, is not eligible to adjust their status to permanent residence. During the employment sponsorship process, the visa applicant must provide information regarding their entry to the United States. Under current immigration law, a person who has entered without inspection cannot adjust their status in the United States, based on employment sponsorship except under one limited exception called 245(i).

What is 245(i)

245(i) is a provision in the law passed under the Legal Immigration Family Equity (LIFE) Act in the year 2000, enabling certain individuals who are unlawfully present in the United States to apply for adjustment of status, despite their unlawful entry.

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In this video attorney Jacob Sapochnick discusses some new developments regarding the government’s planned implementation of a final rule that would have made certain individuals inadmissible to the United States on public charge grounds.

On October 11, 2019, judges in three separate cases before U.S. District Courts for the Southern District of New York (PDF)Northern District of California (PDF), and Eastern District of Washington (PDF) granted court orders to stop the government from implementing and enforcing the terms of the public charge rule proposed by the Trump administration. As a result, the final rule has been postponed pending litigation until the courts have made a decision on the legality of the rule on the merits. These court orders have been placed nationwide and prevent USCIS from implementing the rule anywhere in the United States.

What would the public charge rule have done?

The public charge rule was set to be enforced on October 15, 2019. The rule would have expanded the list of public benefits that make a foreign national ineligible to obtain permanent residence and/or an immigrant or nonimmigrant visa to enter the United States.

A person would have been considered a “public charge” under the rule, if they received one or more designated public benefits for more than 12 months in the aggregate, within any 36-month period.

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