The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) posted today for public inspection, a final rule amending regulations governing H-1B cap-subject petitions, including those that may be eligible for the advanced degree exemption. The final rule reverses the order by which U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) selects H-1B petitions under the H-1B regular cap and the advanced degree exemption, and it introduces an electronic registration requirement for petitioners seeking to file H-1B cap-subject petitions. The rule will be published in the Federal Register on Jan. 31, and will go into effect on April 1, though the electronic registration requirement will be suspended for the fiscal year (FY) 2020 cap season.
What does this mean for you?
1. The rule will start in 2020 not this year.
2. The only change this year is the Reverse order of selection of cases. Effective April 1, USCIS will first select H-1B petitions (or registrations, once the registration requirement is implemented) submitted on behalf of all beneficiaries, including those that may be eligible for the advanced degree exemption. USCIS will then select from the remaining eligible petitions, a number projected to reach the advanced degree exemption. Changing the order in which USCIS counts these allocations will likely increase the number of petitions for beneficiaries with a master’s or higher degree from a U.S. institution of higher education to be selected under the H-1B numerical allocations.
In this video attorney Jacob Sapochnick discusses what happens at an employment-based green card interview. Employment-based green card interviews became mandatory pursuant to USCIS policy in March of 2017.
It was not until the President issued an executive order on March 6, 2017 that USCIS began to require in person interviews for employment-based green card applicants.
The President’s executive order broke the agency’s long-standing policy of waiving in-person interviews for employment-based green card applicants, who were previously considered low risk applicants.
In keeping with the executive order, all applicants who have filed for adjustment of status, on or after March 6, 2017, on the basis of employment, must attend an in-person interview with USCIS. Derivative family members must also be present at the interview.
Employment-based adjustment of status is where an individual qualifies to apply for permanent residence based on an underlying employment visa category such as EB-2 or where the foreign national has an approved National Interest Waiver.
What happens during these interviews?
At the interview, the immigration officer will review the foreign national’s job description as it appears on the original Form I-140, to determine whether the applicant is still doing the same work or whether there has been a significant change in employment.
If the applicant is no longer working in the same or a similar position, the applicant must explain why.
Immigration officers are also closely scrutinizing federal income tax returns filed by applicants to determine whether the foreign national has engaged in unauthorized employment. Engaging in unauthorized employment will likely result in a denial of the adjustment of status application.
National Interest Waiver
In the case of adjustment of status based on an approved national interest waiver, the immigration officer will want to know whether the applicant has done what they promised to do in keeping with the original Form I-140 to ensure that the applicant has not engaged in fraud to obtain immigration benefits.
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Have you ever wondered what visa options are available to social media influencers?
Social media influencers have quickly become of the biggest assets for brands seeking to reach millennial audiences by way of influencer marketing.
Influencer marketing refers to a business collaboration with an influential person on social media to promote a product, service, or a campaign. Social media influencers are those who have amassed a large following on social media and have established credibility among their followers within their specific industry.
An influencer can come to the United States and work with brands to promote their goods or services by applying for the O-1B visa for aliens of extraordinary ability in the arts.
To qualify for an O-1 visa, the social media influencer must demonstrate extraordinary ability by sustained national or international acclaim via social media, and seek to come to the United States to work with companies using their social media platform.
In this video attorney Jacob Sapochnick discusses immigration options for foreign nurses.
At the moment it is quite difficult for foreign nurses to immigrate to the United States because of how strict immigration officials are being in adjudicating these petitions.
While there are rigorous requirements that must be proven to immigrate to the United States, the demand for nurses in the United States continues to grow. Therefore, there is a still a need for foreign nurses to come and work in the United States.
The good news is that the immigration backlog for nurses is decreasing. The time that a nurse must wait to work in the United States depends on the nurse’s country of nationality.
So, how can a nurse get a visa to come to the United States?
There are generally two ways that a foreign nurse can come and work in the United States.
Green Card: A nurse may come to work in the United States if their employer files a petition on their behalf specifically on Form I-140 Immigration Petition for Alien Worker. Once the I-140 is approved, the nurse may apply for an immigrant visa under the EB-3 category for nurses once the I-140 priority date becomes current on the visa bulletin. This process culminates in an interview at the U.S. Consulate for the immigrant visa.
H-1B:A foreign nurse who has a Master’s or Bachelor’s degree, plus five years working experience, and is seeking to work in a specialty occupation (for example as managers or nurse practitioners) may apply for the H-1B work visa.
TN Visa: A foreign nurse from Canada or Mexico may apply for a TN visa.
Most nurses come to the United States by being petitioned for a green card directly by their employer.
What is required for this option?
The foreign nurse must have a visa screen which is an evaluation of educational equivalency by the CGFNS (Commission on Graduates of Foreign Nursing Schools)
The foreign nurse must establish English proficiency by passing either the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) www.toefl.com or International English Language Testing System (IELTS, academic version) www.ielts.org.
The foreign nurse must also pass the state licensing exam and the NCLEX (National Council Licensure Examination)
The foreign nurse must have a job offer and
The employer must be willing to sponsor the foreign nurse for permanent residency
The employer must be willing to pay the prevailing wage of the location where the foreign nurse will be working
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In this video attorney Jacob Sapochnick discusses immigration options for the e-sports industry. This is a very interesting topic because although e-sports are not traditional, professionals within this industry can certainly apply for the same types of visas available to professional athletes.
For immigration purposes, gamers, judges, gaming influencers (such as YouTube personalities) or engineers in the field may apply for the O-1B visa.
The O-1B visa is suitable for individuals with an extraordinary ability in the arts. The e-sports industry qualifies for this visa because e-sports are considered an art.
An individual may work in the United States on the O-1B visa for an initial 3-year period. Extensions may be granted in one-year increments.
In this video attorney Jacob Sapochnick shares exciting news, New Zealand has now been added to the list of eligible citizens that may apply for an E-2 Investor visa.
A recent change in the law now allows citizens of New Zealand to come to the United States as investors and apply for the E-2 investor visa. Citizens of New Zealand may invest in any business venture, with an investment as low as $50,000.
Previously, citizens of New Zealand were not a part of the E-2 investor visa program, so this is a great opportunity for entrepreneurs interested in bringing their talents to the United States.
What is the E-2 visa?
The E-2 visa is suitable for persons who are: a) foreign nationals of a treaty trader country b) interested in making a substantial investment in a new business in the United States or existing U.S. business c) not interested in permanent residence d) interested in remaining in the United States for the short term.
In this video attorney Jacob Sapochnick discusses an important E-2 visa subject: how do you prove source of funds for your E-2 investment?
If your source of investment is a loan: you must prove that your loan is secured by some personal property.
If your source of funds is a gift: you must prove that you have control of that gift and show the source of funds of the person that gave you the gift, for example if the funds came from the sale of the house, the documents of the sale of that house must be provided. If the funds came from savings, then the person would need to provide their savings account statements. If the funds came from someone’s salary, then pay stubs must be provided.
In general, if a person has given you a gift of money, and that is the source of your E-2 investment, that person must prove how they got the money.
Proceeds from Real Estate
If the funds are coming from the proceeds of a real estate sale then you must provide the deed, proof of the bill of sale and the transaction, etc.
If the source of funds is coming from investments such as stock, life insurance, then at least three years of tax returns must be provided, and three years of statements from those institutions.
In this video attorney Jacob Sapochnick discusses how entrepreneurs come to America.
What are the available visa options for an entrepreneur to launch a startup company?
One of the most common ways to launch a company in the United States is through the O-1A visa. This is a great option for entrepreneurs who have already established their reputation in their home country, have run a successful business abroad, and who wish to bring their unique talents and skills to the United States.
To qualify for an O-1A visa, the entrepreneur must demonstrate that they are exceptionally distinguished in their field or industry. This can be demonstrated by way of sustained recognition in the industry on a national or international level, or awards, titles, honorary distinctions, etc. The entrepreneur must also demonstrate that they have achieved a high level of expertise in their industry
The O-1A visa enables the entrepreneur to come to the United States to work for their own company, or for another company.
Another great option is the L-1A visa. If you are a startup founder and you already have a company in your home country, and you want to launch in the United States, you can set up a subsidiary or an affiliate of your startup in your home country and come to the United States as an executive such as a CEO.
Alternatively, you may wish to apply for the E-2 visa as an investor of the startup company that you wish to launch in the United States. To qualify for this visa type, you must be a national of a foreign country that has a qualifying treaty of friendship, commerce, navigation, or similar agreement with the United States.
In addition, the investment must be made in a real, operating commercial enterprise or active entrepreneurial undertaking productive of some service or commodity. Paper organizations, speculative, or idle investments do not qualify as real operating enterprises or active entrepreneurial undertakings.
If you are a citizen of Mexico or Canada, you can apply for a TN visa and be part of the company that you launch in the United States as an advisor or a higher-level position. The position that the entrepreneur will engage in must be a profession that is approved by NAFTA, and the entrepreneur must meet the qualifications for that position.
The E-1 Treaty Trader visa is a good option for entrepreneurs who wish to work in the technology sector. If you have a patent in your home country or have an idea to invest in the technology sector, and you are starting a company in your home county, you can set up a company in the United States as a founder without investing anything, because of the exchange of trade and technology.
National Interest Waiver
Company founders can apply for a green card by applying for a national interest waiver if you are a highly successful entrepreneur, and you can show the government that your level of innovation is at a high level.
Please visit our website for more information about these different options.
How can religious workers come to the United States?
A religious worker visa allows a foreign national to come to the United States to work in a religious occupation for an authorized non-profit organization.
To qualify for the R-1 visa, the foreign national must be employed by (1) a non-profit religious organization in the United States or (2) a religious organization that is authorized by a group tax exemption holder to use its group tax exemption or (3) a non-profit religious organization affiliated with a religious denomination in the United States.
Religious occupations are those whose duties:
Primarily relate to a traditional religious function
Are recognized as a religious occupation within the denomination
Are primarily related to, and clearly involve, inculcate, or carry out the religious creed and beliefs of the denomination
In addition, the foreign national must be a member of the religious denomination for at least two years immediately prior to filing for an R-1 visa.
The R-1 visa is issued for a period of up to 5 years, and the religious worker may apply for a green card using Form I-360.
For more information about the R-1 visa please visit our website.