Monthly Archives: August 2010

FY-2011 H-1B CAP COUNT (8/31/2010)

According to the USCIS, the agency has received 34,900 out of 65,000 available cap-subject H-1B petitions for FY-2011 and 13,000 out of 20,000 available petitions under the H-1B Master’s Cap Exemption.

As the number of filed petitions increases, it is likely that more employers will be filing for foreign-nationals to start employment on or after October 1, 2010.

Please visit our firm’s websites at www.immigrantconnect.com and www.americaninvestorvisa.com and check out our page and become our fan on Facebook!

OBAMA ADMINISTRATION SHIFTS IMMIGRATION ENFORCEMENT PRIORITIES

According to an article on washingtonpost.com:  “The Obama administration is moving to release thousands of illegal immigrants detained at facilities across the country if the immigrants have a potential path to legal residency.”

The Obama administration is finally putting its money where it’s mouth is in trying to fix our broken immigration system while keeping the President’s campaign promise to offer legalization to millions of undocumented workers who meet stringent criteria.  Some would argue that this is too little too late while others believe that the administration is on the right path.  By taking step such as:  (1) suing the State of Arizona to avoid a mishmash of state immigration laws, (2) dedicating funds to help secure the border and, (3) halting immigration proceedings and releasing from detention those who may be eligible to adjust, the administration is setting the groundwork for what could be a renewed attempt to pass immigration reform after the November elections.

Even if the Republican party takes control of Congress, if the administration uses Policy Memoranda and other tools at its disposal to create a better immigration system without congress passing Comprehensive Immigration Reform, it’s far better than nothing.  Most immigration practitioners would agree that the interpretation of the law by agencies is more important than the law itself.  Perhaps the congress will come together soon after the elections to pass CIR before Washington gets all riled up about the 2012 elections (one can always dream!).

During the final years of the Bush administration, many immigration laws were interpreted to limit benefits to immigrants as much as possible.  Arguably, the anti-immigration positions have started to shift with the exception of heavy-handedness by the USCIS and the DOL with issues concerning jobs for Americans.  In particular, the USCIS recently raised fees substantially for certain H-1B employers and in audits the DOL has begun asking for proof of how employers contacted eligible applicants for positions recruited for under the PERM Labor Certification Program.  These steps are understandable given the country’s high unemployment rate.

The far right will decry any prioritizing of immigration enforcement as “back-door amnesty”.  However, right-winged candidates who see red on the issue of undocumented aliens historically lose their elections or primaries.  On the other hand, appearing lax on enforcement is not the key to winning votes.  Immigration is a tricky issue as it is not a priority for most voters and politically, it is generally best left untouched around election time.

Please visit our firm’s websites at www.immigrantconnect.com and www.americaninvestorvisa.com and check out our page and become our fan on Facebook!

FASTEST GREEN CARD FOR YOU AND YOUR FAMILY (IF YOU CAN AFFORD IT)

Tired of waiting forever for your family or employment-based priority date to become current?  Concerned that your sponsoring employer will lay you off and leave you and your family in an immigration fiasco?  If so, you’re not alone.  The US immigration system is quite a mess at the moment.  However, if you can afford it, a little-used option is available and, some would argue, it’s a great deal considering what US Permanent Residence, that eventually leads to citizenship, is worth:  It’s the EB-5 Investor Program through a Regional Center.

How Can I Obtain an EB-5 Green Card Through Investment in a Regional Center?

In essence, an EB-5-based immigrant visa can be obtained by a foreign national investing $500,000 USD with a USCIS-designated Regional Center located in a targeted employment area (which most of them are). Upon investment and filing the appropriate form with the USCIS along with evidence of the legitimate source of the funds, a conditional green card is granted to the investor and his/her dependents for a two-year period after which the foreign-national applies to remove the condition and have a permanent green card.  The foreign-national’s family can reside anywhere in the US.  The obligations to invest the funds to comply with the statutory requirements for condition removal rest with the Regional Center.  Therefore, selection of a reputable Center is key.

Will I Get My Money Back?

The law requires that the capital invested must be placed “at risk.”  This means that there is no guarantee that you will get your money back at the end of the investment period, which is usually at least five years after the initial investment.  Some Regional Centers may offer options to mitigate the risk or to insure against it within the legal boundaries.  This and all aspects of selecting an appropriate Regional Center should be discussed with knowledgeable business counsel.  It is also crucial  to examine the track record of a Center prior to making one’s selection.  Many Regional Centers will tell you that you can expect to get your money back with a nominal return at the end of the investment period.

Of course, in addition to the statutory investment requirement of $500,000 there are the Regional Center’s administrative, and the investor’s legal and USCIS filing fees which are generally not refundable.

Am I Guaranteed to Get My Green Card?

There are never any guarantees when it comes to a government agency adjudicating a case nor when a Regional Center has control over how the pooled funds will be invested.  However, by investing with a reputable Regional Center and otherwise being qualified to adjust status, it is a good bet that qualified investors and their families under the program will be granted permanent residence status.

PLEASE NOTE THAT NOTHING IN THIS POST OR ON THIS WEBSITE SHOULD BE CONSTRUED AS LEGAL ADVICE.  PLEASE CONSULT A QUALIFIED IMMIGRATION LAWYER TO DISCUSS YOUR INDIVIDUAL SITUATION.

For more information, please visit our firm’s websites at www.americainvestorvisa.com and www.immigrantconnect.com.

BREWER FILES APPELLATE BRIEF IN S.B. 1070 CASE

According to the Associated Press:  “Gov. Jan Brewer’s lawyers have filed the first brief in their appeal of a ruling that put the most controversial elements of Arizona’s new immigration law on hold.”

How the Ninth Circuit will decide this matter is unpredictable because although it is a mostly liberal Court, there are some conservative judges who may be among those selected to decide this case.  Whatever the Court decides, this case is headed for the U.S. Supreme Court where the issue of state immigration laws should be decided once and for all.  My two cents:  If immigration laws vary from one state to the next we as a nation will be shifting from the United to the Divided States of America.

This issue belongs in the hands of a responsible Court that can apply the laws of the land to the cold facts.  Immigration is more of an emotional issue than a rational one for many on either side of the debate.  One thing that being a lawyer and closely  following the politics related to immigration have taught me is that with most people, emotion trumps logic.

Please visit our firm’s websites at www.immigrantconnect.com and www.americaninvestorvisa.com and check out our page and become our fan on Facebook!