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Employment-based green cards

An immigrant may be eligible for permanent resident status if he or she has been offered a job in the United States.

Florina Filofteia Apostol | Jan 11, 2020

Do I Always Need a Healthcare VisaScreen Certificate?

You Do Require a Healthcare Visa Screen Certificate If: I. You are a foreign national whose primary purpose is to work in the U.S. in the following clinical healthcare occupations: 1. Nurses (Registered Nurses, Licensed Practical Nurses, and Licensed Vocational Nurses); 2. Physical Therapists; 3. Occupational Therapists; 4. Speech Language Pathologists and Audiologists; 5. Medical Technologists (Clinical Laboratory Scientists); 6. Medical Technicians (Clinical Laboratory Technicians); and 7. Physician Assistants II. You are one of the healthcare professionals listed above and a PRINCIPAL of any immigrant visa. III. You are one of the healthcare professionals listed above, coming to the U.S. as a PRINCIPAL on any nonimmigrant visa BUT NOT to receive training as an H-3 nonimmigrant, F-1 foreign student or J-1 exchange visitor. For instance, if you seek entry to the United States as a healthcare professional on any visas such as H-1B, E-3, TN, etc., you do require a healthcare Visa Screen Certificate. You Do Not Require a Healthcare Visa Screen Certificate If: I. You are a Physician II. You seek admission to the United States to perform services in non-clinical health care occupation. A non-clinical care occupation is one in which the alien is NOT required to perform direct or indirect patient care. Some of the occupations that are considered non-clinical care occupations are Medical Teachers, Medical Researchers, Manager of Healthcare Facilities. III. You are coming to the U.S. to receive training as an H-3 nonimmigrant, F-1 foreign student or J-1 exchange visitor. IV. You are the spouse and dependent children of any immigrant or nonimmigrant alien. For instance, if you are a Registered Nurse and seek entry to the United States as a spouse of a L or E visa holder, you do not need a healthcare Visa Screen Certificate. Similarly, if you are, for example, an Occupational Therapist and seek entry to the United States as a dependent of a Principal immigrant visa, you do not require a healthcare Visa Screen Certificate to enter and work in the United States. However, if you are a Physical Therapist and seek entry as a spouse or dependent children of any immigrant or nonimmigrant, you MAY still require a FCCPT Type I for licensure purposes if you wish to work in one of the following states: California, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Nebraska, New Mexico, North Dakota, Tennessee, Utah, Washington D.C. V. You are any alien applying for adjustment of status to that of a permanent resident under any provision of law other than INA §245, any family-based adjustment of status applicant, or any employment based adjustment of status applicant for employment that does not fall under one of the covered healthcare occupations.

Carl Michael Shusterman | Jun 14, 2019

Philippines EB-3 Will Become Current In July Great News For Filipino Nurses & Other Professionals

Advice for Filipino Professionals Unless you are a registered nurse or a physical therapist, your employer will have to obtain the approval of a PERM application in order to sponsor you for a green card. Only when the PERM application is approved can your employer file an EB-3 visa petition (form I-140) for you. You should make sure that your employer files an EB-3 visa petition for you as soon as possible. If you are lawfully present in the U.S., get ready to file your I-485 packet in July even if your I-140 is still pending. If you are working abroad, this is the perfect time to find an employer in the U.S. to sponsor you. As soon as the I-140 is approved, forward the appropriate documents to the National Visa Center so that you and your family can receive a green card interview as soon as possible. It is highly recommended that you retain an experienced immigration attorney to represent you. Filipino Registered Nurses Back in September 2015, the wait for an RN born in the Philippines to get a green card in the U.S. was more than 10 years. My wife who immigrated to the U.S. from the Philippines in the 1960s used to advise her RN nieces to immigrate to Canada since the wait there was much shorter. No more! During the past couple of years, the waiting time in the employment-based 3rd category (EB-3) has shrunk from 7 years to 7 months. Now, in July 2019, EB-3 Philippines will be “current” meaning no waiting time at all. This news is especially good for registered nurses since health care employers in the U.S. can sponsor RNs for green cards without the necessity of advertising the job and going through the months-long PERM process. However, it is required that nurses pass the NCLEX examination and obtain a VisaScreen Certificate before being able to immigrate to the U.S. We offer free consultations for nurses looking for jobs and green cards. Our law firm has immigrated over 10,000 RNs to the U.S. over the past 30+ years, most of them from the Philippines. We represent hundreds of hospitals and other health care providers across the U.S., and most of them are not only sponsoring RNs for green cards, but paying their attorney fees as well. Other Filipino Professionals But, it’s not just nurses. Other Filipino professionals will also benefit from the EB-3 category becoming current including (but not limited to): Physical Therapists Occupational Therapists Clinical Laboratory Technologists Accountants IT Professionals Engineers Architects Licensed Vocational Nurses And Many More Occupations!!!

Carl Michael Shusterman | Aug 3, 2018

Immigration: How Employers Can Protect Themselves

Employers Are Walking a Tightrope Back in 1986 when employers were first saddled with the burden of completing I-9 forms, a Member of Congress had me and an Immigration Service official present a seminar for local business people regarding the new requirements. The INS official assured the crowd that completing a short form was a very routine requirement which would not unduly burden HR professionals. As a former INS prosecutor, I tended to be more skeptical. I warned employers that they were walking a tightrope. If they did not comply with I-9 requirements, they could face fines for paperwork violations and for hiring unauthorized workers. If they *over-complied*, they could be fined for document abuse and discrimination. Over the years, USCIS requirements for working in the US have grown increasingly complex, and few employers whose I-9s we have reviewed are in full compliance with the law. Many companies have been forced to pay multi-million dollar fines for hiring unauthorized workers. In 2015, before the fine amounts doubled, a California employer was fined over $600,000 simply for I-9 paperwork violations. Other employers have paid over $100,000 in document abuse and discrimination fines related to I-9s. How Your Company Can Survive an I-9 Audit I-9 forms must be retained for 3 years after an employee is hired, or 1 year after his employment ceases, whichever comes later. As a practical matter, your company may be storing I-9 forms which were completed many years ago. What if some of the forms for existing employees are defective? Fortunately, DHS rules allow you to correct these, and if you do so before you receive a notice that your I-9 forms are being audited, each mistake that you correct can save you hundreds, or even thousands, of dollars in fines. Therefore, I recommend that you conduct an internal audit of all your I-9 forms. It is a good idea to hire an experienced immigration attorney to help you. In my experience, the attorney fees that you pay are usually only a small fraction of the potential fines that you will save in the event that you are audited. Also, there are a lot of free materials online which have the potential to save your company many thousands of dollars. I strongly recommend Human Resources Managers become familiar with the new USCIS Handbook for Employers. It has a section answering frequently-asked questions which is very helpful. My short article in Recruiting Trends magazine Can Your Company Survive An I-9 Audit is a good place to start. You may also want to watch my videos on this subject. The Employers Immigration Guide on our website links to each of the above-referenced materials as well as to I-9 Central (USCIS) and to a variety of other free resources. Finally, you may want to sign-up for the government*s E-Verify Program. Our law firm did so over a decade ago as did many of our corporate clients. E-Verify is a free Internet-based system which allows employers to verify the eligibility of employees to work in the US. Though E-verify is far from perfect, I expect that it will become mandatory for most employers in the near future.

Namita Agarwal | Jun 5, 2017

Employment Based Residency, Generally

Generally The United States has an employment preference system that allows certain immigrants to apply for U.S. permanent residency. Categories 2 and 3 require a job offer before you may proceed. The employment preference system is as follows: EB-1 Priority Workers Foreign nationals of extraordinary ability in the sciences, arts, education, business or athletics, which has been demonstrated by sustained national or international acclaim and whose achievements have been recognized in the field through extensive documentation. Foreign nationals who are outstanding professors or researchers; Foreign nationals who are managers and executives subject to international transfer to the United States AND must have a job offer. EB 2 - Professionals with Advanced Degrees or Persons with Exceptional Ability Foreign nationals of exceptional ability in the sciences, arts or business; Foreign nationals that are advanced degree professionals, and Qualified alien physicians who will practice medicine in an area of the U.S., which is under-served. NOTE: A National Interest Waiver is available to waive the requirement that you have a job offer if such a waiver would be in the national interest. EB 3 - Bachelor's Degree/Skilled Workers Professionals with a baccalaureate degree (or foreign equivalent degree but not necessarily any experience); Aliens with at minimum two years of experience as skilled workers Other workers (unskilled workers) requiring less than two years of training or experience. EB-4 Religious Workers To qualify as an EB-4 special immigrant religious worker, you must be a member of a religious denomination that has a non-profit religious organization in the United States for at minimum two years before applying for admission to the United States. Furthermore, you must be entering the United States to work: As a minister or priest of the religious denomination; In a religious vocation or occupation either in a professional or nonprofessional capacity for the religious organization; or In a religious vocation or occupation for the religious organization or its nonprofit affiliate. EB-5 Investment Visas An alien entrepreneur may seek immigrant status if he or she seeks to establish a new commercial enterprise: That the alien has established; In which the alien has either invested, or is in the process of investing $1,000,000 (or $500,000 for target employment areas); and Which will benefit the United States economy and create ten full-time employment positions for United States citizens or lawful permanent residents (other than the spouse, daughter or son of the alien investor).

Irina Lust | May 31, 2017


Domestic Workers Accompanying Travelers When a parent ordinarily lives outside of the country and plans to travel to the United States for a limited period of time, a B-1 visa may be the best option for having a nanny accompany the traveler on that trip. A B-1 visa authorizes a visitor to enter the United States temporarily for a business purpose. In this case, the business purpose would be to provide childcare or other services to the traveler. A B-1 visa may be available if the nanny's employer is: o a United States citizen who lives abroad permanently, or is stationed abroad in connection with government or military service, and will be returning to the United States for a visit or temporary assignment; or o a citizen of another country who is entering the United States with a nonimmigrant visa. In addition to a nanny, the employer can ask for a B-1 visa to have other kinds of family helpers accompany the employer, including eldercare companions, cooks, and maids. To obtain a B-1 visa for a family helper, the employer will need to enter into an employment contract with the helper that includes specific terms. Many of those terms (such as a guarantee that the employer will not withhold the helper's passport) are intended to protect the helper from exploitation. An immigration lawyer can make sure an appropriate employment contract is in place. The nanny will generally need to submit a visa application and attend an interview at a U.S. Embassy or Consulate. The B-1 visa is usually issued for 6 months but it can be extended. Domestic Workers for U.S. Residents Residents of the United States have a few options if they want to hire a nanny from another country. An immigration attorney can help families decide which option is best for their situation. EB-3 Visa One popular option is to sponsor the foreign resident for an EB-3 immigration visa. The EB-3 Green Card allows skilled workers to live and work in the United States. The process of obtaining an EB-3 visa has been simplified by the Program Electronic Review Management (PERM) program, administered by the Department of Labor. Nannies are categorized as skilled workers by the PERM program. To apply for PERM, they must have: o a job offer for a full-time, permanent position in the United States, and o qualifications for the position, as certified by the Department of Labor. To qualify for certification, nannies need to have at least 2 years of relevant experience or training. Nannies may need to satisfy the Department of Labor that they are proficient in: o Administering CPR o Recognizing symptoms of illness o Assuring that the child's environment is safe o Assuring that the child receives nutritional meals o Organizing age-appropriate activities for the child o Administering appropriate discipline o Communicating clearly with the child The nanny's employer will need to demonstrate that no qualified workers for the position are available in the United States. That demonstration may require employers to prove that they advertised for the position, placed job orders with state employment agencies, and took other unsuccessful steps to find a qualified nanny in the United States before making a job offer to a nanny from another country. An EB-3 visa is most likely to be issued when an employer has kept careful records of the steps taken to find a nanny in the United States, and when the job is offered to someone who has records establishing the necessary training or experience. An immigration attorney can help families assemble the information needed to maximize the opportunity to obtain an EB-3 visa. H-2B Visa An H-2B visa is available for temporary, nonagricultural workers. Like the EB-3 visa, an employer must satisfy the government that United States residents are not available to fill the position before an H-2B visa will be issued. Unlike the EB-3 visa, the H-2B visa does not entitle the nanny to permanent residence. An H-2B visa is typically issued for one year. It can be extended, but not for longer than 3 years. The employer must pay wages that equal the prevailing market rate for nannies. There is a cap on the number of H-2B visas the government can issue each year, and residents of some countries are not eligible. Unlike the J-1 visa discussed below, the H-2B visa does not require the employer to go through a host sponsor. The H-2B visa is a good choices for parents who have already identified the nanny they want to hire, but do not want to sponsor the nanny as a permanent resident. J-1 Visa A more expensive option is to seek a J-1 visa. The J-1 program allows nonimmigrant visitors to engage in a work-study experience in the United States. Unlike the options discussed above, the host family does not need to prove that local nannies are unavailable. The J-1 Au Pair program allows host families to sponsor a foreign resident who will provide au pair services to the family for one year with an option to extend for up to another year. To be eligible, the au pair must be: o fluent in English; o a high school graduate (or equivalent); o between 18-26 years old; o physically capable of performing the job; o personally interviewed, in English, by the program sponsor; and o able to pass a background investigation that includes psychometric testing. The au pair can provide up to 45 hours of childcare per week. The au pair must also attend and complete at least 12 semester hours of post-secondary education during the first year, and additional coursework if the contract is extended. Whether to extend the au pair's stay after the first year is up to the host family. The family typically pays $500 toward the cost of the au pair's coursework (or the full cost if it is less than $500) for each year of participation. The host family also pays weekly wages to the au pair (typically $250 to $450 per week) and must pay the program sponsor for its services (typically between $7,500 and $12,500). The program sponsor trains and orients the au pair and screens potential host families. The host family must provide the au pair with a private room and three meals per day. Getting Advice Which of these options is best will depend on a family's circumstances and needs, as well as the availability of each kind of visa. Consultation with an immigration lawyer will help a family decide which approach to take in bringing a nanny from another country to the United States.

Daniel A Palugyai | Mar 19, 2017

Getting Into the United States under the new International Entrepreneur Rule

What's the Big Idea? You've got this great idea. Maybe you've even got a company that's been working on it less than five years. If it's destined to be a money-maker and a jobs-maker and improve lives, then there's no where better to ramp it up and take it to the next level than the United States. We're home to the world's greatest companies and it's not a coincidence- this is the place to be, where big dreams and hard work are handsomely rewarded. Show Me The Money If you can find U.S.-based money, you're well on your way. It's got to come from an investor with a track record of doing these kinds of deals. This investor has to be a U.S. citizen, legal permanent resident, or U.S.-majority-owned-or-operated company. And if they're in the private sector then they should be investing US$250,000.00. If it's a government group, they should be investing US$100,000.00. Hitting Your Targets On top of the numbers covered above, your start-up's got to be good enough to create 5 jobs in the U.S. You've got some time, though, to get things growing. Once you're in, if you show some progress during the first 30 months, then you get another 30 months to keep growing. And even if you've got a little less investment money or jobs created than you're supposed to, it's ok. The government will consider any other evidence of potential for business growth, job creation, and public benefit to qualify. And you can bring your spouse to join and to work in the U.S. Unmarried kids can join too. Why I Personally Love This Regulation My prediction is this opportunity is poised for growth. This might seem bold to say given that entry under lots of immigration categories is shrinking under the new administration. But this rule's different and here's why. This thing was made with tech in mind. I know because I'm the one who drafted the first legislation in the U.S. Congress that got this whole thing started almost a decade ago. The bill went nowhere fast thanks to politics. But great ideas never go away so Obama snuck it in as a regulation right before leaving office. It's supposed to start July 2017 but Trump's got a 3-month delay on new regs so we're looking at October. Speaking of the president, he's got a ton of tech giants closely advising him at his request. In other words, this president shares his predecessor's belief that tech can grow our economy and this International Entrepreneur Rule fits right in that mold. It'll take some time but this'll eventually become a formal visa category. In the meantime, we're expecting almost 3,000 slots to fill with few people even knowing this exists, so the time is now to start planning to take advantage and be one of the first ones to make it in.

Mohammad A Syed | Feb 22, 2017

The H-1B Visa and the Employment based Green Card: Explaining the Difference

The H-1B Visa and the Employment based Green Card: Explaining the Difference There is often some confusion among employers and employees alike regarding the criteria for the two programs, which unfortunately can sometimes result in failing to utilize them. Part of the motivation to write this article is the fact that most H-1B petitions must be filed in the first week of April 2017, which is coming up soon. The other reason is to provide a clear and concise explanation to employers and employees so that they can utilize the program that best suits them and not shy away from them because they have not understood the programs fully. Don't forget the April 2017 deadline for H-1B applications! You must be ready Employers who have their eyes set on new workers or need to file an H-1B petition for current workers will need to have their paperwork finalized and ready for submission well before the April deadline. Filing is only permitted between April 3rd and April 7th and that is for 2018 entry. In recent years the cap of 65,000 is filled very quickly. USCIS is expected to keep the filing open until the closing date and then use a random lottery to select those petitions that go on to the processing and adjudication stage. The H-1B Employment Visa H1BThe basic criteria for a H-1B employees is detailed in guidance issued by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS):[1] Requirement 1 - You must have an employer-employee relationship with the petitioning U.S. employer. Requirement 2 - Your job must qualify as a specialty occupation by meeting certain specified criteria. Requirement 3 - Your job must be in a specialty occupation related to your field of study. Requirement 4 - You must be paid at least the actual or prevailing wage for your occupation, whichever is higher. Requirement 5 - An H-1B visa number must be available at the time of filing the petition, unless the petition is exempt from numerical limits. An H-1B visa holder is allowed to also pursue a permanent residence application while in valid H status. The H-1B visa is what is known as a "dual-intent" visa because it is one of the few temporary visas that can be held while a person applies for permanent residency. This is in contrast to some other visa categories, such as the B-1/B-2 visitor visa, which does not allow a person to enter the United States with the intent of becoming a permanent resident. Who can apply for the H-1B visa? The applicant must be a well-qualified person who has been offered a job in the United States for a term of three years or less at the outset. If the visa is granted, it can be extended for a further three years if the employer still requires the visa holder's services at that stage. The types of jobs that can qualify for an H-1B visa are quite broad and include those in the following fields: sciences and mathematics, information technology, engineering, architecture, medicine, business and accounting, theology and the arts, education, the law, and other fields. The H-1B annual lottery Each year, there is a cap on the number of people who may be granted am H-1B visa. In the last few years, the cap was immediately met on the first day. The cap at present is 65,000 a year, although this might change with the incoming Trump administration. The actual number of H-1B visas issued each year tends to be a lot higher than 65,000, as people who work at universities, non-profit research centers and government research centers are not included in the cap. In addition, the first 20,000 applicants who already hold U.S. master's degrees or higher are also not subject to the cap. To participate in the H-1B visa lottery, applications must be submitted during the first week of April for employment start dates in the following October. An employer must obtain approval of what is known as the Labor Condition Application, or LCA, from the Department of Labor (DOL). This verifies that the employer is offering the H-1B worker during the period of authorized employment wages that are at least the actual wage level paid by the employer to all other individuals with similar experience and qualifications for the specific employment in question, or the prevailing wage level for the occupational classification in the area of employment, whichever is greater, based on the best information available as of the time of filing the application. Processing times As long as there is sufficient preparation time before the April 2017 filing deadline, H-1B applications can be submitted and processed in a matter of weeks. This is much quicker and less time consuming than a traditional employment based green card application. Once the employer and employee agree that they would like to pursue an H-1B visa application, the attorney needs some time to complete the LCA electronic filing. The approval of the LCA can take 10-15 days, though it can happen sooner. Then the attorney prepares and files the I-129 form with the H petition supporting documents. Applicants requesting expedited processing by USCIS can pay an extra fee for "premium processing" and receive a two-week processing turn around. Therefore, the H-1B application can be prepared, filed and approved fairly quickly. This is in contrast to the employment based green card application, which can take months in preparation, filing and approval.