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Articles Posted in Immigration Applications

Religious Worker Immigrant Visa, Immigrant Investor Visa, Conrad State 30 Program for doctors

 On October 5, 2016, the U.S. Department of State (DOS) issued an extension on The Conrad State 30 Program, the EB-5 Regional Center (Immigrant Investor) Program, and the Special Immigrant Religious Worker Program (SR Visa)

Under the Conrad 30 Visa Waiver Program, each state’s health department can request J-1 Visa Waivers for up to 30 foreign physicians per year.  The program addressed the shortage of qualified doctors in federally designated health professional shortage areas or medically underserved areas.  Although each state has developed its own application rules and guidelines, the above program requirements apply to all J-1 medical doctors.

Typically, a foreign national who has accrued more than one hundred eighty (180) days but less than one year of unlawful presence is subject to a three (3) year bar from returning the US after a departure. A foreign national who has accrued more than one year of unlawful presence is typically subject to a ten (10) year bar from returning to the U.S. after a departure (commonly referred to as the “3/10 year bar”).  While a waiver of these bars remains available, applicants may only apply for this waiver from outside the US.  This process carried a very significant risk of being trapped outside of the US for months or even years pending the adjudication of the waiver.  Even worse, if the waiver application were to be denied, the applicant would be unable to return to the US for 3/10 years, depending upon the previous duration of unlawful presence.

As of March 4, 2013, immediate relatives[1] of US citizens were eligible to apply for the provisional unlawful presence waiver (“601A waiver”) to request that USCIS grant a provisional waiver of these grounds of inadmissibility before departing the United States for consular processing of their immigrant visas— rather than applying for a waiver abroad after their immigrant visa interviews.  This provided applicants with a significant degree of certainty that they would be eligible to return to the US after their interview because the Applicant would already know if their waiver had been granted prior to departing the US.  If the 601A waiver were denied, most Applicants would simply remain in the US.  In practice, while many Applicants were able to make use of the 601A Waiver to reenter, there remained a modicum of danger, as US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) ultimately determines admissibility at the time of entry.  In addition, this iteration of the 601A left out many otherwise qualified individuals, such as immediate relatives of legal permanent residents (LPR).

On July 29, 2016, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced a final rule, to expand the class of individuals who may be eligible for a provisional waiver of certain grounds of inadmissibility based on the accrual of unlawful presence in the United States.  The final rule is to take effect on August 29, 2016.

Over the weekend, immigration officials stayed true to their word and began their next phase of immigration law enforcement against Central American nationals who have received a final order of removal from an immigration judge in recent years.

While immigration officials claim they are only looking to find and remove families from Central America who have had their chance to present their case in court and received a “final order of removal” dated January 1, 2014 or later, it remains to be seen whether this will be the case. In fact, for individuals with removal orders in absentia, they may have never even stepped foot into the courtroom. Many of these families are fleeing the continuing violence and economic ruin of countries such as El Salvador, Honduras, and Guatemala.

Although few details have been released regarding the execution of enforcement actions, immigration officers executed removal orders over the weekend which resulted in the arrest and detention of 121 Central American mothers and their children. These raids were targeted against families at their known addresses. These raids seem to have served little purpose than to sow fear in our communities and cause further harm to immigrants who are already fleeing unprecedented violence and persecution in their home countries.

NIW applicationsA national interest waiver (NIW) petition is an alternative to the more common way of obtaining permanent resident status through employer sponsorship. It falls under the employment-based immigration EB-2 category. National Interest Waivers have several advantages:

  • They allow applicants to waive the labor certification
  • No job offer is required
  • Applicants may self-petition, rather than rely on an employer to apply on their behalf
  • The NIW approval process is a relatively speedy process

However, National Interest Waivers have become much more difficult to obtain since the landmark New York State Department of Transportation case of 1998. In that case, three general requirements were laid out regarding approval of NIW applications: the applicant must seek work in an area of substantial intrinsic merit, the applicant’s work must be national in scope, and the benefits of the applicant’s work must outweigh the national interest of U.S. workers currently involved in the labor certification process.

Area of Substantial Intrinsic Merit

Immigration Fraud LawyerThe immigration attorneys at Lubiner, Schmidt & Palumbo know that the United States has seen an explosion in Chinese immigration in the past decade. This immigration trend is especially prevalent in New York City where the foreign-born Chinese population grew by a third between 2000 and 2011. According to the New York Times, the Chinese immigrant population in New York City is poised to overtake Dominicans as the city’s largest immigrant group.

As the Chinese immigrant population grows, New York City has seen a corresponding increase in Chinese immigrants who are seeking asylum as a means to stay in the United States permanently. In fact, over the past six years, about half of all Chinese immigrant applications for asylum nationwide were filed in New York City.

With this explosion in asylum petitions come allegations that asylum fraud — condoned and even fostered by lawyers, paralegals, and interpreters — has become a veritable industry among the Chinese immigrant population in Chinatown, as well as in Chinese communities in Flushing, Queens, and Sunset Park, Brooklyn.

NJ Immigration AttorneyAt the law firm of Lubiner, Schmidt & Palumbo, LLC we practice immigration law and represent not only small and large businesses, but individuals, as well. If you are dealing with immigration as an individual, the process can be daunting and fraught with obstacles and surprises.

When looking for an immigration attorney, we suggest that you ask your potential counsel some important questions, such as:

What is your experience with immigration law?

If you were granted deferred action for childhood arrivals (DACA) by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement or are a DACA recipient with an employment authorization document (EAD) that will expire in the next 120 days, you must apply for DACA renewal to avoid any lapse in your employment authorization or accrual of unlawful presence in the United States.

If your previous period of deferred action expires before you receive a renewal of deferred action under DACA, you will accrue unlawful presence and will not be authorized to work for any time between the periods of deferred action.

The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has recently posted a notice on its website reminding DACA recipients of the above consequences of failing to submit a request for renewal 120 days before the current period of deferred action expires.

New Jersey Immigration LawyerMany employment based immigrants are exploring the possibility of converting their immigrant visa applications from EB-3 (employment based third category) to EB-2 (employment based second category).

This is due to the lengthy waiting time under the EB-3 category as compared to the EB-2 category. It is projected that the waiting time will not change in the near future.

As per the Visa Bulletin, there is currently a five year waiting time for those with approved immigrant petitions under EB-3 to apply for permanent residency. For those born in China and India, the wait times are longer at 7 years and 9 ½ years, respectively. Meanwhile, the Visa Bulletin shows only a two-year waiting time in the EB-2 category for those born in India and China – and no waiting time for those born in any other country.

The United States Congress established a very complicated system for issuing immigrant visas. Each month the Department of State in Washington, DC prints a visa bulletin, which lists the availability of visas for every country for that particular month. Only a limited number of immigrant visas are generally issued each year. This limitation is called the “quota” and is based on an alien’s country of birth.

For example, an individual born in India is eligible for one of the visas allocated to that country. If that same Indian citizen has become a citizen of another country, for example Canada, he or she is still subject to the Indian quota. This is because our quota system is based on the alien’s country of birth, not the country of citizenship.

The country quota under which an applicant must apply for an immigrant visa is commonly referred to as the alien’s “chargeability”. There are four exceptions to chargeability by place of birth. These exceptions are known as “cross-chargeability”.

U.S. non-citizens are frequently targeted by scam artists who want to extract money and compromising information from them.

The offers of scam artists may sound enticing, and in your desire to save money or take a shortcut in an application process, you may believe their assertions. It's crucial to remain vigilant and skeptical, always asking questions and double-checking any claim. Falling prey to a scam can mean that you'll lose money, experience setbacks in your efforts to remain in the U.S., and, in some cases, face criminal charges and deportation.

False websites. One common scam run by criminals is to set up a website that resembles an actual government website. From there, they may try to get you to submit forms with sensitive information and pay various fees. Make certain that you're on a legitimate U.S. government website; always double-check the URL.

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