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San Jose California Immigration Law Blog

Delays in family immigration frustrate loved ones

When a couple gets married, they expect to spend the rest of their life living with one another. Many California residents who have married individuals from foreign countries impacted by the president's travel ban in effect since December 2017 have yet to fulfill this dream however. It is not just spouses who are living in limbo because of it, but also siblings, children and parents who were legally going to join family members through family immigration.

According to some estimates, more than 10,000 people have been kept from joining their loved ones in America since the ban took effect. Waivers or exceptions are created for those applicants who are determined by a counselor officer to satisfy all requirements and complete all processing. The Presidential Proclamation contains the waiver qualifications, including those for both immigration and non-immigration purposes. From this pool of tens of thousands of people, less than 2700 applicants had been cleared as of earlier this year.

Is my immigration status affected by criminal convictions?

When someone has finally received their Green Card and is peacefully residing in California or another state, they may believe their path to immigration is clear. Unfortunately, this is not always the case for everyone. What many do not know is that it is possible to be forcibly removed from America for violating either an immigration or criminal law. If an individual is deported, he or she may not be able to ever return to the country, even as a visitor.

Committing an aggravated felony, getting convicted of a non-felony crime or a crime involving moral turpitude can carry serious penalties for permanent residents. An aggravated felony for the purpose of immigration law is different from that in criminal law, and can even include crimes that are generally considered misdemeanors. While previously only serious crimes such as murder and drug trafficking were included in this list, now theft, filing a fraudulent tax return and a failure to appear in court can also become deportable offenses.

How has the H1B visa application and qualification changed?

The last few years have brought important changes to employment-based visas into America. An H1B visa is especially popular in foreigners, as they can transition from working in the country to becoming a legal resident. The United States Citizenship and Immigration Service opens 65,000 such visas every year in the beginning of April and the visa allocation is often exhausted within the first week. While foreigners use this path to becoming a lawful citizen of the country, there is no doubt their numerous contributions to the society have advanced the country immensely.

It might come as a surprise to California residents that first or second-generation immigrants founded nearly half of Fortune 500 companies. The top 10 employers of H1B visa holders are tech giants Amazon, Google, Microsoft and Intel. Given their contribution to the vitality of the economy, it would seem that policies would be introduced to support the H1B visa, but this is not the case.

What do changes in the USCIS mean to your business?

Since early 2017, the current administration has made things harder for potential immigrants and the people looking to hire them. Recent changes and proposals may complicate things even more.

The U.S. Citizen and Immigration Services have announced several big changes in recent months, including the appointment of a new acting head. While the ramifications of that appointment are still unclear, employers and potential immigrants will want to note the recent list of DHS regulatory changes.

Achieve your immigration objective with our help

Immigration into the country has become more difficult over the last few years, even for those who are coming to reunite with their family members or begin new employment opportunities. This can be frustrating, as it delays plans to fulfill one's dream or begin a new chapter of one's life. It can seem as if no one understands how complicated the immigration system is and no amount of paperwork can ever be enough.

At the Law Offices of Sweta Khandelwal, we understand what is at stake for people looking to relocate to America and we partner with them to ensure their immigration objectives are fulfilled. One size does not fit all in immigration, and we work with our clients to give them the personalized and customized solution that works for them.

Why do employers need a labor certification?

Last week's post discussed the importance of a Green Card, a document that entitles the holder to work and reside legally in the United States. There are several ways of getting a Green Card, including through family relationship or special categories such as asylum-seekers and crime victims. One of the most common methods is by becoming employed in the country.

A labor certification is essential for getting Green Card through employment. A labor certification requires an American employer to demonstrate that there are no qualified or minimally qualified workers in the country to perform the job for which the individual in question is getting hired. The person must be hired as a full-time employee in a permanent position. The employer must specify reasonable educational and experience qualifications for the job in question. They cannot seem to be made specifically for the relevant employee.

What is a Green Card?

California is a state of diversity, with people of many nationalities coming there to fulfill their dreams. This is why many may have heard the term 'green card holder' when conversing with someone, but may not be aware of what the term really means. A Green Card Holder, also known as a permanent resident, is legally allowed to work and reside permanently in America. Depending on one's circumstances, a Green Card holder can be eligible to apply for citizenship in three or five years.

There are many categories of green card holders. While many get them due to their familial ties with American citizens, workers from other countries also get green cards that are sponsored by their employers. Within these categories, certain statuses get priority. For example, spouses and children may have a higher priority to receive a green card than siblings. Similarly, workers with extraordinary ability in the sciences or arts or multinational managers and executives may have priority over unskilled workers.

Immigration courts backlog stalls thousands of cases

The number of immigration cases clogging up the courts is unprecedented, according to the American Bar Association. In their recent report, they have issued the warning that the one million case backlog is causing an existential crisis. This number was at 262,000 in 2010 compared to 760,000 at the end of the 2018 financial year.

California residents might be surprised to hear that the group has claimed the court system is set to collapse if changes are not made quickly. The ABA is calling for a court system similar to the Tax Courts. An Article I court system would be independent from the Justice Department. This move is opposed by the Justice Department though, claiming it would cause more delays as financial hurdles to do so might be insurmountable. A spokesperson went on to say that the number of cases completed had increased for a third consecutive year and steps were being taken to restore the efficiency and impartiality of the court systems.

The increase of H-1B denials suggests a new standard of proof

A recent report from the National Foundation for American Policy (NFAP) explores a dramatic rise in the denial of H-1B petitions. Because this increased denial rate comes without changes in the law or regulations, it may also serve as evidence that U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) have unfairly adopted a new, higher standard of proof.

A number of employers have already filed lawsuits against USCIS, arguing that the government has effectively rewritten the rules without changes to the laws or regulations that would justify their actions. However, the lawsuits are unlikely to change their hiring situations anytime soon.

Employment based visas harder to come by for tech workers

Despite stricter immigration policies in the last couple of years, major tech companies have continued to hire foreign tech workers. Demand for international workers remained high, and 80 percent of employers surveyed expected their headcount of foreign workers to either stay the same, or increase, even as employment based visa become more difficult to come by.

California residents may know that H-1B visas are high-skilled work visas. American companies who claim they are in need of specialized labor that is not available in the country back those who receive this category of visa. Generally, this includes a lot of tech workers. American companies state that they hiring international labor because of a lack of pertinent science education in the country-the number of STEM job openings is more than the number of unemployed STEM workers, according to research.

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