Tag: permanent residents

Skill Level for Immigration has effect on Wait Time

On December 5, 2011, in Immigration, by John A. Weber IV, ESQ.

Highly Skilled Immigrants

(Information for the following article was obtained from NY Times, November 30, 2011, Highly Skilled Immigrants May Wait Less for Visas, by Julia Preston)

The House of Representatives last week passed a bill that will make it easier for highly skilled immigrants from India and China to become legal permanent residents.  The bill will reduce visa backlogs which are often seen as a huge impediment for visa petitioners who sometimes had wait times of decades before they would receive their documents.  The bill eliminates limits on the number of green cards based on employment that is available annually to each country.  Currently, 140,000 green cards are available each year for immigrants based on their job skills, with each country limited to 7 percent of those visas.  Under the bill, after a 3 year transition, all employment-based green cards will be issued on a first come first serve basis, with no country limits.

The bill also includes measures that will more than double the green cards available for Mexicans and Filipinos, the two national groups facing the longest backlogs on the family side of the system.  It will raise the country limit for 226,000 family green cards each year to 15 percent from the current 7 percent.

Many of the highly skilled immigrants from India and China will have master’s degrees and doctorates in science and engineering.  The immigrants and their employers have passed labor market tests showing that qualified Americans were not available for the jobs they hold.  This will be a boon to American technology companies who have been anxiously awaiting Congress working with them to offer more green cards for their foreign employees.

As always, for all of your immigration questions and needs, we here at the Law Firm of Vaughn, Weber & Prakope, PLLC can be of assistance.  Please feel free to contact us at (516) 858-2620 or visit our website at www.vaughnweberlaw.com.

Investor Visa Options

On December 1, 2011, in Immigration, by John A. Weber IV, ESQ.

Investor Visa Options under EB-5

The EB-5 visa is a federal program aimed at immigrant investors.  Created by the Immigration Act of 1990, the visa provides immigrants the opportunity to obtain a green card for foreign nationals who invest money in the United States.  Individuals who can invest $1,000,000 or at least $500,000 in a targeted employment area while creating or preserving at least 10 jobs for U.S. workers may be granted the EB-5 visa.

A foreign national whose petition is approved will be granted conditional permanent residence valid for two years.  The investor must provide evidence documenting the full investment and or jobs created and must be submitted in a timely fashion.

In 1992, Congress created a temporary pilot program designed to stimulate economic activity and job growth, while allowing eligible aliens the opportunity to become lawful permanent residents. Under this program, foreign nationals may invest in a pre-approved regional center, or “economic unit, public or private, which is involved with the promotion of economic growth, including increased export sales, improved regional productivity, job creation, or increased domestic capital investment.” Investments within a regional center provide foreign nationals the added benefit of allowing them to count jobs created both directly and indirectly for purposes of meeting the 10 job creation requirement.

The Startup Visa Act (projected EB-6 visa), introduced in Congress in 2010 and subsequently in 2011, is planning to use unallocated numbers from the EB-5 visa.

The program is limited to 10,000 visas annually. Potential Immigrant Investors are trading a preferred immigration status for a $500,000 investment and job creation in a rural area or a community with high unemployment.

The foreigner must invest the money in a United States enterprise that has received preliminary approval from U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). After a background check, the immigrant makes the investment and applies for a conditional green card, good for two years. If the investment meets program guidelines, the temporary green card is replaced by a permanent one.

The program’s beneficiaries not only include the Immigrant Investor but also economically depressed areas of the United States where there is desperate need of job creation.  The Law Firm of Vaughn, Weber & Prakope, PLLC can assist with the EB-5 visa as well as all other immigration needs.

Immigration Options for Battered Spouses

On August 2, 2011, in Family Law, Immigration, by John A. Weber IV, ESQ.

Immigration Options for Battered Spouses

Generally, U.S. citizens (USC) and Lawful Permanent Residents (LPRs) file an immigrant visa petition with the Bureau of Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) on behalf of a spouse or child, so that these family members may emigrate to or remain in the United States. The Petition for Alien Relative is filed by the USC/LPR, the petitioner, on behalf of the family member who is the beneficiary. The petitioner controls when or if the petition is filed. Unfortunately, some U.S. citizens and LPRs misuse their control of this process to abuse their family members, or by threatening to report them to USCIS . As a result, most battered immigrants are afraid to report the abuse to the police or other authorities. Immigration history protects persons whom are being beaten by their spouses.

Under the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) passed by Congress in 1994, the spouses and children of United States citizens or lawful permanent residents (LPR) may self-petition to obtain lawful permanent residency. The immigration provisions of VAWA allow certain battered immigrants to file for immigration relief without the abuser’s assistance or knowledge, in order to seek safety and independence from the abuser. Victims of domestic violence should know that help is available to them through the National Domestic Violence Hotline on 1-800-799-7233 or 1-800-787-3224 [TDD] for information about shelters, mental health care, legal advice and other types of assistance, including information about self-petitioning for immigration status.

The Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) is the law that governs immigration in the United States. The Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) provisions relating to immigration are codified in section 204(a) of the INA. Rules published in the Federal Register explain the eligibility requirements and procedures for filing a self-petition under the VAWA provisions. These rules can be found in the Code of Federal Regulations at 8 CFR § 204. The Battered Immigrant Women Protection Act of 2000 (BIWPA) made significant amendments to section 204(a) of the INA.

As always, if you have any questions, please feel free to call us at (516) 858-2620 to speak to an immigration attorney! The Law Firm of Vaughn, Weber & Prakope, PLLC will be glad to be of assistance in any Immigration matters you may have.

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