Archive for the ‘Legal Immigration’ Category

Thoughts on Parts of the Senate Immigration Bill

May 25th, 2013
posted by at 2:35 pm

By Murali Bashyam

1.  On Legal Immigration

Deep Thoughts on ImmigrationMany employment and family-based categories have had severe visa availability backlogs for quite some time.  In fact, in certain situations, permanent residency applications can easily take well over a decade.  The Senate Bill (s.744) addresses this issue by exempting derivative family-members, and some physicians and PhD holders, from the annual-limits for employment-based immigration.  The legislation would also allocate additional visa numbers to those foreign students who graduate with advanced degrees in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics.  These provisions will help clear the backlog and make employment-based permanent residency a faster process for intending immigrants.

The legislation will also have a significant impact on family-based immigration.  Right now, there are visa availability backlogs for Lawful Permanent Residents who want to sponsor their spouse for residency in the US.  Residency processing came sometimes take many years.  On the other hand, spouses of US citizens are classified as ‘immediate relatives’ and are not subject to these visa backlogs.  This bill would redefine ‘immediate relatives’ to include children and spouses of permanent residents, thus removing them from these numerical limitations and residency processing will be much faster, as it should be.

2.  On the H-1B Visa

Some of the provisions in the Senate legislation related to the H-1B professional worker category are good and others are bad.  On the positive side, the bill increases the regular H-1B cap from 65,000 to 110,000.  In addition, it would allow the Department of Homeland Security to increase the H-1B cap up to 180,000 depending on demand.  The legislation would also increase the Master’s cap from 20,000 to 25,000.

Another very favorable provision is allowing H-1B workers 60 days to transition between jobs.  Our currently law does not allow any transition time, which is unrealistic in our job market.  The bill will also allow certain spouses of H-1B visa holders to obtain work authorization, which again is an improvement over current laws.

Unfortunately, the bill also places some unnecessary burdens on employers who use the H-1B program.  For example, all employers would be required to test the US labor market before filing an H-1B application.  Under current law, only certain H-1B dependent employers (those whose workforce consists of a large number of H-1B workers) must test the labor market first.  In addition, the bill places severe penalties on H-1B dependent employers.  For example, employers with 50 or more employees would have to pay an additional fine of $5000 per sponsored worker if more than 30 percent of their workforce consists of H-1B workers.  This fine increases to $10,000 if their workforce consists of more than 50 percent of H-1B workers.  The bill also places an upper limit on how many H-1B workers a company can ultimately hire.  We believe that some of these provisions should be changed to make the H-1B program more ‘market-based’ instead of heavily regulated as is proposed by the current legislation.

We recently did a Webinar on the Senate Immigration Bill.  To view our powerpoint presentation, click HERE.

Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals

August 18th, 2012
posted by at 2:57 pm

By Pam Prather

It seems like a long time since we’ve had a positive change in immigration policy to report.  You may have heard by now about “Deferred Action” – a new type of immigration benefit.  It’s one that could be life-changing for many, many people. 

The title means that the Department of Homeland Security (under which the Citizenship and Immigration Service operates) will put off deportation of some undocumented immigrants who arrived in the United States as children. This has long been touted by immigration proponents as the only sensible and humane thing to do for young adults who had no control over the circumstances that led to their presence in the US. The benefits are similar in some aspects to the DREAM Act, which failed to pass the Senate in late 2010.

This is not an amnesty program, and does not provide a Green Card, Citizenship, or even lawful status.  It does provide a two-year EAD (Employment Authorization Document), which allows an indivdual to then apply for a Social Security number.  There are several requirements that must be met for an application to be approved. The applicant must be at least 15 years old, but less than 31 as of June 15, 2012.  He/she must have entered the US before their 16th birthday. They must have resided continuously in the US since June 15, 2007, although in some cases short trips abroad may be okay. They must be physically present in the US when they file, and when the policy was announced on June 15.

An applicant cannot have been convicted of a felony, and even some misdemeanors may be a deal-breaker.  Also, the applicant must be 1] in school; 2] graduated from high school; 3] obtained a GED; or 4] be an honorably discharged veteran.  The application for Deferred Action must include documentation that the above requirements have been met. Its filed with CIS forms I-812D, I-765, and I-765WS. The filing fee is $465.

Homeland Security has stated that information about the applicant and the applicant’s family will not be routinely shared with ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) for purposes of removal (deportation).  So although the risk involved is small, it must be carefully considered.

This is an amazing opportunity for hundreds of thousands of young people, so spread the word and call a lawyer!  Consulting a reputable immigration attorney will allow you to further understand what your risks might be, whether you meet the requirements, and how to document the requirements. There is currently no deadline for this program, but in all cases you must file before you turn 31.

Is Canada Winning the War for Talent?

June 25th, 2012
posted by at 11:06 pm

By Pam Prather

While the United States continues to struggle with immigration policy, Canada cements theirs. As we prolong the societal debate over whether we even WANT immigrants anymore, Canada opens wide its arms and assures them they do.

“Currently on an H1B Visa or otherwise working or studying in the United States?” asks canadavisa.com.

They openly recruit temporary US professional workers who no longer feel welcome in a country where it can easily take over ten years to get a Green Card, even for those who qualify for one of the strictly-defined immigrant categories.

Who can blame our northern neighbors for taking advantage of our labyrinthine of laws that wind their way through the Department of Labor, Department of State, and Department of Homeland Security?

Why wouldn’t they cash in on our confusion and indecision regarding immigration policies?

After all, they too have concerns about economic growth and ‘brain drain’. They too exert great effort in filling positions in the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) sector.

Studies show the average American believes that 39% of the U.S. population was born abroad. It’s actually 13% – just a little higher than Great Britain’s.  Canada’s current foreign-born population, on the other hand, is almost 20%. And they’re not alone. Australia’s political and popular culture was described as xenophobic less than two decades ago. Their population is now more than 25% foreign born.  They, coincidently, are enjoying economic growth and robust cultural diversity.

Bottom line, it looks like Canada is learning more from their southern neighbor’s mistakes, than America is from theirs.

 

Why Tech Needs Open Borders

April 28th, 2012
posted by at 7:31 pm
By Murali Bashyam

I recently read an article in Forbes where the author, Mr. Flip Filipowski, discussed immigration policy, the technology industry, and why it needs open borders.  We often write about smart immigration policy, and it doesn’t seem smart for the United States to restrict immigration of highly-skilled workers.

Mr. Filipowski, a technology-industry CEO himself, said the following:

At the other end of the spectrum, we have the technological and economic viability of the United States. Our prosperity is built on the renegade, risk-taking entrepreneurial concoction of truly American innovation and invention – in addition to the fact that a disproportionate number of companies are created by immigrants. In Silicon Valley alone, immigrant-founded startups make up a remarkable 52 percent of companies. Wave upon wave of immigrants bought into the American dream that anything was possible in the United Sates and anyone who put in the effort could succeed here. We were to own that one magical thought in perpetuity but instead we have exported it to the world not in a gesture of generosity but in the incompetence bred in fear of immigration. Perhaps even in the moronic fear of adding Democrats to the voting roles as these immigrants assimilate into our society. The real fear should be directed at the complacency that seems to permeate subsequent generations that believe entitlement comes with citizenship via birthright.

He is right!

I recently attended a Raleigh Chamber of Commerce meeting on immigration policy.

The CEO of SAS, Dr. Jim Goodnight, said at the Chamber meeting that finding talent with the right skill set in the U.S. is their biggest challenge.  Other CEOs at the meeting said the same thing.

Unfortunately, our education system is not graduating enough people with the skills necessary for today’s economy.  How could it?  Only two thirds of high school students graduate. Nearly 50% of college students drop out.

Filipowski continues:

As the land of opportunity drifts to other locations through our neglect and inept immigration policies even our own best talent will be at risk. Not infrequently do I hear the comment that “If I were just graduating I would seriously consider relocating to Beijing – Mumbai – Singapore – etc.” Let’s come to our senses and hang a welcome sign on the border:  Buy a house, start a business, become a citizen.

It is a myth that foreign workers take U.S. jobs.  Why would a U.S. company go through the expense, headache, and bureaucracy involved with hiring a foreign highly-skilled worker if the same worker can be found in the U.S.?

I agree with Mr. Filipowski.  Let’s make it easier for highly skilled workers to come to the U.S.  Let them buy a house, start a business, become a citizen, and contribute to our great country.

Visa Options for Foreign Athletes

February 5th, 2012
posted by at 4:11 pm

By Pam Prather

Basketball, Tennis, Hockey, Golf, Gymnastics….we American’s love sports, and sports mean competition. When it comes down to contests between the best of the best, nationality doesn’t matter.

Whether you’re a Swiss tennis player, a British football (a.k.a. soccer) player, or a Russian hockey player, at some point you’ll want to come to the U.S. to compete with the biggest names in your game.  Luckily, there are several visa options available to international sports figures.

For temporary (or “nonimmigrant”) visas, the following are possibilities.

The O-1 visa is for athletes of extraordinary ability, or those who have achieved “a level of expertise indicating that the person is one of the small percentage who have risen to the very top of the field of endeavor”.  The application for this visa must include documentation that the person has national or international acclaim, e.g. an Olympic medal for a Russian skater, a Wimbledon championship for Rafael Nadal, or a World Cup for David Beckham.

But do you really have to be at that level to qualify for an O-1 visa?

No.

But you do have to prove significant accomplishments in your sport.

If issued an O-1 visa, the nonimmigrant may live and compete in the U.S. for an initial period of three years.  The status can then be extended indefinitely in one-year increments.

A P-1 visa is more commonly used for athletes coming to the U.S. for a shorter period of time.  The standard of achievement is also not quite as high as the O-1.

The P-1 visa applicant provides evidence that he/she competes at “an internationally recognized” level of competition.  This could be appropriate for the Dominican Major League Baseball team member, or even a minor league/amateur athletic competition of some kind.

The P visa is typically issued for up to one year, but sometimes for up to five years.  One extension of up to five years is allowed.

Both the O and P visas require the sponsorship of a corporation, agent, or team.

B-1 is a business visitor visa category.  It can, however, be appropriate for those foreign athletes who support themselves on tournament prize money rather than a salary (think Italian auto racer).

He/she (or the team for which they play) must be based outside the United States.  And if it is a team, it must be part of an international sports league.

The B-1 can be issued for up to one year, and may sometimes be extended in six-month increments.

There are also several options for foreign athletes who wish to remain in the U.S. permanently.  Obtaining a Green Card, or an Immigrant Visa, requires careful planning with an experienced immigration attorney.

So if you’re a foreign athlete and need to perform at a sporting event in the U.S., or even want to permanently live here, there are various visa options available to you.  Give us a call.

 

The E-2 Visa: U.S. Misses Out on Foreign Entrepreneurs

January 16th, 2012
posted by at 1:51 pm

By Pam Prather

With unemployment hovering around 8.5 percent and our presidential election cycle in full swing, all we hear these days is “jobs, jobs, jobs.” You can turn on the television or browse the internet to hear the myriad of solutions people have to better our economy.  Unfortunately, what we don’t hear as often is how critical foreign entrepreneurs are to job creation in the United States.

The lack of options for foreign national entrepreneurs, particularly those from India and China, is yet another example of the serious need for immigration reform in the United States. From all angles, business immigration law is having a significant negative impact on our economy. At a time when new employment numbers are anticipated every month, and seen as one of the main indicators of our economic recovery, we must consider every possible opportunity for U.S. job creation.

According to the Kaufmann Foundation, immigrant entrepreneurs accounted for 29.5 percent of new businesses in 2010. In The “New American” Fortune 500 (June 2011), The Partnership for a New American Economy found that:

1] More than 40 percent of the 2010 Fortune 500 companies were founded by immigrants or their children. 2] The newest Fortune 500 companies are more likely to have an immigrant founder. 3] Fortune 500 companies founded by immigrants or children of immigrants employ more than 10 million people worldwide. 4] The revenue generated by Fortune 500 companies founded by immigrants or children of immigrants is greater than the GDP of every country in the world outside the U.S., except China and Japan. 5] Seven of the 10 most valuable brands in the world come from American companies founded by immigrants or children of immigrants.— Apple, Google, AT&T, Budweiser, Colgate, eBay, General Electric, IBM, and McDonald’s, to name just a few.

Vivek Wadhwa, a well-known scholar and authority on immigration matters, found that:

According to the studies, in a quarter of the U.S. science and technology companies founded from 1995 to 2005, the chief executive or lead technologist was foreign-born. In 2005, these companies generated $52 billion in revenue and employed 450,000 workers. In some industries, the numbers were much higher; in Silicon Valley, the percentage of immigrant-founded startups had increased to 52 percent. Indian immigrants founded 26 percent of these startups—more than the next four groups from Britain, China, Taiwan, and Japan combined. (emphasis added)

It is clear that Indian and Chinese entrepreneurs play an important role in founding companies and creating jobs in the U.S.  Yet these entrepreneurs were not able to immigrate to the US directly in order to start their businesses.  They had to find sponsorship through other means – usually an employer, or sometimes a family member. Only later were they able to develop the companies that create U.S. jobs.  The one visa applicable in these circumstances, the E-2, is not available to them.

The E-2 (Treaty-Investor) visa is given to individuals who have made a “substantial” investment in a new or operating business in the U.S.  It is based upon treaties we hold with the applicants’ country. Surprisingly, the U.S. does not have a Treaty with India, so its citizens are not eligible for an E-2 investor visa. Neither is China or Israel included on the list.  Therefore, Indian, Israeli and Chinese nationals cannot use the E-2 visa to start businesses in the U.S. and create jobs.

The US State Department reports that there were approximately 25,000 E-2 visas issued in 2010.  That’s 25,000 new businesses, all of which must – by law – have a positive impact on U.S. economy.  It’s a win-win situation, and a clear indication that E-2 visas are highly beneficial to the U.S. Unfortunately, the U.S. is missing out on even more impressive numbers, because there is not a simple, effective business immigration law allowing foreign nationals from India, China and other countries to come to the US to start and invest in a new business.

The Partnership for a New American Economy’s 2011 report concluded with a statement that “[t]o compete, we must modernize our own immigration system so that it welcomes, rather than discourages, the Fortune 500 entrepreneurs of the 21st century global economy. We must create a visa designed to draw aspiring entrepreneurs to build new businesses and create jobs here.”  This is from a group whose co-chairs include the CEOs of Microsoft, Disney, Marriot and Boeing, and the Mayors of New York, Los Angeles, and Philadelphia.

One simple fix would be to expand the list of countries whose nationals can benefit from the E-2 investor visa to start businesses and create jobs.  We can also pursue other immigration policies such as the Start Up Visa Act to help spur growth and innovation.  Or, to truly get creative and innovative, we can pursue both!  After all the more immigration laws we have that encourages foreign entrepreneurship in the U.S. helps job creation, our economy, and our country.

 

Hot Topics in Immigration Law – 2011

December 14th, 2011
posted by at 1:45 pm

By Pam Prather

 

Immigration remains an issue in the forefront of U.S. political and social dialogue. Many Americans assume that the primary problem is with undocumented migrants, but the fact is that our immigration laws as they relate to legal employment and family immigration need a complete overhaul.

That is still not within sight, unfortunately.

Part of this is because the issue has become so emotional, with legal and illegal immigration issues desperately entangled, that it puts politicians on thin ice with their constituents regardless of their position on the subject.  However, there have been some interesting ‘piece-meal’ bills and policy memos that have had some impact this year.

Fairness for High-Skilled Immigrants Act

Exciting news in recent weeks included the Fairness for High-Skilled Immigrants Act, which passed the House with rare bipartisan support.

One of its sponsors (Chaffetz) stated “I am committed to fixing legal immigration. By removing per country limits, American companies will be able to access the best talent. This legislation is pro-growth, pro-jobs, and pro-family. I encourage my colleagues in the House to pass this bipartisan legislation.”

The current system, where no country may be allotted more than 7 percent of employment or family visas, has long been criticized as unfair to larger, or more highly-represented countries such as India, China, Mexico and the Philippines.  The proposed bill would eliminate the limit for employment-based visas and raise it to 15 percent for family visas.

With some high-skilled workers from India and China waiting nearly a decade for a Green Card, this is a great start. Not only will it have a significant and positive impact on thousands of individuals’ lives, but many experts think it would create a boost to our economy. More visas means more workers, with more families paying US taxes and spending money at US businesses.

Unfortunately, when sent to the Senate, Senator Charles Grassley (R) put the bill on ‘hold’.  He said the bill “does nothing to better protect Americans.”

When one in four U.S. companies have a foreign co-founder, does this position really make sense if job creation is a goal?

Neufeld Memo

 

Although it took effect in 2010, this year the Neufield Memo continued to change the way H-1B applications are prepared for employee-contractors.

Employers who outsource their workers must continue to provide substantial evidence of the contractual agreements between their company and their vendor, and between the vendor and the end client.  In most cases, the end client must refer to the worker by name, and state the length of the contract as being the same as the I-129 requested validity dates.

Needless to say (although we’ll say it anyway) it is very difficult for an employer to get that kind of contract until the position is filled, and it’s difficult to get the position filled without presenting the contract to the USCIS. This vicious cycle keeps – or delays – U.S. employers from filling jobs and optimizing their business practices.

This ‘disconnect’ between government policies and common business practices does nothing to help our economy and seems, in fact, to be quite a hindrance to its recovery.

Alabama’s HB 56

 

This year Alabama passed a law making it a Class C Felony for undocumented aliens to transact business with state agencies.  As a result, at least one utility company in Alabama posted a sign informing its customers that this prohibited them from providing water service to undocumented immigrants. Since Class C felonies are punishable by up to ten years in prison, this meant an undocumented alien could be imprisoned for a decade for attempting to use water in Alabama.

Also, based on how broadly the State defines “business transactions,” it could be that any transaction, including paying State taxes, could result in imprisonment.

Alabama is one of several states that have passed their own stringent immigration laws. The Department of Justice is currently challenging state immigration laws in Utah, Alabama, Arizona and South Carolina. In addition, they are reviewing immigration laws recently passed in Indiana and Georgia.

As more and more states continue to legislate on federal immigration laws, the conflict between our federal and state governments will be interesting to watch in 2012.

DREAM Act

Late last December, the DREAM Act (the Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors Act) bill did NOT receive enough support to pass, but it continues as a source of debate on the overall immigration issue in the U.S.  To be eligible for the act, undocumented students must have entered the country when they were 15 or younger and graduated high school or obtained a GED. To receive a green card, the bill required them to complete two years in the military or two years of college — plus a 10-year waiting period. Only six years later would they be eligible to apply for citizenship.

In response to this failing at the federal level, some states are again taking immigration law into their own hands.  Recently, Gov. Jerry Brown signed The California Dream Act, which will become effective January 2013, into law.  The law will make available state-funded financial aid to undocumented immigrant students in California.  Funds include state Board of Governors fee waivers, student aid programs administered by a college or university, state aid Cal Grants program for state universities, community colleges, and qualifying independent and career colleges or technical schools in California.

The other half of the California Dream Act was signed into law by Brown in July and allows undocumented immigrant students to receive privately funded scholarships administered at public universities and community colleges.

The California Dream Act differs somewhat from the proposed federal bill, which would have created a path to citizenship for immigrants who entered the United States illegally as children under the age of 16, had lived in the United States for at least five years, obtained a high school or General Education Development diploma, and demonstrated “good moral character,” according to a White House fact sheet.

The DREAM Act has had, at times, support from both political parties.  Unfortunately, most politicians today do not want to vote for any immigration bill for political reasons.  If you’ve read the comments after any article written on the issue, you would understand why.

Immigration is currently a highly toxic and combustible issue.

As it relates to the DREAM Act, however, people should ask themselves some very fundamental questions:  Is it right to deport someone who 1) was brought to the U.S. at a very young age through no choice of their own; 2) has lived in the U.S. their entire life, and knows no other country as home; and 3) is trying desperately to become a productive member of our society?

What Lies Ahead?

 

Immigration will continue to be a large part of the American consciousness in 2012.  Whether through pressure from the “Border States”, economists, U.S. businesses, or farmers, Congress will be forced to make decisions about legal AND illegal immigration.

We should not forget that our legal immigration system, which is a vital part of the fabric of American history and culture, can be addressed separately from illegal immigration.  The latter needs serious, reasonable discourse regarding the role we Americans want to play in this modern world – and how we want to approach the 11 million undocumented migrants in the US, and the continued flow across our borders.

But legal immigration needs smart reform NOW, whether comprehensive or ‘piece-meal’. It would spur innovation, bolster the economy, create jobs, and provide people with a better life.

Let’s make it happen in 2012.

The Wrong Way To Tackle Illegal Immigration

October 10th, 2011
posted by at 7:45 pm

An Alabama law makes it a Class C Felony for undocumented aliens to transact business with state agencies.  Alabama law HB 56 states the following:

An alien not lawfully present in the United States shall not enter into or attempt to enter into a business transaction with the state or a political subdivision of the state and no person shall enter into a business transaction or attempt to enter into a business transaction on behalf of an alien not lawfully present in the United States. [...]

A violation of this section is a Class C felony.

As a result, at least one utility company in Alabama posted a sign informing its customers that this section of Alabama’s anti-immigrant law prohibits them from providing water service to undocumented immigrants.

Class C felonies are punishable by up to ten years in prison.  Thus, undocumented aliens can be imprisoned for a decade for attempting to use water in Alabama.

We think it is simply INHUMANE to deny water to anybody in this country – and arguably a violation of international human rights.

Also, based on how broadly the State defines “business transactions,” it could be that any transaction, including paying State taxes, could result in imprisonment.  As this article correctly points out:

“….because the law defines unlawful “business transactions” very broadly to include “any transaction between a person and the state or a political subdivision of the state,” the mere act of paying income taxes might qualify. Thus, if an undocumented immigrant pays their taxes, they will be guilty of a felony, but if they don’t they will also be guilty of a felony.”

As one interested reader noted, a criminal is a criminal. Does Alabama want to deny water to all of them?  Will they apply their harsh laws to murderers, thieves, and sexual predators? After all, if they are trying to chase away “undesirables”, wouldn’t it make more sense to start with those who are truly a menace to society?

Illegal immigration has been a hot-button issue in recent years.  There is no question that border security needs to improve.  But we need to revise our outdated immigration laws to allow more avenues for skilled and unskilled immigrant workers to work and reside in the United States.

The problem is the law, not the people!

This needs to be accomplished in a way that does not impact our basic humanity towards people.  There are ways to tackle illegal immigration without denying water to a group of people or making it a felony to pay taxes.  When trying to enforce immigration laws, let’s not lose our compassion as people, and what makes the United States special.

Owners of Multinational Companies: Stuck Between a Rock and Bad Policy

July 24th, 2011
posted by at 8:59 pm

A few days ago, an owner of a multinational company approached us about obtaining U.S. permanent residency.  This person has a successful company in another country, and that company now has a subsidiary in the U.S.  The U.S. company is growing and hiring U.S. workers.

The owner, who also manages both businesses but currently resides in another country, now wants to live in the U.S.  He wants to reside in the U.S. and help his U.S. subsidiary grow even faster.

Under U.S. immigration laws, this should be no problem, right?

Not so fast.  Let’s review his options.

Can his own company in the U.S. sponsor him for permanent residency through the PERM labor certification process?

No.

For a company to sponsor an employee through the PERM process, they must advertise the position to see if there are available U.S. workers for the job.  Therefore, a legitimate job opening must exist.

In this situation, since the person has a substantial ownership interest in the U.S. company, the Department of Labor (DOL) will deem that a legitimate job opportunity does not exist.  Basically, the company and the ‘employee’ are one in the same.

What about the Employment-Based One Category (EB-1) for Multinational Executives and Managers?  He is an Executive and Manager of a Multinational company, so this category should work, right?

Not right now.

In the past, it would have.  But as we wrote in a recent blog article, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) has been applying the Neufeld Memo’s definition of the employer-employee relationship to these types cases as well.

In order for a company to sponsor a multinational manager or executive, it must prove that an employer-employee relationship exists and the employer has to the right to fire the employee.  If the employee also holds a significant ownership interest, the USCIS position is that the employer-employee relationship does not exist.  Therefore, company sponsorship is not possible in this EB-1 category.

How about the Employment-Based Five (EB-5) category for foreign investors?  Since the owner of this company is also investing in it, this should work, right?

It depends.

This category requires the foreign investor to invest 1 million U.S. Dollars (USD) (or $500,000 in a rural area) of his/her own cash (no loans) in a company that creates 10 full-time jobs (5 full-time if in a rural area) for U.S. workers.

Unfortunately, this individual does not meet the 1 million USD threshold.  His U.S. subsidiary, however, will likely have 10 U.S. workers within the next year.  But since the monetary investment in the U.S. company isn’t even close to 1 million USD, this category will not work.

What are his other options?

He does not qualify under the EB-1 Extraordinary Ability or Employment-Based Two (EB-2) National Interest Waiver categories either.  Those categories are for people who have reached the top of their fields.  In the business category, has this individual reached the level of a Bill Gates or Warren Buffett?  Not yet.

Anything else?

No.

What we have here is a U.S. immigration policy that prevents this individual, an entrepreneur who created a U.S. subsidiary of his foreign company, invests in the U.S. and creates U.S. jobs, from immigrating to the U.S. as a permanent resident.  In a time when we have high unemployment and a weak economy, is this the immigration policy that our government should endorse?

No.  But unfortunately, it does.

Our government should encourage foreign entrepreneurship and investment in the U.S., not prevent it and send it elsewhere.  As a country we need to change our immigration policies in these areas, and the time to do it is now.

 

Diversity Visa Lottery Registration Through Nov. 2010

October 21st, 2010
posted by at 3:46 pm

-          By Murali Bashyam, Esq.

During a recent event for the non-profit Friends Unite, Africa Economic Foundation founder, Dr. Philip Mwalali, told us about the small village in Africa called Kilisa with very little resources where he grew up. He told us how he worked very hard and became prominent doctor in Kenya.  He was motivated to become a doctor because he wanted to give back to his village and help them improve their quality of life.

Dr. Mwalali now lives in the United States. He and his family were chosen for U.S. residency through what is called the Diversity Immigration Visa Lottery program.  Today, he, along with many others in the U.S. and in Kenya, continue to help the villagers and children in Kilisa have a better life.

This is a real-life example of how this program can really make a difference in the lives of a wide spectrum of people.  It is also an example that the program is available to a diverse group of intending immigrants.

The Diversity Immigrant Visa (DV) program is a U.S. Congressionally-mandated lottery program for receiving U.S. Permanent Resident Status (green card).  It is administered on an annual basis, and makes available 50,000 permanent residency visas to persons from countries with low rates of immigration to the United States.  Currently, Africa and Europe receive about 80% of the visas in the lottery.

In recent years, the DV program has come under fire from anti-immigrant groups.  Their main argument is that the program provides U.S. permanent resident status to unskilled or low skilled people, and those people do not benefit the United States.  They also say that it is easy for terrorists to apply under the program and obtain a U.S. green card.  Of course, like all other residency cases, DV winners must go through an extensive FBI background check before getting U.S. resident status.

Dr. Mwalali was an educated doctor before he even entered the U.S. as a permanent resident.  As with any immigration program, there will be flaws.  But we should recognize the good that these programs do instead of constantly focusing on those flaws.

As John Wilcock, a visa specialist with the State Department, said during a recent Washington Foreign Press Center media briefing, as he explained the 1990 law that created a new class of diversity immigrants, “The idea was to diversify the immigrant pool.”

The entry period to apply for the DV-2012 program is from October 5, 2010 to November 3, 2010. We’ve included all of the registration details on our Immigration News Blog.