Posts Tagged ‘immigration paralegal’

Bashyam Spiro 15th Anniversary Memory #6: TINA

December 7th, 2010
posted by at 3:42 pm

By, Tina Huber, Senior Immigration Paralegal

I have been at Bashyam Spiro for over 4 years. When I first started with the firm my specialty was the immigration of foreign registered nurses to the United States. This was a special immigration niche that I had past experience with and is still my favorite kind of case to work on. I work on various employment-based immigration cases now, but when reflecting on the work that I do I have found the immigration process for foreign nurses the most unforgettable.

I deal with hardworking and underpaid healthcare professionals who live exhausting lives in third world countries and somehow, are lucky to find a U.S. hospital or medical institution that will sponsor them.  

Unlike other skilled workers, nurses don’t go through the labor certification process and can essentially come into the U.S. with a green card (after many hoops and hurdles are cleared).  However, the process they go through to get the green card takes MANY, MANY years. 

Once the I-140 is approved, I have the dual task of bearing good news and bad news to the beneficiary. The good news is that their petition has been approved and the National Visa Center will begin processing their immigrant visa case once their priority date is current, handling everything until it is time for their visa interview in their home country.  The bad news is that their priority date may be 5 – 8 YEARS from becoming current.  How do you put that in plain words for someone who wants to book their ticket to the U.S. before I have even finished congratulating them?  It is heart wrenching to explain that most likely their young children will probably get to finish high school, not start elementary school, in the U.S., and that they must carry on with their lives “just getting by” for a few years more, unless Congress sees fit to remedy the U.S. nurse shortage soon. Which is not likely.

I love to think that just being a part of the U.S. immigration process makes life better for them in their home countries; that they tell their friends that they have an approved immigration petition and that one day soon they will be working in America. I hope that that is enough for them while they endure the long, arduous wait and I hope I am there when they get to cross the finish line.

My Name is Tina, and I'm a BlackBerry Addict.

March 11th, 2010
posted by at 7:26 pm

Crackberry Addicts Anonymous

I have worked in the immigration environment for a good while and nothing beats a fast responder. You know those workaholics across all industries who answer emails at all hours of the day or night and wait for hours for someone to get back with them.

The “Sent from my BlackBerry®” used to really impress me. I used to admire my tech savvy BlackBerry® using clients until my husband came home with one…

Gone were the sit down dinners and witty conversations about the day (Oh, who am I kidding..I have 3 young kids, but you get the point).  Our FAMILY time is now meeting central with conference emails and texts with upper management, Project Managers, Engineers, etc. Are people really more productive answering texts and emails at 8:00 p.m. and later, then they are at 4:00 – 6:00 p.m? Are these “smart phones” really making us any “smarter?”

Owning a BlackBerry® or any other one of these handheld devices with email and text capability is truly addictive. It is a powerful tool in communication, good or bad, and the ability to answer someone right away, even at midnight, can be tempting beyond control.

So my husband got me a BlackBerry® for my birthday, thinking that I wouldn’t complain so much if I had one too.  And it has mostly worked. On my days off, or when we go on vacations or family outings, I am emailing clients…and friends. I am texting any and all BlackBerry® owning friends just because it’s free. I ask people for their PIN numbers so we can instant message later, instead of asking how they are doing right now.

What has happened to what used to be referred to as “down time”? I never thought it would happen to me, a mom first, an employee second, but strides in technology have blurred the line between “office hours” and “off duty” and I am as guilty as the rest.

So, I’ve come to understand the reasoning behind the BlackBerry® nickname, “CrackBerry.” It’s a compulsive addiction and I’m hooked.

With that in mind, I have a few recommendations for other self-proclaimed technology addicts like myself:

1. Admit there is a problem.

- Tina Huber, Senior Immigration Paralegal

ABCs and 123s of Immigration

March 11th, 2010
posted by at 7:08 pm

By Senior Immigration Paralegal, Esther Oh When I became a immigration paralegal over 10 years ago, I didn’t realize re-learning the way that I think of my ABC’s, acronyms and numbers would be part of the job description. No longer do I think, “B for Banana.” Instead, it is “B” is for Visitor’s Status, “F” is for Student Status, “H” is for a worker status, “L” is for an intra-company transferee and my alphabet letters have now changed to correlate with the different immigration statuses and forms that must be filed with the immigration service. Oh, and those letters are then followed by distinct numbers that make all of the difference when it comes to properly filing any visa petition. No more TGIF – “Thank Goodness It’s Friday” acronyms, now it is remembering the proper acronyms for the administrative agencies linked to the immigration process…and even those acronyms continuously change. I remember when the “immigration service” was referred to as the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS), which then changed to Citizenship & Immigration Services (CIS) and then once again changed the name they are now known as, the US Citizenship & Immigration Service (USCIS). If you’re involved in the immigration process in any way, often it’s good to keep track of these changes and familiarize yourself with these acronyms and abbreviations. The immigration world is always evolving and if you are like me and you work in or with the immigration service in some way, you have to continuously learn to speak their ever-changing language.