MVP LAW GROUP – Immigration Q&A Forum, Friday, April 1, 2011

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Question #1 – Employment Based Immigration – Green Card
If my priority date is June 2008 under the EB-3 category and my H-1B visa will expire in October 2012 (using up my 6 years), should I move to a different company so I can re-file my green card application under EB-2? Or should I wait until I renew my H-1B until 2012 before moving?

Answer #1
If you have an approved I-140 and a valid offer of employment, you may move to the new company by filing an H-1B extension for three years based on the approved I-140; however, it can complicate your green card application. If you move, the previous employer could withdraw your approved I-140 and you would have to begin the Labor process from scratch and lose your priority date. This is an important factor that you will have to consider and discuss with your current employer.

Question #2 – Employment Based Immigration – Green Card
My husband is on H-1B is waiting for his I-485 (EB-3 Mexico with a July 11, 2008 priority date). I am currently on H4 and also have a degree in Economics, so I was wondering if I could apply for a TN visa without jeopardizing my chance to get a green card?

Answer #2
Has an I-485 application been filed on your behalf? By applying for a TN visa, you are not jeopardizing your chances, as long as you are eligible for the visa and have a sponsoring employer.

Question #3 – Employment Based Immigration – Advance Parole
We have advance parole expiring on Sep 29th, 2011. And we would like to renew our Advance parole within 120 days of expiration date. What is the earliest date that we may apply without being rejected?

Answer #3
You may apply on or after June 2, 2011.

Question #4 –Temporary Work Visas – H-1B Nonimmigrant Visa
I’d like to apply for an H-1B visa under the H-1B CAP. Is the H1B Visa Quota still available for the year 2011?

Answer #4
No, the H-1B FY2011 CAP opened on April 1, 2010 and the quota was reached in January of 2011. The H-1B FY2011 runs from October 1, 2010 until September 30, 2011. FY stands for Fiscal Year. 65,000 visas have already been allocated for FY2011.

The H-1B 2012 CAP opens today April 1, 2011 and will remain open until a sufficient amount of visa petitions are received to reach the quota. The H-1B FY2012 runs from October 1, 2011 until September 30, 2012.

Question #5 –Temporary Work Visas – H-1B Nonimmigrant Visa
Can your firm sponsor my H-1B or find a company to sponsor me? I am ready to come to the U.S. and work; I have a BS in Computer Science
Answer #5
We are a law firm that will help you prepare the paperwork (Forms and documents) for your H-1B non-immigrant petition once you find an employer willing to sponsor you for employment; however, we cannot find you H-1B sponsorship. In summary, once you have secured an H-1B sponsor (U.S. employer), we can then assist you with the process.

Question #6 – General
I am not sure what is going on with my pending I-140 application. I heard through the various immigration forums that I can contact USCIS and make a request for them to look further into my case and see why it is taking so long. Is this true? How do I do it? Does my employer need to contact them?

Answer #6
The USCIS National Customer Service Center, which can be reached at 1-800-375-5283, will initiate a service request when a petition is outside of the normal processing time if the request is made by the sponsoring Petitioner, the Applicant/Beneficiary, or an Authorized Representative or an Attorney for the Petitioner/Applicant. If making a service request to the Customer Service Center, please have the following information handy so that the Officer/Agent will be better able to assist you: your full name, your complete mailing address, your date of birth, your receipt number for the pending application/petition, the filing date of your pending application/petition, your priority date, your preference category, and possibly, the position indicated on your certified labor. If your case is outside of the normal processing time, the Officer/Agent will initiate a service request and will provide you with a timeframe for a response and a referral number in case you have to call back because no correspondence was issued within the timeframe suggested.

Question #7 – Employment Based Immigration – Advance Parole
We would like to file for renewal Advance Parole document. Please confirm if this is going to be an issue if we travel to India during June or August. During that time we will have current Advance parole (Exp August 28,2011) and future advance parole in pending status.

Answer #7
As long as you file the advance parole renewal prior to your departure and return prior to the expiration of your current AP document 8/28/2011, you should not encounter any issues.

Question #8 – Employment Based Immigration – Green Card: Biometrics
I believe the fingerprints that the USCIS have on file for my 485 application are old. Additionally, my wife has received her fingerprint appointment notice, should I just go and get my done with her, I haven’t got my notice yet. Should I take Info pass appointment to give them a new set of fingerprints?

Answer #8
USCIS will send you an appointment notice with a specific date, time and place for you to go to a USCIS Application Support Center (ASC) for biometrics processing. You must WAIT for that appointment notice and take it to your ASC appointment along with your photo identification.

Question #9 –Temporary Work Visas – H-1B Nonimmigrant Visa
If we sponsor an employee and pay the associated legal fees and USCIS filing fees, can we consider those payments in their employment review/raise evaluation in subsequent years? I am trying to treat all employees fairly, and it seems odd that the company is required to pay legal fees for one employee, but not another.

Answer #9
I understand your frustrations; however, the H-1B nonimmigrant program is a program designed to allow foreign professional workers to work temporarily in the United States to help boost the economy and keep U.S. businesses at the top in terms of work productivity, developing new products, etc. When you speak of using the associated legal fees when determining employment reviews/raise evaluations, it is not fair to the H-1B worker who has been sponsored by you for the sole purpose of working for your company to then take those fees and hold them against them. To my knowledge, it is unlawful and the Department of Labor (DOL) would not look favorably over this issue. It may seem odd that you are required to pay for the foreign worker’s legal fees and associated filing fees, but that is just an aspect of the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) and DOL’s partnership in the H-1B nonimmigrant program. A job is a job and when performance reviews/raise evaluations are conducted, they should be based entirely on the ability/productivity and experience of the worker.

Question #10 – Family Based Immigration – Green Card – Marriage Based (K1)
What are the restrictions on a ‘conditional green card”? Once my husband gets his GC, can he travel (internationally)?

Answer #10
Yes, he can travel internationally provided the trip is less than 6 months out of the year. The restrictions are mostly just the time frame, given most GCs are issued for 10 years, the USCIS wants to make sure at the end of the two (2) years, prior to renewal of the GC, that you are still in a legitimate marriage and that the marriage was not for fraudulent purposes. Once the two (2) years are over and the conditions are removed after he applies to remove them, he will receive a GC valid for 10 years. Within 90 days of the two-year anniversary of obtaining conditional residence, you and your husband will be required to file a Joint Petition to Remove Conditions on Residence (Form I-751). Once the conditions are removed, your husband will officially have Lawful Permanent Residence in the US.

MVP Law Group would like to thank everyone who contributed a question or comment.

Our next “Immigration Q & A Forum” is scheduled for Friday, April 15th, 2011! Please remember to submit your questions/comments on our h1bvisalawyer blog.

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