New “Green Card” Design coming soon

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services recent;y announced  a redesign to the Permanent Resident Card (also known as a Green Card) and the Employment Authorization Document (EAD) as part of the Next Generation Secure Identification Document Project. USCIS will begin issuing the new cards on May 1, 2017.

These redesigns use enhanced graphics and fraud-resistant security features to create cards that are highly secure and more tamper-resistant than the ones currently in use.

The new card designs demonstrate USCIS’ commitment to continue taking a proactive approach against the threat of document tampering and fraud. They are also part of an ongoing effort between USCIS, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement to enhance document security and deter counterfeiting and fraud.

The Redesigned Cards

The new Green Cards and EADs will:

  • Display the individual’s photos on both sides;
  • Show a unique graphic image and color palette:
    • Green Cards will have an image of the Statue of Liberty and a predominately green palette;
    • EAD cards will have an image of a bald eagle and a predominately red palette;
  • Have embedded holographic images; and
  • No longer display the individual’s signature.

Also, Green Cards will no longer have an optical stripe on the back.

How To Tell If Your Card Is Valid

Some Green Cards and EADs issued after May 1, 2017, may still display the existing design format as USCIS will continue using existing card stock until current supplies are depleted. Both the existing and the new Green Cards and EADs will remain valid until the expiration date shown on the card.

Certain EADs held by individuals with Temporary Protected Status (TPS) and other designated categories have been automatically extended beyond the validity date on the card. For additional information on which EADs are covered, please visit the Temporary Protected Status and American Competitiveness in the 21st Century Act web pages on uscis.gov.

Both versions are acceptable for Form I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification, E-Verify, and Systematic Alien Verification for Entitlements (SAVE). Some older Green Cards do not have an expiration date.  These older Green Cards without an expiration date remain valid. Individuals who have Green Cards without an expiration date may want to consider applying for a replacement card bearing an expiration date. Obtaining the replacement card will reduce the likelihood of fraud or tampering if the card is ever lost or stolen.

 

green card

Fleischer Law Firm Success Story- Eirik

Eiri, originally from Vietnam came to the United States as a student. After meeting the love of his life , he got married. Various complicated circumstances prevented the case to go quickly, but eventually, all good things work out. His case was approved out of Louisville , Kentucky USCIS . He now has a green card and  have the opportunity to live the american Dream.

 

Louisville Kentucky USCIS

 

 

Can Computer Programmers still obtain H-1b Visas?

In a memo released last week, United States immigration officials moved to clarify the process for vetting H-1B visas for computer programmers.

 

 US Citizenship and Immigration Services memo posted online advises immigration officials to no longer follow an “obsolete” memo from 2000, which provided guidance on how to vet requests for H-1B visas, a type of visa for high-skilled workers that’s popular in the tech industry.

According to the memo, “the fact that a person may be employed as a computer programmer and may use information technology skills and knowledge to help an enterprise achieve its goals in the course of his or her job is not sufficient to establish the position as a specialty occupation.” The memo specifically says that “an entry-level computer programmer position would not generally qualify as a position in a specialty occupation.”

The memo also reminds officials to consider the wage level of a position in whether it qualifies as sufficiently complex for a visa. (The H-1B program has sometimes been criticized for overreaching to include lower-wage workers in the industry.)

 

In addition, the December 22, 2000 memo that was based on Department of Labor materials from the late 90s and early 2000s, needed to be updated. The high-tech industry has evolved significantly since 2000, as have the occupations within the industry.Though the memo focuses on Computer Programmers, the message is clear. In order to qualify for an H-1B, the employer must show that the position requires theoretical and practical application of a body of highly specialized knowledge, which requires the attainment of bachelor’s degree or higher in a specific specialty. This is true for all H-1Bs

 

Toward this end, the memo supports the proposition that a position cannot simultaneously have a job classification and pay rate at the low end of the industry salary range, while at the same time listing specific job requirements and skills that are more complex and specialized.

According to information and cases shared by AILA members, for at least the past several years USCIS has not taken the approach that a “Computer Programmer” is a slam-dunk H-1B.

USCIS to Suspend H-1b Premium Processing

Subject: USCIS Will Temporarily Suspend Premium Processing for All H-1B Petitions

Starting April 3, 2017, USCIS will temporarily suspend premium processing for all H- 1B petitions. This suspension may last up to 6 months. While H-1B premium processing is suspended, petitioners will not be able to file Form I-907, Request for Premium Processing Service for a Form I-129, Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker which requests the H-1B nonimmigrant classification. We will notify the public before resuming premium processing for H-1B petitions.

 

Who Is Affected

The temporary suspension applies to all H-1B petitions filed on or after April 3, 2017. Since FY18 cap-subject H-1B petitions cannot be filed before April 3, 2017, this suspension will apply to all petitions filed for the FY18 H-1B regular cap and master’s advanced degree cap exemption (the “master’s cap”). The suspension also applies to petitions that may be cap-exempt.

While premium processing is suspended, we will reject any Form I-907 filed with an H-1B petition. If the petitioner submits one combined check for both the Form I-907 and Form I-129 H-1B fees, we will have to reject both forms.

We will continue to premium process Form I-129 H-1B petitions if the petitioner properly filed an associated Form I-907 before April 3, 2017. Therefore, we will refund the premium processing fee if:

  1. The petitioner filed the Form I-907 for an H-1B petition before April 3, 2017, and
  2. We did not take adjudicative action on the case within the 15-calendar-day processing period.

This temporary suspension of premium processing does not apply to other eligible nonimmigrant classifications filed on Form I-129.

 

Requesting Expedited Processing

While premium processing is suspended, petitioners may submit a request to expedite an H-1B petition if they meet the criteria on the Expedite Criteria webpage. It is the petitioner’s responsibility to demonstrate that they meet at least one of the expedite criteria, and we encourage petitioners to submit documentary evidence to support their expedite request.

We review all expedite requests on a case-by-case basis and requests are granted at the discretion of the office leadership.

Why We Are Temporarily Suspending Premium Processing for H-1B Petitions

This temporary suspension will help us to reduce overall H-1B processing times. By temporarily suspending premium processing, we will be able to:

  •   Process long-pending petitions, which we have currently been unable to process due to the high volume of incoming petitions and the significant surge in premium processing requests over the past few years; and
  •   Prioritize adjudication of H-1B extension of status cases that are nearing the 240 day mark.

You do NOT have to Relinquish your green Card if…

Practice Alert: What to Do If Clients are Asked to Relinquish Their Green Cards and Sign Form I-407, Abandonment of LPR Status

 

Green CardFrom AILA

 

Upon returning to the U.S., Legal Permanent Residents (LPR) should not automatically surrender their green cards if asked to do so. An individual does not lose LPR status as a result of time abroad. They remain an LPR until a final order of removal is issued and the government must prove abandonment by clear, unequivocal, and convincing evidence which a higher evidentiary standard than clear and convincing. See Matter of Huang, 19 I&N Dec. 749 (BIA 1988). Form I-407 must be signed voluntarily and there are no potential negative ramifications for refusing to sign. Neither failure to sign nor abandonment is grounds for detention. Rather, an LPR who refuses to sign Form I-407 must be issued a Notice to Appear (NTA) so that an immigration judge can determine whether they have lost their LPR status.

When abandonment is raised, clients should be advised to offer evidence of the following: their ties to the U.S., the purpose of their visit outside of the U.S., and the expected termination date of the visit abroad or occurrence of facts showing why a date certain is or was not possible. See precedent decision Matter of Kane, 15 I&N Dec. 258 (BIA 1975).

The burden at this stage is preponderance of the evidence, which is more likely than not (more than 51%) that your client did not abandon. See Matter of Y-G-, 20 I&N Dec. 794 (BIA 1994). Totality of the circumstances are relevant and must be considered. If the officer is nevertheless, not convinced, your client should ask for a hearing before an immigration judge. If the client’s green card is confiscated, the client must be provided with alternative evidence of their LPR status, such as an I-94 and/or passport stamp that says “Evidence of Temporary Residence.” Note that signing Form I-407 is also not conclusive evidence that a client intended to abandon their residency.  See Matter of Wood, No. A24-653-925 (BIA Jan. 13, 1992), reported in 69 Inter. Rel. 512 (April 27, 1992). The client can still request a hearing before an immigration judge to determine whether LPR status was abandoned.

Abandonment of residence is not a ground of inadmissibility. Thus, the basis for the NTA is violation of INA §237(a)(1)(A) for being inadmissible at the time of admission because LPRs travel abroad and reenter the U.S. as “special immigrants” per INA §101(a)(27). If the LPR’s visit abroad was not in fact “a temporary absence” he or she is not admissible as a “special immigrant.” The lack of special immigrant status is what ultimately makes them removable. In this situation, the government bears the high burden of proving abandonment of LPR status by clear, unequivocal, and convincing evidence. An LPR who is placed in removal proceedings, doesn’t lose his or her status until a final order of removal is issued. See 8 CFR §1.2 (defining “lawfully admitted for permanent resident”).

US Embassy in Chennai, India cancels all visa appointments

The US Embassy in Chennai  India has temporaryly suspended all visa appointment. They should resume Nov 8, 2016.

Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa’s precarious health has left Chennai anxious. The state’s director general of police asked Chennai’s police teams to be ready to patrol the streets on Monday in full uniform. Paramilitary forces are on standby, and extra security has been rushed to both the hospital, outside of which supporters have gathered, and the chief minister’s residence.

Apprehensive of the situation getting worse, people were seen thronging at shops and petrol pumps to stock up food and supplies for the rest of the week. However, fearing any violence, almost all shops, hotels, medical shops and pumps pulled down their shutters.

Buses to Chennai have come to a standstill. However, local buses and autos are ensuring access to the city for the public. Schools and IT companies such as Tidel Park and Olympia Tech Park sent their employees home much earlier than usual.

However, there have been no reports of violence so far in the city and with police deployed in full force throughout Chennai, including sensitive regions, there is a sense of calm among the people.

Situation is similar in neighbouring districts of Vellore, Madurai and others where shopkeepers downed shutters and people scurried home.

 

Happy Veterans Day and Thank you to those who served

Happy Veterans day to the brave soldiers who fought for ALL our freedoms including the right to protest, right to practice any or no religion,  and the right to vote.

 

US Veteran
US Veteran

 

Interestingly, Immigrants have always made up a portion of the Armed Forces in America — joining the U.S. military has always been one of the fastest ways to get U.S. citizenship. About 8,000 troops with green cards became citizens that way last year alone.

 

Approximately 511,000 foreign-born veterans of the U.S. armed forces resided in the United States in 2016, accounting for 3 percent of the 18.8 million veterans nationwide. Of that number, 1.5 million were U.S. born with a parent who was an immigrant. While the share of veterans who are foreign born is much lower than the immigrant share of the overall population (14 percent), veterans with an immigrant parent composed a larger share than the first generation (8 percent). Together, approximately 2 million veterans (11 percent of all veterans) were from an immigrant background.

Naturalized citizens, lawful permanent residents, and certain nationals of three countries in free association with the United States—the Marshall Islands, the Federated States of Micronesia, and Palau—are all eligible for military service. In addition, Congress can deem other foreign-born individuals eligible to serve if the secretary of a specific military branch “determines that such enlistment is vital to the national interest.”

Immigrants have always served in the U.S. armed forces. In the past, their presence was particularly high: The foreign born represented half of all military recruits by the 1840s and 20 percent of the 1.5 million service members in the Union Army during the Civil War, according to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).

 

img_0593