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H1B Visa Rules Unchanged, US-Based Indians Breathe a Sigh of Relief

H1B Visa Rules Unchanged, US-Based Indians Breathe a Sigh of Relief

The New Year celebrations of lakhs of Indians living in the US came to an abrupt halt on December 30, 2017 when media sources reported that the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) is drafting a policy that could curb the indefinite extension for H-1B visa holders who are on their way to get a green card and force them to be deported to India.

No Changes Sought

Though scores of Indians were terrified and their loved ones back at home clueless about what would happen next, a breather came in the form of the statement made by USCIS on January 9, 2018. In that statement, the USCIS mentioned that it is not considering any regulatory change that might force H1B visa holders to leave the country. No changes in interpretation of section 104(c) of AC-21, were being considered. This section provides H-1B extensions beyond the usual 6-year limit.

Employers’ Power

It also added that even if changes were being sought, it would not lead to eliminated of visa holders as employers would have the power to seek extensions in one-year increments as per section 106(a)-(b) of AC21.

The Relief

This statement provided immense relief to more than half million Indians for whom the wait for a green card could be up to 12 years.

A Threat to the US

It is a fact that this policy change would have been introduced, it would not only have threatened Indians living in the US, but it would also have harmed the US economy too. Confirming this, a spokesperson from the US Chamber of Commerce had earlier stated that it would be a bad policy to tell highly skilled individuals applying for permanent residency and those who have been in the US for many years that they are not welcome anymore. Such a policy would harm US business, economy and the nation.

Giving Up the American Dream

An immigration law firm’s Managing Partner recently stated that if people faced a major hurdle to settling in the US, it would discourage them to have an American dream. Even students would no longer want to enroll at a university in the US.

The Reaction

It is a fact that deportation of H1B holders would have taken a toll on Indian IT companies whose employees are usually the largest beneficiaries of the H-1B visas. So, the IT sector breathed a sigh of relief too, and it is evident by the reactions offered on USCIS statement.

The Managing Director of a Services Research Company in India stated that it was a relief because a lot of projects might have to be discontinued and there would have been a complete disruption in companies and employees’ lives if the feared changes were implemented. The situation of moving 500,000 is unthinkable.

Indians Hold the Most H1B Visas

Indian nationals have gained scores of H1B visas due to their vital IT skills. These professionals helped the US to overcome an acute shortage of technology professionals. Even tech giants like Google, Apple, and Facebook depend heavily on H1B visa to hire genius minds from nations like India so their value cannot be diminished.

Another Threat Looming

Though the current threat seems to be eliminated but before H1B holders cheer up more, they should consider that Indians would not have it easy in the future anymore. Since taking over the oval office in January 2017, Trump has ensured that the visa laws are more stringent than before. The premium processing for H-1B has been halted, and application requirements for computer programmers are tougher than ever before. More of such changes might also be in the pipeline. So, Indians should chase the American Dream with caution.

On January 9, 2018, USCIS also mentioned that the agency is considering several policy and regulatory changes to ensure that President Trump’s “Buy American Hire American” executive order could be carried out with ease. Some of the changes being considered include a thorough review of various employment-based visa programs.

What Can H1B Holders Do?

A wise option that must be considered by every H1-B visa holders is to connect with an immigration lawyer in their locality and seek his or her advice. The lawyer would help in tracking policy changes and ensure that H1-B visa holders get the opportunity to protect their own interests. An attorney would also represent H1-B clients in legal issues like detainment by the USCIS which is happening at an alarming rate since President Trump tool control of the Oval Office.

A Trusted Immigration Lawyer

If you are an immigrant who is seeking the services of an immigration lawyer in Orange County then you must consider contacting Mr. George W. Abbes as he can lend expert advice on various immigration-related matters such as deportation and removal defense, immigration & criminal convictions, family-based immigration, deferred action, criminal immigration consultations, employment-based immigration, citizenship and change of status.

 

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The latest H1 visa proposal blow creates uncertainties for foreign techies

The latest H1 visa proposal blow creates uncertainties for foreign techies

Recently, the Trump administration announced through the Department of Homeland Security that the administration is considering preventing the extension of H1 visas. This is being done in accordance with the promise made by Trump during his 2016 campaign of keeping American jobs for the natives. Although fulfilment of campaign promises is usually seen as a good sign in any presidency, this proposal can end up sending back 500,000 or even more skilled employees to their countries. “The idea is to create a sort of ‘self- deportation’ of hundreds of thousands of Indian tech workers in the United States to open up those jobs for Americans,” said a U.S. source briefed by Homeland Security officials. According to latest reports, the proposal, which is a part of the “Buy American, Hire American” initiative from Trump’s campaign is being drafted by the leaders of Department of Homeland Security.

What are H-1 visas?

The US H-1B visa is a nonimmigrant visa that allows certain graduates to enter the US and work as professionals in various fields like IT, architecture, medicine, engineering, science, accounting, and finance. As long as the visa holder is a graduate and has a Bachelors in the mentioned field, they are eligible to work for a minimum of 3 years which can be later extended for another 3 years. Unlike other visas, for this, the employer has to petition for it 6 months before the visa is granted. Employers petition for H-1B when there are shortages of highly skilled professional Americans.

Effects of the proposal

This proposal can be actually passed by the Trump administration. If we go by the rules, the proposal is meant for curbing more than just the extension of the foreign employee’s stay. The administration has full authority to amend the rules as the H-1B visas were meant to curb the skilled worker’s shortage in the US and not as a way for visa holders to get immigration status. However, completely denying the extension to all the visa holders will not only send a maximum number of skilled professionals back to their countries but it can also affect the US economy. Many of these workers are small business owners who employ US citizens and help the growth of the country’s economy. Sending them back can result in a downfall which is yet to be analyzed. Some of these previous visa holders are now heading the biggest tech giants in the world. Which is the reason why the administrations before Trump worked in the favor of the visa to get more talent into the country?

Opposition

Ever since the news of possible changes and additional regulations in the H-1B visa segment came up after a US-based news agency McClatchey’s DC Bureau reported it last month, there are many parties that have voiced their opposition to the same. One comes from the US Chamber of Commerce which said, “It would tremendously be a bad policy to tell highly skilled individuals who are applying for permanent residency and have been working in the US for several years that they are no longer welcome. This policy would harm American business, our economy, and the country,” the chamber said in a statement. “Further, it is inconsistent with the goals of a more merit-based immigration system.” Meanwhile, even certain advocacy groups and lawmakers have criticized the plan that could easily self-deport 500,000 Indian Americans and said that such a plan will drain America of talent.

The voice of concern also comes from several congressmen holding office most of whom are of Indian origin. “Imposing these draconian restrictions on H-1B visa holders will tear families apart, drain our society of talent and expertise, and damage our relationship with an important partner, India.” Said Tulsi Gabbard, an influential Democratic Congresswoman. “The proposal could lead to the deportation of an estimated 500,000 to 750,000 Indian H-1B visa holders, many of whom are small business owners and job creators who are helping to build and strengthen our US economy. This brain drain will stifle innovation and decrease our ability to compete in the global 21st-century economy,” Gabbard said.

Another Indian-origin Congressman, Raja Krishnamoorthi put a very important point across. He said while it is important to improve and increase domestic employment, such a proposal can lead to kneecapping of American economy and discouraging companies from making bigger investments in the country. “I hope the administration immediately rejects the proposal,” he said.

No current distress among foreign techies

Currently, many foreign nationals working on the H-1B visa are not worried about the proposal. Many feel that amendment of the H-1B visa law and introducing new regulations is being done to strengthen the process and is not against visa holders as of now. They feel the administration is making good on their campaign promise in 2016 of curbing misuse of H-1B visas. Over the years, IT industry has seen the most number of H-1B visa holders and those who have lived for more than 6 years later go on to apply for Green card, eventually landing a US citizenship. As no big change is made overnight, foreign nationals in the US are currently optimistic about the administration considering how the end proposal can affect the status of current visa holders and their families. This stand on the news of the proposal that has shaken people in good position is a sharp contrast to how the nationals felt once Trump won the election back in 2016. An engineer who has been working on H-1B visa with a hardware giant for over eight years now, says, “There are no H-1B woes really. We (Indian techies) are all at a stage where we don’t want to keep worrying about this. We will see what to do if at all an order gets passed or this proposal becomes law.” Another New York-based executive working in a US-based financial firm mentions “Nothing related to H1B is being prominently reported and they are looking at immigration issues at a holistic level. Sometimes the H1B issues are seen by the liberals as a tool for filling technology requirements, while for the right wing conservation side, it is seen as something that is being misused by foreigners, specifically Indians.” Some also feel the step is being taken considering the Indian IT industry that misuses the visa regulation to get cheap labor working in the US, something the industry still denies.

The USCIS (the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services) can approve more than 330,000 visas each year and this year alone validated more than 680,000 by April 2017. A big share of these visas goes to the Indians which makes this proposal stressful for the techies living in the US. 82% of the H-1B visas are given to Indians which is why this proposal is more likely to affect the whole foreign Indian professionals living in the US. A total of 2,237,478 H1B visas from 2007-2017 were given to Indians alone and 302,293 of those were in 2017. The effects of such changes on the foreign nationals are something to be established once and if the proposal goes to the floor for approval.

About Author:
George W. Abbes is one of the top immigration lawyers in the US with over 30 years of experience in Immigration law and Criminal defense

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DACA Application Rejected? Immigration Lawyer in Orange County says try again!

A renowned Immigration lawyer in Orange County has shared with us the details on the recent news on DACA Application. Recently, temporary citizens of the U.S. were asked to submit their applications under DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) that previously allowed them to stay in the country. Now, however, the application was to ensure that their status remained the same and the criteria changed drastically. The last date of the application was October 5 but after a number of reports of applications getting rejected by terming them “Late” the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has offered another opportunity. This offer is only valid on applications that have been rejected due to delay in the U.S. Postal Service.

Anyone whose application has been rejected for such a cause can resubmit their applications keeping in mind the following points.

  1. USCIS will now accept applications under DACA that have documented proof like the Mailing Receipt or a Priority Mail Tracking Slip that clearly implies that the application was sent timely and that the delay happened due to the U.S. Postal Service.
  2. If you have no such proof and simply put stamps on your mail before sending it, there is still a chance. Get in touch with USPS to give you a letter of support in case your claim is valid and attach it to the new form.
  3. USCIS will not be accepting any applications that do not include individualized proofs like the ones mentioned above. This recent announcement will not help you if you mailed the application a day before the deadline because it is impossible for it to reach the office.
  4. USCIS will also look into DACA renewal cases which arrived at the office well before time but sat “in the box” till the deadline and were later rejected. They will be getting in touch with such cases to ask them to resubmit their applications.
  5. In case you still don’t receive any such notification, it is a good idea to still resubmit your DACA renewal application with enough evidence that clearly proves your application reached the office well before October 5.

USCIS had mentioned making more announcements in the matter meanwhile, it would be a good idea to get in touch with an immigration lawyer who can help you every step of the way. George W. Abbes is one of the most renowned immigration lawyers in Orange County with over 30 years of experience in the field. For any consultation regarding an immigration case, contact him immediately.

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AG Sessions on Denied Asylum Claims, Immigration Lawyer in Orange County

AG Sessions on Denied Asylum Claims, Immigration Lawyer in Orange County

A top-rated immigration lawyer in Orange County talks about the recent speech by the AG Sessions in the U.S. Immigration Court. A good amount of time was spent on the topic of claims denied for asylum in the country. It was asserted that the U.S. Immigration system was being overloaded by “fake” claims, a statement which wasn’t supported by any statistical or valid proof. The numbers cannot even be collected considering that the acceptance or rejection of a claim is mainly based on the applicant’s own account of what consequences are likely to occur. More than half of the candidates are rejected in the U.S. Immigration court but it does not necessarily mean their claims are fake. However, with the denial rates going up, one might believe the fake claim numbers to be on the rise.

Usually, many of these applicants are denied claims on the basis of many points.

  • Were a victim of widespread violence but cannot express the experience or connect it to some race or religion.
  • They spent too long in some other country while on their way to the U.S.
  • Mistakenly testified with minor or even a few discrepancies which usually leads the judge to find them “not credible” as an applicant.
  • Are a part of the group with violent blood history (part or guerrillas) which may lead to complete rejection for safety reasons or
  • They did not file an application before a year of arriving in the U.S. and are without any exception rule.

Most of these times, immigrant lawyers are said to be supporting and encouraging claims that have no basis for providing reasons and proper words of expression to be considered. However, a point to note is that when an applicant enters the country through the borders or the airport, it is solely on the basis of their reasons to immigrate or compelling case that the border officials even allow them to enter the country. Before this, there is no way a lawyer can be contacted by the applicant.

Another point to be noted is that the speech did mention that applying for asylum in the U.S. has no costs but rewards for meritless cases. Application for asylum does not require any cost, it is true. It is also true though that one cannot get anywhere without an immigration lawyer. With the immigration Court, Federal Circuit Court, immigration Board of Appeals etc. the applicant has to spend thousands of dollars in legal fees. This can definitely be avoided if a lawyer considers a case as a pro bono but that only happens if the case has enough stand and chance to definitely win at court. Realistically, such cases are rare.

An immigration lawyer does everything they can to ensure their clients get the outcome of their future they deserve. For this, it is essential to choose the right lawyer to advocate your case. George W. Abbes has been in the field of immigration law for 30 years now and has been able to provide justice for all his clients. In case of any consultation feel free to contact us anytime.

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Criminal Immigration Lawyer USA on Why Immigrants Duck Crime

It is a common misbelief that immigrants commit a crime. Criminal immigration lawyer, USA, Mr. Abbes believes that immigrants, no matter whether they are legal residents or illegal ones shy away from committing a crime because they are more afraid than one might guess. Have a look at five core reasons why immigrants avoid getting involved in a crime.

  1.  It May Highlights Them: Most immigrants avoid crime because it may bring them to the limelight and the authorities might realize that they are not legally living in the US.
  2.   It May Endangers Their Safety: Many immigrants also don’t feel safe in the country and are a part of a minority among a largely American community so they believe that if they are convicted of a crime, the white Americans might harm them.
  3.   It May Harm Their Loved Ones: According to criminal immigration lawyer, USA, Mr. Abbes immigrants also avoid crime because they know that their families might be targeted if they are involved in a crime, and they don’t expect their family members to go to the authorities if they are being harassed because they also don’t want the limelight.
  4.    It May Lead to Deportation and Removal: Most immigrants also shy away from crime because they know that in many criminal cases, the accused id directly deported by the ICE even without a hearing in the court. They don’t want to leave the prosperity the US has offered them.
  5.    It May Harm Their Blending Attempts: Criminal immigration lawyer, USA, Mr. Abbes also thinks that most immigrants like to be a part of the American community and you can see that by witnessing how many non-Americans are preparing for the Halloween feast right now. So, if they commit a crime, it would reduce their chances of being a part of the American community and harm their reputation.

If you are an immigrant who is accused or even convicted of a crime then you should hire a criminal immigration lawyer, USA, Mr. Abbes to ensure you don’t get thrown out of the US and your family remains safe.

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