H1B VISA to Green Card Process

H1B VISA to Green Card Process

Getting a VISA to the US is nearly everyone’s dream at one point to become a part of the nation of freedom and independence. Though there are different categories of getting a permanent residency at the US, usually work permits in the US are graded as H1B. In case you want to change your job while still being on a H-1B visa, there is a provision for that as well.  Those who own H1B VISA are able to live and work in the US for 6 years, after which they may either go back to their native country or re-apply for VISA as a permanent resident.

Following are the steps that need to be taken in order to turn H1B VISA into a Green card. Bear in mind that only a sponsor employer can help you change your work permit from H1B to a permanent residency, so before you take any step, ensure your employer is willing to assist you.

Step 1: Labor Certification by PERM

The first step is Program Electronic Review Management (PERM) which is a necessity in obtaining a work based Green Card (categories include EB2 and EB3). When Department of Labor or DOL approves the PERM request, the next step involves filing a green card petition which is done by the sponsoring employer.

Following are a part of the PERM Labor Verification:

Prevailing Wage Determination:

The PWD requires providing details of the employee regarding his job description, requirements and location. The DOL then issues a PWD which the employer will have to use as the base salary requirement in the PERM phase and after.

Recruitment Process:

In this phase, the employer has to go through a recruitment phase where they publish an advertisement, usually of the same job, to see whether an already existing American worker is able to do the same job or not. The process involves posting the job in two Sunday newspaper job section, one posting in the State’s workforce agency and any three other advertisements.

ETA Form 9089:

Once the PWD and the recruitment phases are completed, the employer will have to file an ETA Form 9089 to DOL, which is Application for Employment. This can be done either through the mail or electronically.

Step 2: Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker

When the ETA Form 9089 gets approved, the sponsoring employer must file the Form I-140. Here is the “Ability to Pay” requirement for PERM and I-140 petitions. This sets the ground for the fact that the employee is eligible for an immigrant visa and the employer has enough resources to pay wages which are inscribed in the PERM stage. This form can be filed simultaneously to the I-485 Form which is for Adjustment of Status (known as concurrent filing).

Step 3: Adjustment of Status

This is the final stage for applying for permanent residency. Also known as the Adjustment of Status, it is done by filing the I-485 Form. Once the form gets approved, the employee will initially get a stamp on his passport and will later be handed the physical green card. If the employee wishes, he or she can also file for the EAD or the Employment Authorization Document and the Advance Parole.

Congratulations you have successfully gone from an H1B VISA to a Green card!

H-1B Executive Order Issued by Trump Administration

H-1B Executive Order Issued by Trump Administration

The H-1B Executive Order that Trump had been promising for months finally arrived on April 18, 2017.  President Trump signed the H-1B Executive Order at a Snap-on Tools factory in Wisconsin.  Dubbed the “Buy American and Hire American” executive order, most of what it provides is up to debate.

The executive order really lacks specifics and places all the burden on defining what changes will come to H-1B visa policy on other branches of the executive, like Homeland Security, Department of Justice, State Department, and the Department of labor.

The executive order does not really address H-1B visa holders very much, it provides:

Sec. 5.  Ensuring the Integrity of the Immigration System in Order to “Hire American.”  (a)  In order to advance the policy outlined in section 2(b) of this order, the Secretary of State, the Attorney General, the Secretary of Labor, and the Secretary of Homeland Security shall, as soon as practicable, and consistent with applicable law, propose new rules and issue new guidance, to supersede or revise previous rules and guidance if appropriate, to protect the interests of United States workers in the administration of our immigration system, including through the prevention of fraud or abuse.

(b)  In order to promote the proper functioning of the H-1B visa program, the Secretary of State, the Attorney General, the Secretary of Labor, and the Secretary of Homeland Security shall, as soon as practicable, suggest reforms to help ensure that H-1B visas are awarded to the most-skilled or highest-paid petition beneficiaries.

The H-1B Executive Order only mentions H-1B visas three times.

The first time H-1B visas are specifically mentioned is in the definition section to link them to the defined term “petition beneficiaries.”  The next two times are from the section above.  Basically, all the executive order does is tell other executive branches of government to “suggest reforms” so that H-1B visas go to the best, brightest, and highest paid visa holders.

We at Work Visas Solutions believe the forthcoming regulations will reflect an “America First” H-1B whereby the visas are given to people educated in the United States and to the highest paid applicants.

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H-1B Visa Applications Drop 16% from 2016

H-1B Visa Applications Drop 16% from 2016

H-1B Visa Applications drop almost 16% in Donald Trump’s first lottery. There is an upside, your chance of being awarded an H-1B visa increased!!!  In 2016, USCIS received 236,000 applications for only 85,000 available H-1B visas, or only about 36% chance of being awarded.  This year because USCIS only received 199,000 H-1B visa applications for the same 85,000 spots.  This means that the average applicants chances of being awarded an H-1B increased to 42%!!  That’s great news for talented internationals that want to stay in the United States after their education.

H-1B Visa Applications Drop 16% to 199,000

USCIS announced:

USCIS received 199,000 H-1B petitions during the filing period, which began April 3, including petitions filed for the advanced degree exemption. On April 11, USCIS used a computer-generated random selection process, or lottery, to select enough petitions to meet the 65,000 general-category cap and the 20,000 cap under the advanced degree exemption. USCIS will reject and return all unselected petitions with their filing fees, unless the petition is found to be a duplicate filing.

The agency reported the H-1B visa applications drop, then conducted the selection process for the advanced degree exemption first. All unselected advanced degree petitions then became part of the random selection process for the 65,000 cap.  So having a master’s degree somewhat increases your chance because first you are placed in the pool of 20,000, then if you fail to be selected, the application is dumped into the general lottery for 65,000 remaining H-1B visas.

As announced on March 3, USCIS has temporarily suspended premium processing for all H-1B petitions, including cap-exempt petitions, for up to six months. USCIS will continue to accept and process petitions that are otherwise exempt from the cap. Petitions filed on behalf of current H-1B workers who have been counted previously against the cap will also not be counted towards the congressionally mandated FY 2018 H-1B cap. USCIS will continue to accept and process petitions filed to:

* Extend the amount of time a current H-1B worker may remain in the United States;

* Change the terms of employment for current H-1B workers;

* Allow current H-1B workers to change employers; and

* Allow current H-1B workers to work concurrently in a second H-1B position.

 

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StartUp Visa Rules Finalized

StartUp Visa Rules Finalized

A Startup Visa may be just the thing for Silicon Valley.  Actually, startups have sprouted from coast to coast in the United States.  A startup visa enables these young companies to have the world’s best and brightest on their team.  Everyone knows that the team is the most important factor contributing to a startup’s success.  Having an immigrant on the team can lead to huge successes.

immigrants create one in four tech startups

Innovative foreign-born entrepreneurs are super important to the U.S. economy.  Immigrants founded roughly one in four STEM startups between 2006 and 2012.  In June of 2013 publicly traded immigrant founded companies had a combined market cap of over $900 billion dollars.  The stock market is over 30% higher now than in June of 2013, so the immigrant founded businesses are worth over $1 trillion dollars today.

According to data released by the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS),  only 2,940 entrepreneurs will qualify for startup visas each year. That number pales in comparison to the 85,000 annual H-1B visas. USCIS published its final rule for startup visas, also called entrepreneur visas, on January 17, 2017.  DHS issued the visas under its discretionary parole authority to enhance entrepreneurship, innovation and job creation in the United States.

The details of the startup visa limit the number of foreign born founders to only three per start up.  PayPal, for example, had six founders.  Only one was American.  Tech startups reflect the STEM education landscape, which is mostly foreign born.  50% of Google’s founders are foreign born (of course there were only 2).  The restrictions on the startup visa do not stop with the limits on how many of the founders are foreign born.

The startup visa provides a temporary stay of thirty months, with possible extension  of another 30 months.  This is one year less than the H-1B visa, which lasts up to six years.  Facebook did not go public until eight years after it was founded.  Snapchat only took five years.  And these are a bad example of a startup because of how wildly successful they have been from the start.  Most of these visa holders may be forced to return home before their startup can really take off.

The startup visa makes a number of assumptions as well.

The applicant must prove that the startup the foreign entrepreneur owns has a substantial potential for rapid growth and job creation.  The vast majority of startups do the exact opposite.  Amazon employs many people, but they grew their base by taking retail jobs from other companies.  Uber employees many drivers, which took market share from taxicabs.  Both these companies are working toward more automation.

Price Waterhouse Cooper estimates that by the 2030s upward of 40% of American workers may lose their jobs to robots.  What if the startup made these robots?  Would it qualify for the startup visa?  Probably not because to get the visa the applicant must prove that his or her stay will provide a significant public benefit to the U.S.  The applicant must also prove that the startup has received a significant investment of capital from qualified U.S. investors with established records of success.  So this hypothetical robot startup would attract a lot of capital because of its ability to disrupt almost 40% of the workforce, but run smack into the problem of being a significant detriment to the U.S workforce.

Meanwhile, the robot startup could have structured its corporate governance to provide for the founder to be an employee, then entered three H-1B visa applications for the founder for the various roles that he played at the company into the H-1B lottery that has approximately 33% chance of getting the work visa.  The company incurs three application fees of approximately $1,200 instead of just one fee for the startup visa.  However, the company may save on attorney fees because H-1B applications do not require the hoops that the startup visa does.  The startup benefits with an extra year of having the founder legally work in the United States, plus dual intent so founder can pursue the permanent residence process.

 
If you have any questions about your corporate immigration needs, please email us with the button below.

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H-1B Visa Abuse and Policy Change

H-1B Visa Abuse and Policy Change

H-1B Visa abuse complaints echo all across America.  60 Minutes recently did a lead story on its popular news program profiling the horror story of experienced American IT workers losing their jobs to young H-1B visa holders.  These visa holders all come from India and arise from contractual relationships for IT staffing that employers make with companies like InfoSys, Tata consulting, and other similar companies.

The Trump Administration already has a draft executive order regarding work visas, read it here.  The order never became a reality, at least not yet.  Perhaps the Trump administration is waiting until after the flood of H-1B visa applications before issuing the executive order.  All the H-1B visa applications for private employers begin arriving at USCIS after April 3rd.  By Friday April 7th, over 230,000 H-1B applications will compete for only 85,000 visas.  Historically, a lottery decides at random who gets the visas.

H-1B Visa Abuse comes from gaming the lottery

The problem with the visa lottery is that about 60 percent of the applications come from those eight Indian IT staffing firms.  As a result, those eight companies get 60 percent of the H-1b visas.  Then American employers hire these low paid visa holders and fire their experienced IT staff.  The Trump administration’s draft executive order does not exactly state what will be done to fix this issue. It provides:

consider ways to make the process for allocating H-1B visas more efficient
and ensure that beneficiaries of the program are the best and the brightest

Trump suspended premium processing, which shortened the time period to award the H-1B visa from two weeks to the current processing time of over six months!!  Perhaps once all the H-1B visa applications arrive, Trump will announce his administration is suspending the lottery.  The administration can then handpick what applications are approved, and which are denied.

We at Work Visas paid close attention to the USCIS announcement suspending premium processing. USCIS specifically stated that expedited processing will continue.  As a result, we are hard at work crafting methods to make our H-1b visa applications truly “America First.”  We concentrate on American educated STEM grads.  We believe that if the students have been educated and trained in America, they are the best candidates to stay in America to return their skills back to the country that educated them.

By keeping these great minds in America, it can maintain its competitive edge in technological innovation.  By doing away with the lottery H-1B Visa abuse will become a thing of the past.

 

 

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