WEEK OF APRIL 17, 2017
** Contributions to this Column are made by Attorney Caroly Pedersen, Esq. of the American Immigration Law Center – Call 954-382-5378
IMMIGRATION NEWS & UPDATES
U.S. Economists Tell Trump That Immigrants Benefit The U.S. Economy!
In a recent letter to the Trump Administration and Congress, nearly 1,500 economists made it clear that Immigrants provide benefits to our economy and give America important competitive advantages in the global economy. The letter emphasizes that Immigration boosts our country’s growth, jobs and wages and urges Congress to modernize the U.S. Immigration system, saying: “We urge Congress to modernize our immigration system in a way that maximizes the opportunity immigration can bring, and reaffirms continuing the rich history of welcoming immigrants to the United States,”. Among the benefits Immigrants bring to our economy, economist site that they start new businesses which then hire American workers, bring young workers who contribute to our Social Security system to offset baby boomer retirements, bring diverse skills that enable American companies to grow and increase the productivity of American workers; and that Immigrants are more likely to work in STEM — science, technology, engineering and math — and other innovative fields that drive economic growth. Good to know!
USCIS Announces That It Has Reached The Cap For This Year’s H-1B Work Visas
The USCIS began accepting H-1B work visa applications on April 3, 2017 for the 2018 Fiscal year which begins on October 1, 2017. As with previous years, the USCIS received the allowable number of such new H-1B work visa applications during the first week and will soon begin sending the hundreds of thousands of excess applications back to applicant companies. Under current law, there are only 65,000 new H-1B visas available each year for qualifying foreign professionals with Bachelor’s Degrees and an additional 20,000 for those with U.S. advanced degrees (known as the master’s cap).
THIS WEEK’S IMMIGRATION QUESTIONS & ANSWERS
Question: I was sworn in as an American Citizen in December of last year when my parents were here visiting me for the Christmas holiday. They came in early December and got 6 months to stay, so they have to leave by June 2017. Things are getting really tough in Venezuela with food shortages and lots of protests in the streets and I am urging my parents not to return because it’s not safe. My parents want to stay here with me, but are afraid if they don’t return when their time is up, they could be deported. My question is, can you file for their green cards now while they are here with me in Miami and can they stay here and wait or do they have to go back to Caracas and wait? What if their I-94 expires? If they can stay, how soon can I get them a work permit and social security card?
Answer: U.S. Citizens can sponsor their Parents to immigrate to the U.S., either through the U.S. Consulate if they are abroad, or by adjustment of status to U.S. Residency if they are in the U.S. and entered legally (even if they have overstayed their visa). Parents in the U.S. who entered legally can file for Residency and wait to receive their Green Card here – since there is no need to travel back to the home country. Parents of U.S. Citizens are in a special immigration category called “Immediate Relatives” which allows them to obtain a Green Card in the U.S. – even if their I-94 cards are expired.
Therefore, if your parents decide to stay, I can file for their Residency, so that they can adjust status to U.S. Permanent Residency (a Green Card) here in the U.S., it will not be a problem if their I-94 period of stay expires, even before applying. Currently, after applying for Residency, it takes about 3 months to receive a work permit and several more weeks to be issued a Social Security card. If filed properly, the entire Residency process for Parents of U.S. Citizens is about 6+ months from start to finish to receive a Green Card.
Question: My boyfriend is a green card holder since 2014 through his mom who sponsored him. I am here visiting him from Jamaica while he is on spring break from college. We plan to get married soon after he graduates from college this june. We were wondering, if I get married to him now, while I am in fort Lauderdale visiting him, will I be able to get some kind of temporary work permit to allow me to work here while he waits on getting his citizenship in a few years? I wanted to start working now so that he and I can save some money to buy our own apartment next year. Thanks
Answer: That is a great question. It’s important to understand that once you get married, as the spouse of a U.S. Resident , you will not obtain any immigration benefits, work permit or legal status in the U.S. until an Immigrant Visa becomes available for you, which may take about 1 ½ years in the F2A Immigration Category for Spouses and minor children of U.S. Residents. During that time, you must not overstay your time in the U.S., otherwise, you will not be eligible to immigrate here when the time comes. For now, you can get married, have a nice visit with him, then return home and begin waiting for the visa to be available. You should be able to come and visit him while your case is pending, as long as you do not stay in the U.S. for long periods of time. I hope this is helpful. You can find out more about sponsoring a spouse for Residency by visiting our Website at www.Immigratetoday.com or by calling our office at: 954-382-5378.
Helpful Immigration Tips You Can Use
Send USCIS Applications and Correspondence by U.S. Express Mail For Easy Tracking and Delivery Confirmation
Immigration applications and any follow-up correspondence with the USCIS are such important matters, that you should take the additional step of sending these documents to the USCIS by a safe, quick method, which allows you to verify the date and time of delivery to the USCIS. This is especially critical when you have received a Request For Additional Evidence from the USCIS and must provide the requested documentation by a specified deadline.
Many applicants do not know that if the response sent to the USCIS is postmarked before the deadline date, but is actually delivered and received by the USCIS after that date, the case is likely to be denied.
Not only is this a tragedy for the beneficiary of the immigration application, but in such instances, all the USCIS filing fees are lost, which in some cases can be thousands of dollars. Certified Mail is not delivered quickly and other private courier services like Fed-ex cannot be delivered to the regular USCIS P.O. box address.
So, since the USCIS is a government agency, like the U.S. Priority Mail (U.S. Postal Service), the safest way to send applications/documents and to safeguard against the unfortunate situation above, is to use the U.S. Priority Mai. The cost is about $17.00 and well worth it. You will receive a tracking# so you can go online and confirm delivery. Be sure to send any responses requested by the USCIS at least one week or more before the deadline. Also, make a copy of everything you send to the USCIS including the initial application, supporting documents, Money Order and all follow-up responses before sending to the USCIS and never send originals! Good luck!