Immigration Lawyer Blog

Hong Kong Migration Shifts in Sight?

Hong Kong is one of the most extraordinary cities in the world. Having the privilege to earn a Masters degree in International and Chinese Law, making regular business trips as a immigration lawyer, and just out right touring Hong Kong, I have spent a lot of time in the city. It’s fascinating to see the mixing of the cultures, generally the western business community and the local Hong Kong business community. To complement the cutting edge business and legal community, there is a wealth of art and culture. As one person put it, Hong Kong is New York City on steroids. The recent protests in Hong Kong raise the question, what is the attraction to Hong Kong. Why do so many business people, lawyers, artists, and tourists come to Hong Kong? Why do local Hong Kongers choose to live in Hong Kong? As an immigration lawyer, this topic is particularly interesting as it perhaps sets the table for an upcoming migration trend.… Continue reading…

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Q&A: What are the nuts and bolts of an H1B visa?

The H1B work visa is one of the most popular employment based temporary visas. This non-immigrant visa allows foreign workers of a “specialty” occupation to work and reside in the United States for up to six years, in addition to their spouse and dependent children. In an H1B petition, the employer is the petitioner, while the employee is the beneficiary. It is the sole responsibility of the employer to file the H1B petition with USCIS, meaning foreign individuals cannot petition themselves for H1B status. Beneficiaries must be able to prove that they have an offer of gainful employment by a U.S. business, and that the job requires specific, sophisticated knowledge. In addition, a U.S. employer must satisfy several requirements such as verification that they will pay the prevailing wage or higher, and that the employment of a foreign worker will not harm conditions for U.S. workers. The cap for H1B visas is set at 65,000 per year, however, there is a special provision that allows an additional 20,000 visas for graduates of U.S.… Continue reading…

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The Regression of EB-5 Investor Visas for China

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Introduction

The purpose of this article is to inform the reader of the recent announcement that the China EB-5 category will, for the first time in the program’s history, become unavailable. While those pending within the program should be processed at the beginning of the next fiscal year, this announcement poses problems for future China EB-5 applicants. It seems likely that, without intervention from congress, the China EB-5 program may become oversubscribed and may experience a visa retrogression.

EB-5 Overview

The EB-5 immigrant program allows for lawful permanent residence in the United States through qualifying investment and job creation. The program offers investors a conditional two-year green card with the opportunity, at the end of those 2 years, to apply for permanent lawful resident status. To qualify, investors must be able to invest $1,000,000 into a new commercial enterprise or into a Regional Center. Investors may invest $500,000, instead of the $1,000,000, into a Targeted Employment Area (TEA).… Continue reading…

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2014 DOL Statistics for PERM Applications

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The Department of Labor published statistics for cases filed in 2014, year to date.  The statistics can be found at this link: http://www.foreignlaborcert.doleta.gov/pdf/PERM_Selected_Statistics_FY2014_Q3TD.pdf.

Some interesting observations are PERM applications are down 7% from 2013 year to date.  The decrease in PERM numbers can either be attributed to the backlog or retrogression seen for China and India.  Its unlikely that a decrease in jobs is the reason as it appears that the department of labor jobs numbers have indicated a creation of jobs.  As an Immigration lawyer we get to hear a lot of feedback from Employers.  Unless there is a reason to extend the H1B numbers beyond 6 years, there is not as much motivation to file PERM Applications for Indian and China born Beneficiary’s.

Another interesting statistic is that India accounted for 21,447 or 55% of all applications.  China only accounted for 7% of the PERM applications.  Clearly, Indian PERM applications are the majority of the filings.… Continue reading…

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Factors In Proving An L1B Specialized Knowledge Petition

l1b visa

It’s no secret that L1 visas have been heavily scrutinized leading to increase requests for evidence and denial rates the last 5 or 6 years.  Approximately 50% of cases are receiving requests for evidence and as opposed to the 80+% historical approval rate there are 60% to 70% approval rates.  This is unfortunate given the shortage of available H1B visas due to cap restrictions and an improving job market.  As an immigration lawyer, it is frustrating when a client would like to pursue an L1 visa, their case looks to meet the requirements of an L1 visa, but we need to explain the increased scrutiny that will be imposed on the case due to harsher adjudications the last 5 or 6 years.  While the economy was in recovery mode from 2009 to 2012, it was not as much of an issue as most L1 workers are eligible for an H1B visa.  However, since the demand for H1B visas has recovered in 2013 and 2014, the alternative to an L1 visa may not be readily available.  Making an L1 visa work is the only option in many cases.  The American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) sent a freedom of information request to USCIS for a list of recent L1A and L1B appealed decisions.  AILA provided a summary of each case in which our immigration lawyers reviewed in detail and conducted our own research.  Our scope of research was to isolate some of the common denominators for approved cases and denied cases.  While adjudications are often inconsistent, we find this research to be very insightful.… Continue reading…

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