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Immigration Law Newsletter April 2010

Important Update: USCIS Still Accepting FY 2011 H-1B Petitions

It is not too late to file for a H-1B petition. Just a few days ago the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), which started accepting petitions for H-1B petitions on April 1, announced that they had received approximately 13,500 petitions towards the general cap. They are accepting 65,000. They have also received 5,600 petitions for those who have earned a U.S. master’s degree or higher. That cap is set at 20,000 and those are exempt from the 65,000.

The H-1B General petition is used by U.S. businesses to hire foreign workers who are trained in specialty fields that require theoretical or technical expertise such as computers, science and engineering.

Petitions filed by those workers who have been counted against the cap in the past six years or by employers who are exempt from the cap are not counted towards the FY 2011 cap, which is mandated by the U.S. Congress.

If the cap is met, then the USCIS will issue an update as to that effect. Petitions are counted as they are physically received by the USCIS and not by the postmark date. The date that the USCIS informs the public that the cap has been reached may be different than the date that they receive the final petition. Updates regarding the number of petitions received may be found at http://www.uscis.gov/portal/site/uscis.

In this new era of immigration enforcement, the process is fairly complex. We’ve worked with quite a few individuals and businesses, ensuring that their petition is accurate and complete. Additionally, if your petition is received on the final date that the quota is filled, it may be randomly rejected. Thus, it’s best to get your petition in as soon as possible.

Those applying for a H-1B visa must prepare their petitions properly, filing all paperwork and following all regulatory guidelines. If this is not done, a person’s petition will be delayed and could be rejected. The starting work date for those filing can be no earlier than October 1, 2010.

We can help facilitate your application and make sure that all regulatory guidelines are met. We’ll perform all work in a timely manner and our experience, which is extensive in this area, allows us to perform our services quickly and in an exact manner. Contact us at 415-986-6186 to make an appointment.

How Success Stories Are Made

It’s always great to hear a success story and we have one for you. This involves a Ph.D. who received his degree from a prestigious U.S. university and his National Interest Waiver (NIW) petition.

It was in 2009 that Dr. X contacted the Ranchod Law Group and retained us to complete his NIW petition. Receiving a NIW is very difficult due to the criteria for approval. Basically, three things must be proven.

1. A petitioner must show that their work is of intrinsic merit.
2. They must also prove that it is of a national scope.
3. And they have to give convincing evidence their continued work is of greater benefit to the national interest of the U.S. than the laws that protect American workers.

Even if you prove the first two points, the third is very difficult to successfully illustrate and that means that a NIW is very difficult to secure. We focused on a few areas to build our case for Dr. X.

We argued that Dr. X’s educational background in combination with his experience provided the foundation necessary for the application. Additionally, we noted that he had been involved in numerous projects that were funded by U.S. National grants.

We advised him regarding what kinds of expertise and skills to emphasize in his petition. We also helped him in obtaining letters of recommendation from colleagues in his field of expertise, since these would be essential evidence. Upon receiving the letters, we reviewed them, edited many of the letters to focus on essential aspects of his experience, expertise and importance of his continuing contributions and submitted them to Dr X’s colleagues to review, and if they felt the changes were appropriate, for their approval.

After carefully compiling his documentation and writing a detailed supporting brief that powerfully brought together all of the important elements of his background in a manner that thoroughly supported our contention that Dr. X’s permanent residence status was in the national interest.

After submitting the petition with an adjustment of status application on November 20, 2009, the proposal was approved on January 14, 2010, making for a Happy New Year. In a mere seven weeks, approval had been given for his NIW and then just 12 weeks after our original petition was filed, Dr. X also saw his permanent residence application approved.

We had worked hard to help Dr. X go from a nonimmigrant temporary visa holder to a permanent resident in 12 weeks. Applying for a NIW is a daunting process. We would be honored to review your qualifications to help determine if you are a candidate for a national interest waiver petition. Contact us at 415-986-6186 to discuss whether you qualify for a National Interest Waiver . At the Ranchod Law Group we’re dedicated to working with individuals, Universities, and businesses to give them every opportunity to achieve their goals. Call us any time or email us at info@ranchodlaw.com to schedule a consultation.

The Latest News—Intercountry Adoption with Russia in Jeopardy

In compiling this month’s newsletter, I read this news story right at the deadline and felt a need to share it. There’s concern that what has been one of the richest resources for U.S. citizens in terms of intercountry adoption, Russia, may no longer be an option. The problem stems from an incident that has upset Russian authorities.

The incident I’m about to relate, which comes from Russian sources, has U.S. Department of State officials in talks with Russian officials in an attempt to avert a shutdown in intercountry adoption. This is what has allegedly occurred.

According to Russian news sources, a seven-year old boy who was adopted in 2009 was put on a plane on April 9, 2010. Russian sources have identified the boy as Artyom Savelyev. The boy is reported to have been placed on a plane in Tennessee alone and was flown to Washington State and then to Russia. He had in his possession a note that said the adoption was void and the boy was being returned to his homeland.

This abandonment has been internationally criticized and decried and it has many Russian officials, including Sergey V. Lavrov, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, demanding that adoptions to the U.S. be suspended. Lavrov has called for reforms in the process before any more adoptions are allowed. The U.S. Ambassador in Russia has also criticized the incident.

In the U.S., local authorities, according to the National Council for Adoption (NCA), are investigating the adoptive mother, Nancy Hansen. No charges have been filed as of yet.

Acting CEO of the NCA, Chuck Johnson, has said, “Child abandonment of any kind is reprehensible.” Johnson adds, “The actions of this mother are especially troubling because an already vulnerable, innocent child has been further victimized.”

I’m struck by the fact that there have been over 60,000 intercountry adoptions with Russia and that this incident, coupled with death of a Russian child died after his adoptive parents left him in a car last year in 100 degree temperatures, has jeopardized the entire process. It’s true that no system is perfect. And you can’t blame Russian officials for their concern or reactions. They can’t take this lightheartedly. Neither incident is defensible. And they should make us take a good hard look at the entire adoptive mechanism and process and make any reforms that are necessary.

But it’s my thought that after an investigation in the U.S. and carefully considered reforms in the process that intercountry adoption between Russia and the U.S. will continue. This terrible incident does illustrate very clearly the great responsibility that parents who engage in intercountry adoption bear. Parents who adopt within our country are accountable for their actions, as are any parents, but when you decide to pursue adoption beyond our borders there is the potential for creating an international incident. This is serious and a wakeup call for all of us.

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