December 4, 2013 § Leave a Comment
If so, the Military Accessions Vital to the National Interest (MAVNI) program may suit them. Today, about 24,000 non-citizens serve on active duty, and about 5,000 legal permanent residents (LPR) enlist for active duty each year.
Recently, the Pentagon resumed a unique program to encourage non-citizen enrollment that had been suspended in 2009. The focus of The Military Accessions Vital to National Interest (MAVNI) recruitment pilot is to recruit certain legal aliens whose skills are considered to be vital to the national interest, specifically those holding skills in languages and medicine.
Looking for physicians, nurses, and experts in language with associated cultural backgrounds, this pilot program hopes to recruit up to 1,500 people through May 15, 2014. The big advantage to this program is that, those so recruited will be given an expedited path to US citizenship. For accepted recruits, naturalization can occur right after basic training, or in about 10 weeks, as opposed to waiting 5 years for the right to apply for US citizenship.
To be eligible for MAVNI, applicants must meet the following criteria:
1) The applicant must be in a nonimmigrant visa category or an asylee, refugee, Temporary Protected Status (TPS);
2) The applicant must have been in valid status in one of these categories for at least two years immediately prior to the enlistment date;
3) The applicant must not have had any single absence from the United States of more than 90 days during the two-year period immediately preceding the date of enlistment.
It should also be noted that an applicant is still eligible even if they have an application for adjustment of status to lawful permanent residence pending.
Historically, non-citizens have long served in the US military. During the founding days of this country, many individuals embraced this vision, fighting for this belief during the Revolutionary War. Since then, the US Government has passed a series of acts and agreements, such as the Lodge Act of 1950 and the Military Bases Agreement of 1947, allowing non-citizens to serve in the US military.
If you have any questions on this topic or other immigration matters, contact us! We would love to hear from you, let us know how we’re doing and hope we can help.
November 20, 2013 § Leave a Comment
Time after time we are reminded of the devastating impact of natural disasters.
Along with physical destruction and loss of life, these disasters impact a variety of different people and businesses. Typhoon Haiyan (referred to as “Yolanda” by Philippine authorities) formed off of the coast of the Federated States of Micronesia on November 2, 2013 and passed through the Philippines on November 8, 2013.
Recorded as one of the strongest storms on the planet, Typhoon Haiyan left a wake of destruction leaving thousands in precarious situations.
On November 15, 2013, the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) issued a statement reminding Filipino nationals of possible immigration relief measures, if requested. Understanding that natural disasters sometimes make establishing and maintaining a lawful immigration status difficult, USCIS has issued the following measures to ease the process for people affected from this disaster:
- Change or extension of nonimmigrant status for an individual currently in the United States, even when the request is filed after the authorized period of admission has expired;
- Extension of certain grants of parole made by USCIS;
- Extension of certain grants of advance parole, and expedited processing of advance parole requests;
- Expedited adjudication and approval, where possible, of requests for off-campus employment authorization for F-1 students experiencing severe economic hardship;
- Expedited processing of immigrant petitions for immediate relatives of U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents (LPRs);
- Expedited adjudication of employment authorization application, where appropriate; and
- Assistance to LRPs stranded overseas without immigration or travel documents, such as Permanent Resident Cards (Green Cards).
If you, a family member, or someone you know is experiencing immigration difficulties from Typhoon Haiyan, or have questions on what we can do, please give GoffWilson a call; we are ready to help!
April 8, 2013 § Leave a Comment
Employers and human resource professionals, do you have questions about how to complete the new 2013 I-9 Form? Don’t miss our training seminar, “The Brand New I-9 Form: How to Complete it & E- Verify for 2013” on Thursday May 16 at the Delta Dental Auditorium in Concord, NH.
We urge you to register early as this event always sells out quickly.
With a revised format and e-verification stipulations, it’s essential you understand how to properly complete the new I-9 which will be required for all new hires starting on May 7, 2013. We’ll cover everything you need to know about the new I-9 Form and how to complete it properly. We will also review E-verify. The workshop will offer extensive I-9 compliance training, with topics including:
- Lists of Acceptable Documents
- Receipt Rules Samples
- Establishing Office Procedures to Ensure Compliance
- Issue Spotting, Retention Requirements and Social Security
- No-Match Letters and E-Verify Requirements
- Federal Contractor and I-9 Compliance Resource Guide
In addition to intensive I-9 training, attendees will receive three hours of HRCI credit, the updated version of the GoffWilson proprietary I-9 manual, and breakfast. Space is limited and this event sells out fast, so register today to reserve your seats!
February 8, 2013 § Leave a Comment
Are the number of H visas released on their way up?
Not just yet, but as you have probably heard by now, there is serious discussion going on in the United States Congress to raise the H visa cap.
If the cap is raised, more of these coveted immigration visas would be available for highly skilled candidates. Applications are accepted each year on April 1 for for specialized knowledge professions.
To keep you up to date, here is what we know so far:
- The cap would be floating between 115,000 and 300,000 depending on demand (currently it is fixed at only 65,000 and another 20,000 for those with advanced degrees from U.S. schools);
- The proposal would eliminate the “advanced degree” cap;
- It would allow for employment authorization for spouses in H-4;
- Those already in H could again apply for visa revalidation within the U.S. ( a step eliminated by regulations several years ago);
- It eliminates quotas for STEM degrees.
The H-1B cap increase provisions will be hotly debated and it’s an issue to be followed closely if you’re an employer who hires skilled foreign workers. We will keep you posted on all H visa developments so please check our blawg for the latest news.
If you or your company or someone you know wants to apply for an H-1B Visa, now is the time to do it for employment beginning October 1, 2013. There are limited visas available. Don’t get left out! Contact GoffWilson today. Immigration law is what we do!
January 16, 2013 § Leave a Comment
The E-2 visa is one of the most advantageous nonimmigrant visas available to foreigners who want to stay and work in the United States.
This investment visa is available for nationals of 80 countries with which the U.S. maintains a treaty of commerce and navigation. The applicant must be coming to the U.S. to develop and direct the operations of an enterprise in which she has invested. The E-2 visa is not for self-employment, but rather to create jobs for U.S. workers. The foreigner must be prepared to invest a substantial amount of capital.
The following are required for an E-2 visa:
First, the investor must have the necessary funds in his control and they must be irrevocably committed to the business enterprise. Having an intent to invest is not sufficient. It cannot be a speculative business. You must show:
- proof of incorporation
- lease or purchase of business premises
- asset-purchase agreements
- equipment purchase agreements
Second, the investor should make a “substantial” investment in the planned business. U.S. Consulates have considerable latitude in determining what is a substantial investment. Typically, $100,000 is the threshold investment amount to be considered viable for an E visa. Although, this does not mean that anything over $100,000 is guaranteed E-2 visa. an approval.
Third, the investor must prove that the funds are “at risk.” Thus, if the business fails, the money would be lost. Money secured against the new business assets is not allowed for an E-2 visa as there is no risk involved.
Lastly, and perhaps most importantly, the investment cannot be “marginal.” A marginal enterprise is one that only generates sufficient income to support the investor and his family. The goal of an E-2 visa is to create jobs for U.S. workers. Thus, the E-2 investment must be able to generate enough income to pay other workers. A strong, well-written business plan may accomplish this goal.
The duration of the E-2 visa is initially two years and it can be extended for as long as the business continues to operate. The application is typically made directly at the U.S. Consulate in the country where the foreigner resides. In addition, unlike some other nonimmigrant visas (such as the H visa) the spouse of an E-2 visa holder can also apply for work authorization and is free to work anywhere for any employer.
There are other details involved in an E-2 visa application (such as the ability to allow non-investors to obtain an E-2 visa to be a manager or similar). We recommend you contact us with your questions about the E-2 visa for you or someone you know. It’s what we do!
December 13, 2012 § 1 Comment
The United States economy is showing encouraging signs of job growth, prompting employers to call for qualified foreign workers to fill specialized knowledge positions in high technology, engineering, and other sectors.
Sadly, many employers have discovered that there are no H visas available for these workers who are so highly sought after. Beginning on Oct. 1, 2013, there will be only 65,000 visas available.
Last year, all available visas were claimed in less than 10 weeks. Our law firm focuses on immigration law and we expect the demand will be even higher this year.
While waiting for the opportunity to apply for an H visa, we advise employers to consider an alternative referred to as a B-1 in lieu of an H-1B.
To qualify, applicants must meet all of the requirements of an H visa: The job is a specialty occupation and requires at least a bachelor’s degree, and the prospective candidate has the requisite education/work experience.
The major differences are:
- The foreigner is coming to the U.S. for a very short period of time, generally no more than six months.
- There is a foreign company with an office that will pay the wage in the foreign country for all the time in the U.S.
- The U.S. based company will at the most cover incidental expenses.
- The foreign candidate can establish ties to her country assuring return at the conclusion of the work visa.
The entire application is made at the U.S. Consulate abroad. The application includes all that would be required for an H-1B visa, plus the needs of the B-1 visa.
In limited situations, a B-1 visa in lieu of an H-1B visa could fill the temporary need for a U.S. business to hire a foreign employee. Meanwhile, mark your calendar for February 1, 2013, which is when you should begin planning for the filing of an H visa for April 1, 2013, the first day that an application may be filed for an Oct. 1, 2013 start. You don’t want to miss the opportunity to employ that high tech worker from outside the U.S. and fill your opening. If this sounds like something that might help your business, please give GoffWilson a call. It is what we do and we are ready to help!
December 5, 2012 § Leave a Comment
Recipients of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals will soon be able to travel outside of – and return to – the United States under limited circumstances. These changes are part of the regulations issued in June 2012 by the Department of Homeland Security.
Travel under these regulations for a DACA-approved person will be available once the need for such travel has been established to the satisfaction of USCIS. Following approval, the individual traveler will be issued an Advance Parole document that they will need to present at the time of departure and on return to the U.S. « Read the rest of this entry »