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Life After F-1 – U.S. Visa Options for recent graduates

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Presentation on theme: "Life After F-1 – U.S. Visa Options for recent graduates"— Presentation transcript:

1 Life After F-1 – U.S. Visa Options for recent graduates
Lisa Ellis – Ellis Immigration Law, LLC Ursula Elspeth Owen - UW

2 Today’s Agenda H-1B Temporary Workers
Employment, Training, and Investment-based Alternatives Family-Based Options Exchange-Based Options Extraordinary & Unusual Visas Vulnerable Class Visas Q&A

3 H-1B Temporary Workers For temporary workers in a “specialty occupation”; can get up to six years, compatible with green cards (“dual intent”) Requires: Employer sponsorship and petition to USCIS; employer must pay all fees (USCIS and attorneys’) Position requiring at least a bachelor’s degree in a relevant field and paying the “prevailing wage” Foreign national must meet all requirements, including state licensure (where applicable) Lots of labor protections (no layoffs or lockouts, posting notice to US workers, no wage depression)

4 THE CAP New H-1Bs are numerically limited to 65,000/year (+20,000 for holders of Masters’ degrees). H-1Bs are allocated in the “H-1B lottery” starting on April 1. This year, USCIS received 233,000 petitions before they closed the lottery. New H-1B employment can start on October 1 of the same year.

5 Cap-Exempt Employers Institutes of higher education + affiliates
Nonprofit research institutions Nonprofit primary or secondary schools Nonprofit clinical training institute But remember, moving from cap-exempt to cap- subject means going through the lottery again!

6 Employment, Training, Investment
E-1/E-2 Investment Visa H-3 Trainee Visa Treaty Visas: TN, E-3, H-1B1 Employment-based Green Cards: EB-2 and EB-3

7 E-1 Treaty Traders For nationals of countries with treaty with the U.S. who are engaged in “substantial” and “principal” trade between their home country and the U.S., and their employees Requires visa application if coming from abroad, or petition to USCIS if changing status in U.S. “Treaty countries” available at Principal trade = More than 50% of total volume of trade should be with U.S. and treaty country Substantial = Trade sufficient to ensure a continuous flow of international trade

8 E-2 Treaty Investor For nationals of treaty countries investing a “substantial amount of capital” in a U.S. enterprise, and their employees Requires visa application if coming from abroad, or petition to USCIS if changing status in U.S. Investment must: be an active investment with funds at risk support more than investor and family “Treaty countries” available at “Substantiality test”- amount of funds invested are weighed against the total cost of purchasing or creating the enterprise

9 H-3 Trainees For trainees receiving training (aside from graduate medical education) not available in home country; includes trainees in special education Requires sponsorship by U.S. training organization and petition to USCIS NOT an employment visa; productive employment should be incidental to training Training program must be carefully scheduled and show classroom time Trainees are expected to to leave the U.S. at end of training period to use training acquired abroad Can receive up to 2 years total (or 18 months for special education exchange visitors)

10 NAFTA Professionals - TN
For Canadian and Mexican nationals who have offer of employment in NAFTA occupation and requisite qualifications. Canadians can apply at border; Mexicans must apply at U.S. Consulate in Mexico NAFTA occupations include: University and college teachers Scientists Medical professionals (with visa screen) List at america/professions-covered-by-nafta.html

11 More about TNs No Labor Conditions Application or petition to USCIS necessary – SUPER QUICK. Can be extended by filing with USCIS, or just leaving country and reapplying at border (for Canadians) or consulate (for Mexicans) No limit on number of years No numerical caps Foreign national must have required credentials (usually a bachelor’s or equivalent) under NAFTA

12 E-3 Australian Specialty Worker
For Australian nationals in a specialty occupation (“H- 1B Lite”) Requires employer sponsorship, but not petition to USCIS; can apply directly at US consulate in Australia Does require Labor Conditions Application and associated labor protections, and is otherwise similar to H-1B Can receive up to two years at a time; renewable indefinitely

13 H-1B1 Chilean or Singaporean Specialty Worker
For Chilean or Singaporean nationals in a specialty occupation (“H-1B Lite”) Different numerical cap (1400 for Chileans, 6400 for Singaporeans) Requires employer sponsorship, but not petition to USCIS; can apply directly at US consulate Does require Labor Conditions Application and associated labor protections, and is otherwise similar to H-1B Can receive up to 18 months at a time; renewable indefinitely

14 Employer-sponsored Green Cards
Require employer sponsorship and filings with both Department of Labor and USCIS EB-2: Advanced Degree Professional for positions requiring a master’s degree or above EB-3: Skilled Worker for positions requiring at least a bachelor’s degree Depending on category and country of origin, both of these categories may have substantial wait times.

15 Family-based Options Dependents: who can work? Family-based adjustment
Family-based waiting

16 Who can work? The following are eligible to work after applying for and receiving an Employment Authorization Card: Certain H-4s J-2s E-3Ds L-2s T-2, -3, and -4s U-2, -3, -4, and -5s Adjustees (persons in the process of applying for a green card) The following can work without an EAD: Asylees/Refugees Add any you can think of; I’ll keep digging Remember! Both spouses and children who are above the age of 14 can work!

17 Family-based adjustment
For “immediate relatives” of U.S. citizens inside the U.S. Requires petition by relative and subsequent application to USCIS. While that application is pending, they can receive travel and employment authorization. Immediate relatives include: Parents Spouses Children under the age of 21 If these relatives are outside of the U.S., they can apply for an “immigrant visa” at a U.S. consulate.

18 Visa Bulletin Issues People who aren’t immediate relatives may have long wait times to get their green cards. For example: See the monthly Visa Bulletin (http://travel.state.gov/content/visas/english/law-and- policy/bulletin.html) for wait times. Unmarried adult children of USC’s in the Philippines: 10 years Spouses and children of LPRs in Mexico: 20 years Married adult children of USC’s in the Philippines: 22 years Siblings of USC’s in the Philippines: 24 years

19 Visa Bulletin Issues People who aren’t immediate relatives may have long wait times to get their green cards. For example: Unmarried adult children of USC’s in the Philippines: 10 years Spouses and children of green card holders in Mexico: 20 years Married adult children of USC’s in the Philippines: 22 years Siblings of USC’s in the Philippines: 24 years See the monthly Visa Bulletin (http://travel.state.gov/content/visas/english/law-and- policy/bulletin.html) for wait times.

20 Exchange Visas J-1 Exchange Visitors
P-2, P-3, and Q Cultural Exchange Visitors

21 J-1 Exchange Visitors For persons coming to the U.S. to engage in study- or work-based exchange Requires sponsorship by a designated J-1 program sponsor May result in 212(e) two-year foreign residence requirement Changes of status to J-1 disfavored, and expectation that J-1 will return home rather than changing to another visa in US Can be obtained for up to five years, depending on category Cannot be used for tenured or permanent positions

22 J-1 Categories of Interest
Short-term Scholar/Research Scholar/Professor For observers, researchers, or professors – up to 5 years Short-term Scholar For short visits – up to 6 months Specialist For people with unique skill sets – up to 1 year Intern For students in foreign countries – up to 1 year Trainee For experienced workers in foreign countries – up to 18 months

23 P-2s, P-3s, and Qs P-2s for performers in designated reciprocal exchange programs P-3s for performers, artists, or teachers in culturally unique programs Both require an advisory opinion from a labor organization Qs for participants in international cultural exchange programs Cultural component must be integral & essential to training/employment component Up to 15 months with one-year bar on repeat participation ALL of these require a petition to USCIS. To expand

24 Extraordinary Class Visas
O-1 Extraordinary Ability P-1 Athletes EB-1 and National Interest Waivers

25 O-1 Extraordinary Ability
O-1A: Sciences, education, business, or athletics O-1B: Arts, motion picture, or television Requires evidence of extraordinary ability or achievement and advisory opinion from peer organization – OR you can just have a Nobel Prize, Academy Award, Grammy, Emmy, or Director’s Guild Award.

26 P-1 Athletes and Entertainment Groups
P-1A: for athletes or teams coming to the U.S. to compete in athletic events at an international level of performance; can get up to ten years P-1B: for internationally recognized entertainment groups; can get up to two years Requires: Sponsor petition to USCIS An advisory opinion from a peer organization, like the O-1

27 EB-1 and EB-2 Special Green Cards
Burden of Proof EB-1A Extraordinary Ability* EB-1B Outstanding Researcher/Professor EB-2 Exceptional Ability EB-2 National Interest Waiver* May be worthwhile for persons from backlogged countries, but are a lot of work. *Employer sponsorship not required

28 Vulnerable Class Visas
Temporary Protected Status DACA Asylum S, T, and U visas VAWA petitions

29 Temporary Protected Status
For persons from certain countries undergoing armed conflict or other humanitarian crises Applicants must “Register” with USCIS during an open registration period Have continuous physical presence and continuous residence in US for certain periods Can get up to 18 months and employment authorization TPS countries currently include: Guinea, Liberia, Sierra Leone, South Sudan, and Syria

30 DACA Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals – for persons brought to the U.S. as children. Applicants must: Apply to USCIS for consideration Have continuously resided in US since 06/15/2007 Have been under 31 on 06/15/2012 Can get employment authorization, but no path to green card or citizenship.

31 Asylum For persons who have experienced, or have a reasonable fear of, persecution based on their race, religion, nationality, political views, or social group. Must apply to USCIS within one year of arriving in U.S., or have good reason why they didn’t Can get work permit and green card Can bring spouse or children to U.S.

32 S, T and U visas S for informants and witnesses – must be filed for by US law enforcement agency T for trafficking victims – must include declaration from US law enforcement officer U for certain crime victims who participated in investigation or prosecution – must include certification from US law enforcement agency All three eligible for work permit and eventual green card

33 VAWA Petitions For battered spouses, children, or parents of US citizens and battered spouses or children of green card holders Requires self-petition to USCIS Can file without notification to abuser, or even if abuser is deceased Can get work permit and eventual green card

34 Any Questions?


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