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, LLCUrsula Elspeth Owen - UW
2 Today’s Agenda H-1B Temporary Workers Employment, Training, and Investment-based AlternativesFamily-Based OptionsExchange-Based OptionsExtraordinary & Unusual VisasVulnerable Class VisasQ&A
3 H-1B Temporary WorkersFor 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 CAPNew 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 institutionsNonprofit primary or secondary schoolsNonprofit clinical training instituteBut remember, moving from cap-exempt to cap- subject means going through the lottery again!
6 Employment, Training, Investment E-1/E-2 Investment VisaH-3 Trainee VisaTreaty Visas: TN, E-3, H-1B1Employment-based Green Cards: EB-2 and EB-3
7 E-1 Treaty TradersFor 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 employeesRequires visa application if coming from abroad, or petition to USCIS if changing status in U.S.“Treaty countries” available atPrincipal trade = More than 50% of total volume of trade should be with U.S. and treaty countrySubstantial = Trade sufficient to ensure a continuous flow of international trade
8 E-2 Treaty InvestorFor nationals of treaty countries investing a “substantial amount of capital” in a U.S. enterprise, and their employeesRequires 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 risksupport 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 TraineesFor trainees receiving training (aside from graduate medical education) not available in home country; includes trainees in special educationRequires sponsorship by U.S. training organization and petition to USCISNOT an employment visa; productive employment should be incidental to trainingTraining program must be carefully scheduled and show classroom timeTrainees are expected to to leave the U.S. at end of training period to use training acquired abroadCan 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 MexicoNAFTA occupations include:University and college teachersScientistsMedical professionals (with visa screen)List at america/professions-covered-by-nafta.html
11 More about TNsNo 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 yearsNo numerical capsForeign 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 AustraliaDoes require Labor Conditions Application and associated labor protections, and is otherwise similar to H-1BCan 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 consulateDoes require Labor Conditions Application and associated labor protections, and is otherwise similar to H-1BCan 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-4sJ-2sE-3DsL-2sT-2, -3, and -4sU-2, -3, -4, and -5sAdjustees (persons in the process of applying for a green card)The following can work without an EAD:Asylees/RefugeesAdd any you can think of; I’ll keep diggingRemember!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:ParentsSpousesChildren under the age of 21If these relatives are outside of the U.S., they can apply for an “immigrant visa” at a U.S. consulate.
18 Visa Bulletin IssuesPeople 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 yearsSpouses and children of LPRs in Mexico: 20 yearsMarried adult children of USC’s in the Philippines: 22 yearsSiblings of USC’s in the Philippines: 24 years
19 Visa Bulletin IssuesPeople 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 yearsSpouses and children of green card holders in Mexico: 20 yearsMarried adult children of USC’s in the Philippines: 22 yearsSiblings of USC’s in the Philippines: 24 yearsSee 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 VisitorsFor persons coming to the U.S. to engage in study- or work-based exchangeRequires sponsorship by a designated J-1 program sponsorMay result in 212(e) two-year foreign residence requirementChanges of status to J-1 disfavored, and expectation that J-1 will return home rather than changing to another visa in USCan be obtained for up to five years, depending on categoryCannot 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 yearsShort-term Scholar For short visits – up to 6 monthsSpecialist For people with unique skill sets – up to 1 yearIntern For students in foreign countries – up to 1 yearTrainee For experienced workers in foreign countries – up to 18 months
23 P-2s, P-3s, and QsP-2s for performers in designated reciprocal exchange programsP-3s for performers, artists, or teachers in culturally unique programsBoth require an advisory opinion from a labor organizationQs for participants in international cultural exchange programsCultural component must be integral & essential to training/employment componentUp to 15 months with one-year bar on repeat participationALL of these require a petition to USCIS.To expand
24 Extraordinary Class Visas O-1 Extraordinary AbilityP-1 AthletesEB-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 yearsP-1B: for internationally recognized entertainment groups; can get up to two yearsRequires:Sponsor petition to USCISAn advisory opinion from a peer organization, like the O-1
27 EB-1 and EB-2 Special Green Cards Burden of ProofEB-1A Extraordinary Ability*EB-1B Outstanding Researcher/ProfessorEB-2 Exceptional AbilityEB-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 StatusDACAAsylumS, T, and U visasVAWA petitions
29 Temporary Protected Status For persons from certain countries undergoing armed conflict or other humanitarian crisesApplicants must“Register” with USCIS during an open registration periodHave continuous physical presence and continuous residence in US for certain periodsCan get up to 18 months and employment authorizationTPS countries currently include: Guinea, Liberia, Sierra Leone, South Sudan, and Syria
30 DACADeferred Action for Childhood Arrivals – for persons brought to the U.S. as children.Applicants must:Apply to USCIS for considerationHave continuously resided in US since 06/15/2007Have been under 31 on 06/15/2012Can get employment authorization, but no path to green card or citizenship.
31 AsylumFor 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’tCan get work permit and green cardCan bring spouse or children to U.S.
32 S, T and U visasS 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 PetitionsFor battered spouses, children, or parents of US citizens and battered spouses or children of green card holdersRequires self-petition to USCISCan file without notification to abuser, or even if abuser is deceasedCan get work permit and eventual green card