IMtro Steve Murphy The Class of 2004/2005 La Clase de 2004/2005

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3 Staff Publishers MICHAEL BANDER DONNA SCARLATELLI Editor in Chief CRISTIANE GIRÃO Copy Editor STEPHEN BANDER Managing Editor EMILIO MARTÍNEZ Commercial Director MONICA LOPERA Grafphic Design CARLOS E. MORALES ANDRÉS NEIRA MIGUEL ANGEL LÓPEZ cos.com Illustrations AL DONADO Translations SANTIAGO BOLIVAR ANDREA BOLIVAR JULIANA DELGADO THE HIRING OF A LAWYER IS AN IMPORTANT DECISION THAT SHOULD NOT BE BASED SOLELY ON ADVERTISEMENTS. BEFORE YOU DECIDE, ASK ABOUT OUR QUALIFICATIONS AND EXPERIENCE. LA CONTRATACION DE UN ABOGADO ES UNA DECISION IMPORTANTE QUE NO DEBE SER BASADA SOLAMENTE EN PUBLICIDAD. ANTES DE DECIDIR SOLICITE INFORMACION SOBRE NUESTRA EXPERIENCIA Y CALIFICACIONES. The Immigration Magazine Spring 2005 Primavera IMtro Steve Murphy The Class of 2004/2005 La Clase de 2004/2005 IM Green Donna Scarlatelli and Emilio Martinez New Green Card Era Nueva Era de Green Card IM Bander Michael Bander The Ins and Outs of the Visa Waiver Program Los Pro y Contras de la VWP (Visa Waiver Program) IM Greener Donna Scarlatelli PERM Update Actualización PERM Dr. EM Emilio Martínez A Cuban Story Una Historia Cubana Contents/Sumario IMcredible Gail Rawson The Man in the White Turban El Hombre del Turbante Blanco BILINGUAL/BILINGÜE IM American Stephen M. Bander Did you lose your U.S. citizenship? Do you want it Back? Ha perdido su ciudadanía Americana? La quiere recuperar? IMFormed Pamela Toyos Crisis and Opportunity: The H1-B story Crisis y Oportunidad: La Historia de una H1-B IM Back Iris de Jesus My Life Back Mi Vida fue Devuelta IM Around 34 Cristiane Girão

4 IMtro THE CLASS OF 2004/ 2005 by Stephen Murphy LA CLASE DE 2004/ 2005 por Stephen Murphy Looking for some tile, cheap? How about some diamonds, not cheap? Or Italian or Argentine wines? How about services: need any commercials or videos filmed? Import/export? Computers? Or our favorite professional services - market research or secretarial? You ve come to the right place - welcome to the lawful permanent resident class of 2004/2005. This issue of IM is all about our clients; in this and all of our issues, you will read about individuals with extraordinary talents, grievous immigration wrongs that are righted, individuals fleeing persecution, and dynamic applications of the law by heroic lawyers. This article, however, has no such drama. It is about ordinary cases that worked their way through the system with ordinary results - approvals! Está buscando alguna losa barata? Qué tal unos diamantes, no- baratos? o vinos Italianos o Argentinos? Que tal servicios: necesita algún comercial o que le graben algún video? Importar/exportar? Computadores? ó nuestros favoritos servicios profesionales, secretariado e investigación del mercado? Ha llegado al sitio correcto- Bienvenido a la clase de 2004/2005. Esta edición de IM es acerca de nuestros clientes. En esta y en todas nuestras ediciones siempre leerá acerca de individuos con talentos extraordinarios, dolorosos errores de inmigración que son corregidos, individuos sintiendo persecución y aplicaciones creativas de la ley hechas por abogados heroicos. Este artículo sin embargo no tiene tal drama. Se trata de casos ordinarios que pudieron pasar a través del sistema con resultados ordinarios: Aprobaciones! 4 IM The Immigration Magazine

5 IMtro The Class of 2004/2005 all started their labor certification ( LC ) process in the Winter of On December 20, 2000, President Clinton signed a bill that reinstated Section 245(i) of the immigration laws, allowing individuals to adjust status to permanent resident without leaving the United States, even if they were illegals, out of status, or EWIs (i.e. entered without inspection). The immigration rush was on! You had to file your LC before April 30, Our firm established a War Room to get these cases filed. We still had cases to file on the 30th, so we sent two staff members to Tallahassee to hand file the last cases. The Labor Certifications were based on permanent job offers, and the key element was that the applicant had two years of experience in the same job as the offer. The jobs ran the gamut from professional and entrepreneurial to the mundane and low paying. We organized recruitment for presidents of companies and domestics. At the time, our hope was, You ll have your green card in 24 months. Of course, things didn t move quite so quickly. 24 months became 3-4 years. However, most of the clients who came to us for help prior to April 2001 are now lawful permanent residents they have graduated. The Class of 2004/2005 is moving on. We ll see them again in 2009/2010, when they go for U.S. citizenship. For me, the class valedictorian is extremely difficult to choose. It could be our tile expert Woody, who earned that nickname when she first appeared at our office with a Woody Woodpecker haircut. Or our diamond guy who, like his products, has a way with the women. Or our commercial film photographer, who certainly knows how to sell Budweiser, my favorite U.S. beer. But I have to go with a guy who came close to never graduating. His sponsoring company went out of business halfway through the process and we had to refile with a new company. But what impressed me about him is something that happened before the refiling. On September 12, 2001, he called me and asked if they would take him in the U.S. military. This guy, who had been living in the shadows as an illegal in the U.S. for more than 5 years, wondering when the knock was going to come on his door, was ready to risk his life to defend a place where he wasn t accepted. Of course, he couldn t enlist. You need your green card to enlist. So now, he has his green card and can serve if he still wishes to do so. And we were glad to help. IM La clase del 2004/2005 empezó su proceso de certificación laboral en el invierno de En diciembre 20 de 2000, el presidente Clinton firmó un tratado que re-planteaba la sección 245(i) de la ley de inmigración, permitiendo que individuos ajusten su estatus a residencia permanente sin dejar los Estados Unidos, así estos fuesen ilegales, UPS! (sin papeles oficiales), o ESI (entraron sin inspección a/k/a/ con la espalda mojada ). El apuro de la inmigración dorada empezó! La única condición era que su certificación laboral fuera archivada antes del Abril 30 de Nuestra firma estaba forzada a establecer un Cuarto de Guerra para obtener estos casos archivados. Aún así tuvimos casos el 30, entonces mandamos a dos miembros del personal a Tallahasee ese día, para archivar manualmente los últimos casos. Las certificaciones laborales estaban basadas en propuestas de trabajos, y el elemento clave era que el inmigrante tenía dos años de experiencia en el mismo trabajo. Esto quería decir que los empleos variaban de profesionales y empresariales a rutinarios y de bajos costos. Hacíamos desde presidentes de compañías a servidores domésticos. En ese tiempo, nuestro mantra era Tendrá su Green Card en 24 meses. Por supuesto, las cosas no se movieron tan rápido. Los 24 meses se convirtieron en 3-4 años. Pero ahora se están graduando en una tasa saludable. La clase de 2004/2005 está moviendose. Los veré de nuevo en 2009/2010, cuando vayan por la ciudadanía Estadounidense. Para mi, el numero uno de la clase es extremadamente difícil de escoger. Podría ser nuestra experta de baldosa Woody, quien obtuvo ese sobrenombre después de que se apareció por primera vez en nuestra oficina con un peinado del pájaro loco (Woody Woodpecker). O nuestro comerciante de diamantes quien, como sus productos, tiene su forma con las mujeres. O nuestro filmador comercial, quien seguro sabe como vender Budweiser. Pero tengo que irme con un personaje que estuvo cerca del no graduarse nunca. Su empresa patrocinadora cortó el negocio a la mitad del proceso y tuvimos que re-archivar con una nueva compañía. Pero lo que me impresiona de él es algo que sucedió antes. En septiembre 12 de 2001, me llamó y me preguntó que si lo podía meter en el ejército de los Estados Unidos. Este hombre, quien había vivido en las sombras como un ilegal en los Estados Unidos por más de 5 años, preguntándose cuando alguien iba a tocar a su puerta, estaba listo a arriesgar su vida por defender un lugar donde él aun no era aceptado. Por supuesto, no podía ser reclutado, porque necesitaría ser residente. Pero pudo y se graduó, a la cabeza de su clase. IM

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8 IM Green NEW GREEN CARD ERA SEVEN KEY POINTS EVERY IMMIGRANT NEEDS TO UNDERSTAND ABOUT PERM, THE NEW LABOR CERTIFICATION PROCESS by Donna Scarlatelli and Emilio Martinez Everyone and anyone can get a green card. There are basically four main channels to get it: family based sponsorship, asylum, the diversity visa lottery program, and employment-based sponsorship. The recently introduced changes in the green card process apply only to work-based petitions and only to the first of three steps. The first step of a work-based petition is the alien labor certification. The second step is the employer s sponsorship papers that will be filed with the immigration service after we have an approved labor certification. The third and final step is the personal application to claim the green card. This process can be compared to the process of constructing a building. This first step, the labor certification, is like laying the foundation. If you don t lay the foundation correctly, the building will collapse on top of you. We hope to help you navigate safely through the newly introduced changes to this fundamental process that will ultimately take you to your green card. A Little more on labor certifications, please. The labor certification involves a U.S. employer making an offer of employment to a foreign national. This involves the employer testing the job market to show the Department of Labor (DOL) that it was unable to find an available, able, qualified, and willing U.S. worker for this particular job opportunity. Once the Department of Labor is convinced, it will provide a labor clearance. It certifies that the market has been accurately tested, no U.S. workers were found and by giving this foreign worker a green card, it will not displace a U.S. worker. Once the Department of Labor (DOL) gives the employer this labor clearance, the employer then takes this certification and can then file its sponsorship papers. It clears the way for the immigration service to give the immigrant and his family their green cards. After the labor certification is approved There is a quota system in this country based on family and employment preferences. Most people fall in the third preference employment based category, reserved for professionals and skilled workers. The place in the quota line is established when the employer files the labor certification application. That place in the line is called priority date. In recent years, the line has had no waiting time. In other words, there has been a green card waiting so long as the immigrant is qualified for that green card. The Department of State, the agency that controls and monitors this line of people, has told us that sometime in 2005 there will be more applicants than there are green cards available for people in this third preference category. This means that once a Labor Certification is approved, no matter how quickly that happens, if the immigrant s place in the visa quota line has not reached the front of the line, he cannot make that final personal application to claim his green card because there isn t a green card available. Timing Before March 28, most applications were filed under the program labeled Reduction in Recruitment, or RIR. The key advantage of the RIR process is that the employer was able to control the entire recruitment campaign and there was very little government oversight or intrusion in the process. That implies that the success rate the final approval on the labor certification -- is exceptionally high. In the last number of years, the processing time for RIR has been as little as eight months and as great as 24 months. Many clients cannot help but wonder, Why have I been waiting so long? Over the last year, the Department of Labor has come to the conclusion that it has many more applications pending nationwide than the cur- 8 IM The Immigration Magazine

9 IM Green NUEVA ERA DE GREEN CARD SIETE PUNTOS CLAVE QUE CADA INMIGRANTE NECESITA CONOCER ACERCA DE PERM, EL NUEVO PROCESO DE CERTIFICACIÓN LABORAL. by Donna Scarlatelli and Emilio Martinez Todos y cada uno puede tener una Green Card. Hay básicamente 4 canales para obtenerla; el patrocinio basado en la familia, asilo, la lotería de visas y el patrocinio basado en empleo. Los cambios recientemente presentados del proceso de Green Card, aplican únicamente para peticiones basadas en trabajo y solo en el primero de tres pasos. El primer paso de una petición basada en el empleo, es la certificación laboral. El segundo paso son los papeles del patrocinio de un empleado que será diligenciado con el servicio de inmigración después de haber aprobado una certificación laboral. El tercer y último paso es la aplicación personal para reclamar la Green Card. Este proceso se puede comparar al de construir un edificio. Este primer paso de certificación laboral es como poner la base. Si no se pone la base correctamente, puede derrumbarse encima suyo. Nosotros esperamos ayudarle a navegar sin peligro a través de los nuevos cambios presentados a este proceso fundamental, que en última instancia lo llevara a tener su Green Card. Un poquito más sobre la certificación laboral La certificación laboral involucra a un empleador de los Estados Unidos haciendo una oferta de trabajo a un ciudadano extranjero. Esto incluye que el empleador prueba al mercado de trabajo, y demuestra a el Departamento de Labor que no era posible encontrar uno disponible, capaz, calificado, y servicial, trabajador de los Estados Unidos, para esta oportunidad particular de trabajo. Una vez que el Departamento de Labor está convencido, suministrará una certificación de labor. Esto certifica que el mercado ha sido probado con exactitud. No fueron encontrados trabajadores estadounidenses y dándole así una Green Card a un trabajador extranjero que no desplazará a un trabajador norteamericano. Una vez el Departamento de Labor (DOL), da a el empleador un certificado laboral, el empleador entonces toma esta certificación y puede enviar sus papeles de patrocinio. Esto despeja el camino a el servicio de inmigración, darle a el inmigrante y a su familia sus Green Cards. Después de que la certificación laboral está aprobada... Hay un sistema de cupo en este país basado en la familia y preferencias de trabajo. La mayoría de las personas caen en la tercera categoría de preferencia basada en empleo, reservado para profesionales y trabajadores con habilidades. La línea de cupo es establecida cuando el empleador llena la aplicación de certificación laboral. Ese lugar en la línea se llama priority date (fecha prioritaria) En años recientes la línea no ha tenido tiempo de espera. En otras palabras ha habido una Green Card esperando una vez que el inmigrante califique para esa Green Card. El Departamento de el Estado, que es la agencia que controla, monitorea, esta línea de espera, nos ha dicho que en algún tiempo en el 2005, habrán más aplicantes, que Green Cards disponibles, para las personas en esta tercera categoría de preferencia. Entonces, esto significa que una vez la certificación laboral es aprobada, no importa que tan rápido sea, si el lugar del inmigrante en la línea de cupo de visa no ha llegado al primer lugar, el no puede hacer la aplicación personal final pidiendo una Green Card porque no hay una Green Card disponible. Tiempo de Espera Antes del 28 de Marzo, la mayoría de aplicantes fueron diligenciados bajo el programa Reduction in Recruitment, o RIR. La ventaja clave del proceso RIR es que el empleador sea capaz de controlar la campaña completa de reclutamiento y hay un poco de descuido de gobierno o intrusión en el proceso. Esto implica que la velocidad del éxitola aprobación final de la Certificación Laboral es excepcionalmente alta. En los últimos años, el tiempo de procesamiento para RIR a sido tan poco como solo ocho meses y tan largo como de 24 meses. Entonces por qué he esperado tanto?

10 IM Green rent system can possibly process. It estimates that there are 320,000 labor certifications pending before the DOL across the country. In the fall of 2004, the DOL instituted what they call its Backlog Reduction Program. It established two processing centers located in Philadelphia, PA and one in Dallas, TX, now called Backlog Reduction Centers. All 320,000 cases have been transferred to one of these two processing centers. Those from Florida are now in Philadelphia. The problem with the backlog reduction program is that besides Florida cases, Philadelphia is responsible for 20 other states including New York, New Jersey, and Maryland. Those three states have cases pending since April of The government is on record that these 320,000 applications nationwide will be processed on what they call first in, first out basis. This means that those filed earliest, no matter where, will be processed first at the Backlog Reduction Center. In other words, applications filed in Florida in 2003 or 2004 will be processed after those received in 2001 and 2002, and then compete for space with 19 other states all whose applications were also filed in 2003 and Bander & Scarlatelli estimates that Florida immigrants with pending labor certifications will not see approvals for approximately months. PERM: Program Electronic Review Management The new labor certification PERM regulations were published on December 27, 2004 and took effect on March 28, They were initially proposed in May of They had many problems then, some of which have been clarified and corrected, but the program is still full of inconsistencies. There are two key differences between RIR and PERM: (1) the level of government oversight and government intrusion in the recruitment and application process and (2) the amount of time the DOL anticipates to process PERM cases. The DOL anticipates a 60-day turnaround. The 60 days are from the time of filing at the DOL. All of the recruitment leading up to the filing must be completed before applying to the DOL. Under PERM, the government specifies the number of advertisements that must be placed and the period of time which U.S. workers must be given to submit their applications. Also, the job opening must be registered with the government. This means Americans who are unemployed or looking for jobs will see this information and be able to apply for the job. Additionally, for many positions, besides the ads, the employer must engage in three additional recruitment activities such as on-line advertising, job fairs, head hunters, radio or TV ads, professional trade journals, employer s web site, college campus placement. After all of these recruitment steps are taken, the application can be filled. The government anticipates this quick 60-day turnaround because it has structured this application process to be done electronically via the Internet. A 10-page form is completed on-line and the employer declares that all of these recruitment activities have been completed and that no U.S. worker was found for the position. None of the documentation to support these activities is submitted to the DOL. Instead, the employer MUST keep these documents in its files for five years. After receiving the on-line application, the DOL will review that application and arrive at one of three decisions: approval, denial, or request the underlying documentation in support of that labor certification. Refilling under PERM After March 28, 2005 every labor certification application MUST be filed under PERM. If a new application indicates an identical employer, job and the applicant as in a pending application, then this refilling will be considered to be an automatic withdrawal of the RIR application that is pending at the backlog reduction center. With the automatic withdrawal, the immigrant can request to keep the original priority date on the new refilled application. But, since this is a request, it may not be granted. If not, the immigrant loses his place in the visa quota system. So, the risk in refiling an identical application is that the immigrant ends up with nothing at all. Who should consider a PERM application? There are several situations where refilling under PERM is advisable. First, if the immigrant has a son or daughter who will be 21 within the next two years. That is because in order for children to be able to apply for green cards based on a parent s approved labor certification, the child MUST be under 21 when the labor certification is approved and the sponsorship papers are filed. If the child has already reached his or her 21st birthday, that child will be left out of that green card process. 10 IM The Immigration Magazine

11 IM Green Durante el año pasado el Departamento de Labor, concluyó que tiene muchas más aplicaciones pendientes en el territorio nacional que el sistema actual puede procesar. Se estima que hay alrededor de certificaciones laborales pendientes antes de DOL, alrededor del país. En el otoño del 2004, el DOL instituyó lo que se llama Backlog Reduction Program. Ellos establecieron dos centros de procesamiento localizados en Filadelfia, PA y uno en Dallas, TX ahora llamados Backlog Reduction Centers. Todos los 320,000 casos han sido transferidos a uno de estos dos centros de procesamiento; aquellos de Florida están ahora en Filadelfia. El problema con el backlog reduction program es que al lado de los casos de Florida, Filadelfia es responsable por 20 estados mas incluyendo New York, New Jersey, y Maryland. Estos tres estados tienen casos pendientes desde Abril de El gobierno tiene registrado que estas aplicaciones alrededor del país serán procesadas en lo que llaman la base first in, first out. Eso significa que aquellos que fueron archivados primero, serán procesados primero en el Backlog Reduction Center. En otras palabras, aplicaciones archivadas en Florida en el 2003 o 2004, serán procesadas después de aquellas recibidas en el 2001 y Y después competirá para el espacio con otros 19 estados en donde las aplicaciones fueron archivadas en el 2003 y Bander & Scarlatelli estima que los inmigrantes de Florida con certificados de labor pendientes, no verán su aprobación por aproximadamente 18 a 24 meses después. PERM: Programa de Administración Electrónica. La nueva regulación de las certificaciones laborales, fueron publicadas el 27 de Diciembre de 2004, y tomaron efecto en Marzo 28 de Ellos fueron inicialmente propuestos en Mayo de Tuvieron muchos problemas, algunos de los cuales fueron aclarados y corregidos, pero el programa está todavía lleno de inconsistencias. Hay dos diferencias claves entre el RIR y PERM: (1) el nivel de la intrusión del gobierno en el reclutamiento y el proceso de aplicación y (2) la cantidad de tiempo del procesamiento. El DOL, anticipa 60 días en dar la vuelta. Los 60 días son desde el momento de diligenciarlo en el DOL. Todo el reclutamiento y el diligenciamiento que debe ser completado antes de aplicar. Bajo PERM, el gobierno especifica el número de avisos que se debe colocar y el periodo de tiempo que debe ser dado a los trabajadores estadounidenses para presentar sus aplicaciones. La apertura de la posición debe ser registrado con el gobierno. Esto significa que americanos que están desempleados o buscando trabajo verán esta información y serán capaces de aplicar. Adicionalmente, aparte de avisos, el empleador debe publicar en tres medios de reclutamiento adicionales, como avisos on-line, ferias de trabajo, head hunters, radio, televisión, avisos en general, jornadas profesionales de comercio, web sites de empleadores, campos universitarios. Después de que estos pasos de reclutamiento están tomados las aplicaciones pueden ser llenadas. El gobierno prevé este rápido de 60- días dando la vuelta, porque así ha sido estructurado este proceso de aplicación, para ser acabado electrónicamente por vía internet. Una aplicación de 10 páginas es diligenciada on-line, y los empleadores declaran que todos estas actividades de reclutamiento se han completado y que no hay trabajadores estadounidenses encontrados para esta posición. Nada de la documentación para respaldar estas actividades serán presentadas a DOL. En su lugar el empleador DEBE quedarse con estos documentos en sus archivos por cinco años. Después de recibir la aplicación on-line el DOL revisará la aplicación y concluirá con una de tres decisiones: aprobada, negada, o requiere documentación subyacente que soporte la certificación laboral. Re-diligenciamiento bajo PERM Después de Marzo 28, de 2005 cada aplicación de certificación laboral DEBE ser diligenciada bajo PERM. Si una nueva aplicación indica un empleador, un trabajo y un aplicante idéntico al de una aplicación pendiente, entonces este re-diligenciamiento podría ser considerado un retiro automático de la aplicación que está pendiente en el backlog reduction center. Con este retiro automático el inmigrante puede solicitar quedarse con la fecha de prioridad original en la nueva aplicación. Pero, porque esta es una solicitud, puede ser concedida o no. Si no es concedida, el inmigrante pierde su puesto original en el sistema de cupo de visa. Entonces el riesgo de hacer un re-diligenciamiento, en una aplicación idéntica es que el inmigrante termina finalmente sin nada.

12 IM Green Second, an immigrant should consider refilling under PERM if his son or daughter will be university age within the next two years. For many states including Florida, if a child has submitted his or her final application to claim the green card, that child is eligible for in-state tuition rates at public colleges and universities. They may also qualify for federally funded financial aid and scholarship programs. This final application to claim the green card can only be submitted when the labor certification has been approved and the company s sponsorship papers have been submitted. Third, an immigrant should consider refilling under PERM if the current RIR sponsor is at risk of closing or selling the company within the next two years. In order to complete the green card process the offer of employment must be available. If the company is no longer doing business or the new owner wishes to rescind the offer of employment, then the immigrant will not have a green card. Fourth, if the immigrant s current non-immigrant visa status will reach its maximum period of time within the next two years, a PERM application might also be in his best interests. However, if he currently has an E, an O, or a TN, his non-immigrant visa status could be extended an indefinite number of times, and with an indefinite number of extensions on his current status, he may not want to take the risk of having nothing should his pending RIR be withdrawn and his new PERM labor certification be denied. In addition, E or O visa cases may have other possibilities available that do not involve a labor certification. Under a very specific and strict set of circumstances, these immigrants may bypass the labor certification and still obtain their green card based on employment. In L or R cases when status will reach its maximum period of time within the next two years, then a PERM labor certification may be a good idea. If the PERM labor certification is approved within the time frame anticipated by the DOL, the immigrant should be in good shape. Again, similar to E and O visa holders, L or R visa cases may have other possibilities available that do not involve a labor certification. Under a very specific and strict set of circumstances, such cases may be able to bypass the labor certification and still obtain a green card based on employment. Lastly, some H1B should also consider refilling under PERM. If an immigrant is currently in H1B status and his maximum of six years expires within the next six months and he currently has an RIR pending less than one year, then a PERM labor certification may be advisable. H1B visa holders are eligible for one year extensions only if the labor certification is pending for over one year. Regardless of how you get there, always keep in mind that the permanent residence construct is like a building process. One step cannot go without the other, and a proper foundation must be laid in order to achieve the ultimate goal, lawful permanent residence for you and your family. Achieving your dream is not that far away if you hire the right attorney to guide you. IM 12 IM The Immigration Magazine

13 IM Green Porqué debo considerar una aplicación PERM? Hay muchas situaciones en donde es aconsejable re-diligenciar bajo PERM. Primero, Si el inmigrante tiene un hijo o hija que cumplirá 21 años en los próximos dos años. Este es el orden para que los niños puedan aplicar para las Green Cards, basadas en la aprobación del certificado laboral de los padres, el niño DEBE tener menos de 21 años cuando la certificación laboral está aprobada, y los papeles de patrocinio son enviados. Si el niño ya llegó a su cumpleaños 21, ese niño será dejado por fuera del proceso de la Green Card. Segundo, un inmigrante debe considerar re-diligenciar bajo PERM, si su hijo o hija, será universitario en los próximos dos años. Para muchos estados incluyendo Florida, si el niño ha hecho su aplicación final, para solicitar la Green Card, ese niño será elegible para in-state tuition rates de colleges y universidades públicas. También pueden calificar para ayuda financiera por el fondo federal y programas de becas. Esta aplicación final para pedir la Green Card puede únicamente ser presentada, cuando la certificación laboral ha sido aprobada y los documentos de patrocinio de la compañía han sido presentados. Tercero, un inmigrante debe considerar re-diligenciar bajo PERM, si el actual patrocinio RIR está en riesgo de cerrar o vender la compañía en los próximos dos años. Para completar el proceso de la Green Card, la oferta de empleo debe estar disponible. Si la compañía no está haciendo negocios o el nuevo dueño desea anular la oferta de empleo, entonces el inmigrante no tendrá la Green Card. Cuarto, un inmigrante con visa expirando en los próximos dos años deben considerar una aplicación bajo PERM, sin embargo si actualmente tiene una E, una O, o una TN, su status puede extenderse un indefinido número de veces, no valdría la pena tocar su aplicación RIR pendiente. Adicionalmente, casos de visa E u O, podrían tener otras posibilidades disponibles, que no incluyen la certificación laboral. Bajo una muy específica y estricta serie de circunstancias, estos inmigrantes podrían tener la certificación laboral y obtienen todavía la Green Card basada en empleo. En los casos de L o R, cuando el status alcanza el periodo de tiempo máximo dentro de los próximos dos años, la certificación laboral bajo PERM, podría ser una buena idea. Si la nueva certificación laboral es aprobada en el marco de tiempo anticipado por el DOL, el inmigrante podría estar en buena forma. Otra vez, similar a los poseedores de visa de E y O, los casos de visa de L ó R, pueden tener otras posibilidades disponibles que no involucran certificación laboral, bajo una serie de circunstancias muy específicas y estrictas, y obtienen la Green Card basada en empleo. Finalizando, algunas H-1B podrían también considerar re-diligenciar bajo PERM. Si un inmigrante está actualmente con status H-1B, y su máximo de 6 años expira dentro de los próximos seis meses y actualmente tiene un RIR pendiente menos de un año, entonces la certificación laboral bajo PERM, será aconsejable. Poseedores de visa H-1B, son elegibles por extensiones de un año sólo si la certificación laboral está pendiente por más de un año. No importa como llegues ahí y cuanto te tome, la tierra de Green Card no está tan lejos. IM

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16 IM Bander THE INS AND OUTS OF THE VISA WAIVER PROGRAM You are here in Florida. Your visit has been fantastic! You have even found property to purchase. You entered the USA under the Visa Waiver Program (VWP). You would like to continue with your visit and extend your stay of three months for an additional two weeks. Should you? While the VWP allows easy entry to the US, the regulations governing the VWP are quite specific and fraught with danger if not understood and followed. Limitation of Stay A person admitted under the VWP cannot be authorized to remain in the US longer than 90 days without violating his or her status. For emergency situations there is an exception for an additional 30 days if authorized by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service District Director. However, a person admitted to the US with a tourist visa (B-1/B-2) is almost always admitted for a six-month period. Change of Status VWP visitors may not change nonimmigrant status while in the United States. Thus, for example, a VWP visitor is prohibited from becoming an investor without departing the US and applying for an E-2 visa at a US consulate. A person with a B-1/B-2 visa can change to another nonimmigrant status without leaving the U.S., including one that will permit employment. Adjustment of Status It is not possible for a VWP visitor to adjust status to lawful permanent resident within the United States, unless the visitor is an immediate relative (spouse, parent or child under the age of 21) of a US citizen. This means that a VWP visitor who marries a US citizen can get his or her green card without departing the US. Trips to Canada, Mexico or a Caribbean island VWP visitors who seek to re-enter the United States after visiting Mexico, Canada or the Caribbean may be readmitted but only for the remainder of the authorized period stay that was originally granted upon the initial arrival to the US. The idea here is to prevent VWP visitors from getting around the 90 day limit by making a quick trip to Canada or Mexico and asking for a new period of 90 days. Many visitors have found, however, that this rule is not strictly enforced. Eligibility for a Visa Waiver Admission To be eligible to use the VWP a visitor must present a machine readable passport from one of the 27 designated countries (see box on the next page) and must be in possession of a round trip ticket which must nontransferable and valid for at least one year. The VWP regulations state should a by Michael Bander visitor overstay the authorized period of stay, even by one or two days, he or she is barred from using the VWP. In light of the enhanced inspection procedures introduced as a result of 9/11, immigration officers at airports are strictly applying this regulation and many legitimate travelers are finding themselves denied entry and forced to return home. A slight exception is now in effect which permits immigration officers to grant no-risk travelers who overstayed the VWP on a prior visit a one time parole, after which they must obtain a visa in order to be admissible to the US. Summary In summary, VWP makes travel easier for visitors from designated countries. But visitors need to realize, however, the VWP does not offer as much flexibility as a regular nonimmigrant B-1/ B-2 visa, especially if the visitor is considering working in the U.S. Therefore, obtaining a traditional B-1/B-2 is recommended as an important first step in a plan to immigrate to the United States. IM 16 IM The Immigration Magazine

17 IM Bander LOS PROS Y CONTRAS DE LA VWP (Visa Waiver Program) por Michael Bander Estás en la Florida. Tu visita ha sido fantástica! Has encontrado una propiedad para comprar. Entraste a Estados Unidos con la Visa Waiver Program (VWP). Quisieras seguir con tu visita y extender tu estadía que es de tres meses, por dos semanas más. Debes hacerlo? Mientras la VWP permite una entrada fácil a los Estados Unidos, las regulaciones que gobiernan la VWP son muy específicas y pueden llegar a ser peligrosas si no se entienden y se siguen. Limitaciones de la estadía Una persona que es admitida por tener la VWP no puede ser autorizada para quedarse en los Estados Unidos más de 90 días sin violar su estatus. Para situaciones de emergencia hay una excepción de un adiccional de 30 días, el cual debe ser autorizado por el director del Servicio Inmigración y Ciudadanía del distrito. Una persona admitida en los Estados Unidos con visa de turista B-1/B-2 es casi siempre admitida por un periodo de seis meses. Cambio de Estatus Visitantes con la VWP no pueden cambiar el estatus de no-inmigrante mientras estén en los Estados Unidos. Pero, por ejemplo, a un visitante con la VWP le es prohibido volverse un inversionista sin haber antes salido de los Estados Unidos y haber aplicado para la visa E-2 en el consulado estadounidense. Una persona con la visa B-1/B-2 puede cambiar a otro estatus que no sea de inmigrante, incluyendo una que le permita trabajar. Ajuste de Estatus No es posible para un visitante con la VWP ajustar su estatus a una residencia legal dentro de los Estados Unidos, a no ser que el visitante sea un pariente inmediato ( esposa, padre o niño menor de 21 años) de un ciudadano estadounidense. Esto quiere decir que un visitante con la VWP que se casa con un ciudadano estadounidense adquiere la tarjeta verde sin tener que salir de los Estados Unidos. Viajes a Canadá, México o a una Isla del Caribe Visitantes con la VWP que desean entrar a los Estados Unidos después de haber visitado México, Canadá o el Caribe pueden ser admitidos de nuevo únicamente por el periodo autorizado originalmente, a la llegada inicial a los Estados Unidos. La idea es prevenir a los visitantes con la VWP de llegar alrededor de su límite de 90 días y hacer un pequeño viaje a Canadá o México y pedir nuevamente un periodo de 90 días. De cualquier modo, muchos visitantes piensan que esta regla no está estrictamente forzada. Elegibles para la Visa Waiver Program Para ser elegible para usar la VWP el visitante debe presentar un pasaporte de uno de los 27 países designados (ver grágica) y debe tener un tiquete de viaje que no sea transferible y sea válido por lo menos por un año. Las regulaciones de la VWP dicen, que un visitante que se ha quedado más tiempo del autorizado, aunque sea solamente por uno o dos días, no podrá usar la VWP. Adicionalmente a los cambios en los procedimientos de inspección introducidos a consecuencia del 9/11, los oficiales de inmigración en los aeropuertos son muy estrictos en cuanto a esta regulación y muchos inmigrantes legales se han visto en una situación forzada en la cual se les niega la entrada y tienen que devolverse a sus países. En resumen, los visitantes de los países designados que tienen la VWP pueden viajar con facilidad. Pero los visitantes necesitan entender, que la VWP no les ofrece la flexibilidad que la visa regular de no inmigrante B-1/B-2 les ofrece, especialmente si el visitante está considerando trabajar en los Estados Unidos. Por lo tanto, para un primer paso de inmigrante en los Estados Unidos es recomendado obtener una visa tradicional B-1/B-2. IM Who Are the Visa Waiver Program (VWP) Countries? Cuales son los paises del programa Visa Waiver (VWP)? Andorra Iceland Norway Australia Ireland Portugal Austria Italy San Marino Belgium Japan Singapore Brunei Liechtenstein Slovenia Denmark Luxembourg Spain Finland Monaco Sweden France The Netherlands Switzerland Germany New Zealand United Kingdom

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20 IM Greener PERM UPDATE by Donna Scarlatelli The Chinese have an old proverb that implies one can look at an event as a crisis or an opportunity. It s a good saying to keep in mind as we move through these first few months of PERM. The new regulations went into effect on March 28, Thus, technically an application for alien labor certification could have been filed on that very day. While we are quoting old Chinese proverbs, we might as well employ a popular saying with the world s modern teen-agers: Not! As of the morning of March 28, the Form ETA 9089, the Department of Labor s pride and joy which represents the culmination of years of work, went live on-line. However, there was little to get excited about. First, the program is designed for the employer to have completed a series of recruitment activities prior to the submission of the application. Those steps include several advertisements, an announcement with the unemployment offices, a posting of the job opening at the employer s offices, and possibly several other activities designed to test the U.S. labor market. These activities require the employer to obtain an accurate wage assessment from the State s Department of Labor. This was a complicated enough procedure before March 2005 and was further aggravated by new government regulations which took effect on March 8. As the month unfolded, it began to look as if the Federal government had neglected to properly instruct the State agencies as to the necessity of analyzing those local wages to meet its four new levels. Many states had not even implemented a mechanism with which to apply for a wage assessment. Thus, the first snag. Second, as to the announcement with the unemployment office, its bureaucrats can t seem to get it quite right. We are discovering that American data entry clerks can t necessarily read or type. Maybe this would be a good job for a better educated foreign worker. Next, the on-line form requires the employer to begin with registration. It appears that this can only be done by the employer, and not legal counsel, and should be done at the employer s site and on its computer. Employers and their counsel were much perplexed by this procedure. Moreover, just as when one attempts to use an ATM card and incorrectly enters the PIN and the bank confiscates your card, the on-line system erratically finds fault with your entry and de-activates the account the employer has so belabored to set up. Another botchery. Finally, the regulations require a foreign applicant to list all of his prior experience which would qualify him for the job, and specifically states that one must list all jobs held within the past three years. The on-line form allows for a maximum of three entries. After that, it tells you that you are done with that field and move along, please Yet another snafu. Reports are coming in from around the country that denials are rampant and not one has yet to be approved. This is not surprising given that the hurdles to be overcome seem to have been erected to prevent success. Nevertheless, this too shall pass. PERM may present tough challenges, particularly to the innocent. But those experienced in the alien labor certification process will persevere and learn to beat them at their own game. It s just that, at present, it is not a game for the faint-of-heart-more like rugby than baseball. IM 20 IM The Immigration Magazine

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