The turbulence of July has come to a halt and left us all spinning. What a dramatic summer it has been! The release, the reversal and the re-release, of the July Visa Bulletin has made an impression like no other, especially in the footsteps of the defeat of the CIR Bill. If you are wondering where the synchronization is between the people, congress, and government, you are not in the minority. Recent events have undoubtedly left many of us wondering when this immigration train wreck will get back on track. If there is anything that can be learned from these changes, it is that there is nothing more valuable than having a reliable source of information in regards to immigration laws, regulations and procedures. Windows of opportunity are quickly opening and shutting and those who remain "in the know", are the beneficiaries of the fast paced changes that we have witnessed throughout the summer months.
We at Immigration Solutions make it a point to keep you informed of every change that happens pertaining to U.S. immigration policy and law. Immigration Solutions is comprised of a network of highly experienced Immigration Case Managers and Paralegals, working in association with licensed, U.S. Immigration Attorneys and Certified Specialists in the field of immigration and nationality law. Through an affiliate office, we also provide our clients with global migration consulting services and global work permits. We have a depth of experience immigrating nurses, physical therapists and allied healthcare professionals to the USA; we handle complex business visas for investors, multinational managers, outstanding individuals in the areas of athletics, business, science and the arts, and PERM Labor Certification casework. We are set up to conveniently work on your behalf throughout the USA and abroad.
You may contact our office to schedule a one-time free consultation with one of our attorneys at no further obligation. We welcome your comments, questions and suggestions at all times. We would be pleased to send you a copy of our brochure, our fees and respond to any other inquiry that you might have.
|IN THE NEWS - State and Local Governments Shape Immigration Reform|
The failure of the national government to promulgate immigration legislation has prompted state and local governments to act on the issues themselves. State legislators from Georgia, Arizona, Colorado, and Oklahoma have already passed laws implementing procedures that crack down on the hiring of illegal immigrants. Other legislators around the country have introduced around 1,200 bills and resolutions pertaining to immigration so far this year, a drastic increase from the 570 proposals last
Georgia initiated a law on July 1 that mandates businesses that receive local and or state contracts to participate in the federal government's Basic Pilot program. The Basic Pilot program (a.k.a. the federal Employment Eligibility Verification Program) is an electronic system run by the USCIS that verifies workers' Social Security numbers against federal databases. In the first year of the new law, only companies with 500 employees or more will be required to comply if they want to bid on government contracts in Georgia. All contractors and subcontractors working with the state or local governments will be made to take part in the program after July of 2009.
Gov. Janet Napolitano of Arizona also signed in a similar law on July 2. If businesses fail to verify their employees' legal status, they face having their business licenses suspended. Although the bill and the severe consequences it carries has the dangerous force of potentially shutting down nursing homes or hospitals because of hiring one illegal immigrant, Gov. Napolitano felt like it was time to move forward despite the bill's imperfections.
Ordinances such as the above mentioned are not going unchallenged in the courts. Business groups assert that only the federal government has jurisdiction over immigration and therefore state and local governments do not have the right to make such regulations. However, others argue states and localities may regulate how business is done in their jurisdictions, and to decide how their own tax dollars are utilized. This constitutional issue will most likely be decided by the U.S. Supreme Court.
We at Immigration Solutions are constantly on the look-out for the many shapes immigration reform is taking, and will advise you of all immigration law updates. In the meantime, however, it would be prudent for all employers to revisit their I-9 forms that workers fill out when they're hired and check for obvious problems. Should you have any questions regarding local or state immigration laws in your area, do not hesitate to give us a call.
|IN THE NEWS - More Time to File for Less Money|
|The DHS and DOS recently confirmed that Applications for Adjustment of Status, Employment Authorization Documents, and Advance Parole travel authorization for those eligible to file under the July 2007 Visa Bulletin, will be accepted until August 17, 2007. The fee increase for I-485s, EADs, and APs will also be suspended until that date. The filing fee increase for all other documents and applications will go into effect as scheduled, on July 30, 2007.
|IN THE NEWS - Update for Nurses|
Article by Attorney Thomas J. Joy
Immigration Solutions Affiliated Attorney
Recent events in the news regarding proposed changes to the immigration laws of the United States and the temporary lifting of retrogression in the immigrant visa quota availability have caused concern and confusion. The purpose of this notice is to provide a summary of the current immigration system for nurses to immigrate to the United States and to discuss the proposed new laws and the temporary lifting of retrogression and their possible effects.
At the present time the law generally does not provide temporary nonimmigrant visas to allow nurses to enter the United States to work as a nurse while waiting for the much longer permanent immigrant visa process to be completed. As a result, nurses must generally obtain an immigrant visa before they can enter the United States to work as a nurse. While Nurse is listed on the Department of Labor Schedule A as a profession in short supply in the United States, the number of nurses who can enter the United States with immigrant visas each year is presently limited by the EB-3 quota. When there is more demand for these visas than supply in the EB-3 quota category, a waiting list results. Since the movement of the waiting list is determined by future demand, it is impossible to predict when one's place on the waiting list will be reached. A nurse's place on the EB-3 quota waiting list is determined by the date that the employer hospital files the I-140 immigrant visa petition. Generally, the I-140 immigrant visa petition can be filed only after the nurse has passed the NCLEX exam. In order to complete the immigrant visa processing, the nurse's place on the immigrant visa quota waiting list must be reached. Proposed new laws, if enacted, may speed up the process.
The US Department of State released the July 2007 Visa Bulletin which indicated that the EB-3 immigrant visa quota category for nurses would become current effective July 1, 2007. As a result, effective July 1, 2007, retrogression for nurses would be over, at least temporarily. It was predicted that severe cut-off date retrogressions would likely occur in early FY-2008, i.e., starting in October 2007, for all countries. The August 2007 Visa Bulletin has recently been released and indicates that employment based immigrant visas will be unavailable for August and that, until informed otherwise, it should be assumed that they would remain unavailable through September. It is impossible to predict how far back retrogression will go in October 2007.
As a result of the expected return of retrogression, the very short period of no retrogression will not be enough time to process a case through the USCIS service center to the NVC to the US Embassy for issuance of the immigrant visa even with Premium Processing used to expedite the approval of the petition at the USCIS service center. In the event that any of the currently pending or other new laws are passed and implemented to ease the immigrant visa quota restrictions for nurses, the issue of Premium Processing to expedite the processing of the petition will be revisited.
At the present time several laws affecting nurses have been proposed. It can not be predicted which, if any, of these proposed laws will actually pass and become law since the final outcome will be determined by the politics surrounding the proposals. The proposals generated so far will likely have a favorable effect on the immigration process for nurses if passed. Specifically, there are proposals to add visas to the quota, exempt nurses from the quota and create a temporary nonimmigrant visa to allow nurses to enter the United States to start work while waiting for the immigrant visa process to be completed.
We remain hopeful that a favorable solution will be reached for nurses. The continuing critical shortage of nurses can not continue to exist without serious adverse consequences to the healthcare system of the United States. Historically, new laws have addressed the issue and have provided temporary remedies in the past.
We follow the developments of the proposed laws on a daily basis. We will provide you with monthly updates and immediate updates in the event of significant developments.
CGFNS Teams up with Kaplan
CGFNS is teaming up with Kaplan Test Prep to develop online and offline nursing education and test preparation products and services. The companies will work together to supply hospital organizations, international schools of nursing, and individual international nurses with nursing education and test preparation products geared toward preparing for and passing the CGFNS and NCLEX exams.
|IN THE NEWS - DOS Initiates Procedure for Visa Applicants With Drunk-Driving Record|
All U.S. visa applicants must be fingerprinted and undergo background checks. If the inquiry reveals a drunk-driving conviction, consular posts will hold an investigation to determine if the applicant is ineligible. Although a drunk-driving conviction is not per sean indication of visa ineligibility, it could lead to a finding that the applicant is a person "having a physical or mental disorder and/or demonstrating behavior associated with the disorder that may pose, or has posed, a threat to the property, safety, or welfare of the alien or others."
Additionally, if the background check reflects a drunk-driving arrest or conviction within the last three calendar years, or two-or more drunk-driving arrests or convictions in any time period, the applicant will be evaluated by a panel physician. The physician will then evaluate the applicant for the presence of a mental disorder "previously unnoticed before the physician became aware of the alcohol-related arrest." If the physician makes a finding of alcohol abuse, then a diagnosis of "mental disorder" is rendered. However, even if the physician finds that a "mental disorder" exists, the applicant is not barred from obtaining a visa. Before the applicant is found ineligible, the physician must also find that the behavior associated with the mental disorder is likely to recur in the future.
This procedure will inevitably effect the processing times for IV and NIV applicants who possess drunk-driving arrests or convictions on their records. Applicants in this category are therefore encouraged to allow extra time for their visa applications to be processed when applying for a visa abroad.
|IN THE NEWS: New Consulate Office in India|
The fourth U.S. visa issuing post in India is scheduled to open by the end of 2008. The new Consulate will occupy a 10-acre site at Madhapur, Hyderabad's IT center. Until then, a temporary Consulate office will be housed at the Paigah Palace.
|"In Focus" for Managers, Supervisors, and HR Professionals -- How to Say Goodbye: Terminating an Employee|
Terminating an Employee is never a fun or easy thing for a manager to do, but the process can be made less painful if certain steps are taken. One of the best things a manager can do when an employment situation has gone awry, is to involve HR. By alerting HR of the problem, HR can offer suggestions as to how to remedy the conflict, or ensure that the termination process is handled properly pursuant to law and company policy.
If a manager foresees a problem, HR can help them manage the problem. Through effective coaching and training, HR can help shape the interactions and conversations between the manager and employee. This can either lead to an improvement of performance or ensure that the path to termination is well documented. As HR is often closely linked with the legal department, it can ensure that the company minimizes any legal risk that might be involved should termination become the only viable option.
If termination is decided upon, there are a few things to keep in mind. Assuming that all of the legal steps are properly in check, maintaining the employee's dignity should take its place at the forefront of any interaction. Human resource professionals Jeanne Knight and Amy Schrameck, recommend that managers should take these pointers into consideration:
>> Tell the employee that because he has not met agreed-upon performance expectations, he is being terminated immediately.
>> Be empathetic but not sympathetic.
>> Avoid wavering if the employee becomes emotional or promises to reform.
>> Clearly state what will happen next: "I'm going to walk you down to HR now; we'll complete some paperwork, and you can arrange to get your things."
>> Tell the employee additional questions can be handled by HR.
>> Of course, there are a few exceptions that will warrant additional steps to be taken, such as if the manager suspects that the employee will become overly emotional or violent. In the case of the emotional employee, it is recommended that the final conversation occur at a time and place that minimizes other employees witnessing the conversation. Where a violent reaction is expected, managers are advised to alert security of the situation in advance, or let another trusted member of management know what is about to occur.
>> The general rule however is applicable to most - the primary goal is to maintain the employee's dignity throughout a difficult process. Just because an employee is being terminated does not mean that they are a bad person. All employers should want to walk away feeling like they treated the employee professionally and with respect.
We're excited to report that coming soon Immigration Solutions will premier its introductory special offer of "Your Guide to Living in the United States of America". This E-zine publication will be easily downloaded from our website and will provide you with everything you need to know about US lifestyle, culture, the steps you need to take to start your life in the USA, how to maintain permanent resident status and become a US citizen, and much more! So, plan on visiting us at: www.immigrationsolution.net next week and go to the "Our Publications" page. You won't want to miss this!