May 20, 2018

H-1B Visa and Green Card Rules Clarified by Obama Administration

Looking to attract foreign entrepreneurs and investors, the US government is ‘clarifying’ the rules regarding green cards and H-1B visas.

While the White House isn’t proposing new regulations regarding visas, it is adjusting requirements, possibly making it easier for a foreign investor to qualify for a visa. Specifically, it is aimed at start-up companies or ‘founders’.

While a US employment visa is normally sponsored by the company that hires someone, an ‘immigrant founder’ would not qualify for the visa. Under the new guidelines, a company founder could qualify for an EB-2 Green Card visa if their position reports to a board of directors, according to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. Along with this, the person applying for the visa needs to have “a degree of expertise significantly above that ordinarily encountered in the sciences, arts, or business”.

There is already a green card visa for a foreigner who founds a business with a minimum start-up investment of $500,000 and can create a minimum of 10 jobs. This is the EB-5 visa, but it has a two-year conditional period to ensure that jobs are actually created. A maximum of 10,000 EB-5 visas can be issued annually, but at present only about half of them are actually used.

The H-1B visa is available to highly skilled immigration workers. Under current guidelines, the cap us 140,000 per year, including spouses and children. The number of H-1B visas issued per country is no more than 7% of the total amount available. With a country such as India where the demand is great, the wait can be as long as 10 years. While H-1B visas are currently available for a wide range of people such as writers, musicians, accountants and models, Rep. Lamar Smith (R-Texas) has suggested that they be restricted to tech professionals. This would reduce competition for the H-1B visa, which has seen nearly 35,000 applications this month alone.

Foreign investors will find it easier to work with the USCIS when it comes to expediting the process of EB-5 visas, and outstanding issues will be resolved with a USCIS panel of experts.

Director of liaison and information for the Immigration and Lawyers Association, Robert Deasy, said of the changes: “not hugely substantive” but the administration is trying to “send a message of welcoming” to new start-up companies.

Read more:
ComputerWorld
Policy shift will help more immigrants get Green Cards
A guide to H-18 green card reform – Computerworld
USCIS – Green Card Overview
USCIS – Green Card Processes and Procedures

Fake IDs Targeted by New Georgia Immigration Law

A new law in Georgia will put individuals who use a false identification card to find work or anything else in the line of fire with fines of up to $250,000 and a possible 15 year sentence in jail. Referred to as aggravated identity fraud, this new immigration law was put into action on July 1st, and many locals and politicians have had mixed feelings about the new harsh sentencing.

“It’s a harsh penalty,” said executive director of the Georgia Association of Chiefs of Police, Frank Rotondo. “But it is meant as an eye-opener, to send a message.” The new penalties set into place will put users of fake ID’s on the same level as someone caught with 10,000 pounds of marijuana, whereas previous offenders would receive a small fine and usually probation. Although this law was set in place to discourage illegal immigration in Georgia and cut back money spent on the healthcare, education, court systems, and other government services used by illegal immigrants who have fake Ids, many say that the penalties put into place are far too harsh and will likely trigger constitutional issues.

Two other laws that focused on immigrants in Georgia were put on hold, while the aggravated identity fraud act received very little attention from locals. Another provision that would allow and encourage law officials to check immigration records and give them the right to punish citizens who knowingly harbor illegal immigrants while committing another crime. Since it seemed that a large majority of the population was not even fully aware of the new identification laws, state law officials have decided to take it slow with the implementation of the new laws.

State and local police already handle incidents where minors attempt to use a fake ID to buy alcoholic beverages, but police spokesman Dana Pierce said that the sheriff’s department will likely handle the investigations into identity fraud and more serious cases. Police have also noted that they are unclear as to exactly how they are expected to learn about the identification crimes, and hope to receive tip offs from farmers and other employers who spot someone using a false identification card.

More information:

Atlanta Journal Constitution

Georgia’s Immigration Law Faces A Test By July

Thousands Rally Against Ga. Immigration Law

Tough Immigration Regulations In Effect In Georgia And South Carolina

Judge Says To Rule Before July 1 On Georgia Immigration Law