-- 2011 ~ Travel and Immigration 101

Thursday, December 15, 2011

H-1B Visas - No More Application Until Late 2012

The US Immigration is no longer accepting applications for H-1B visas for the government's current fiscal year, meaning that foreign tech workers will not be able submit applications for the temporary work permits until October of next year. US Citizenship and Immigration Services said it had received enough applications to fill the 65,000 H-1B visa cap as of Nov. 22, two months earlier than last year. The agency said applications received after that date will be rejected.
USCIS said it's also received enough applications to fill the additional 20,000 H-1B visas that are available to foreign graduates who studied in advanced degree programs at U.S. universities. Current H-1B visa holders can still file to change the terms of their employment. H-1B visas allow foreign workers, mostly in the tech industry, to work in the U.S. for three years. The US visas can be renewed for one, additional three-year term.

That the H-1B cap was reached well ahead of last year's pace indicates that the program is not allowing skilled IT workers to move to the U.S. in sufficient numbers, according to proponents of a more open immigration system. A recent study by The Partnership for a New American Economy, which is backed by a number of tech and business giants, including Microsoft, Boeing, and News Corp., found that 18% of the companies on the 2010 Fortune 500 list were founded by immigrants. "The findings are clear, immigrants drive our economy," said the group. The study noted that eBay, Yahoo, Sun, and Qualcomm were all founded by immigrants.

Not everyone is in favor of looser immigration rules for tech workers. Groups that represent American IT workers, such as WashTec and Alliance At IBM, have noted that a number of tech companies, including Microsoft and IBM, have laid off thousands of U.S.-born employees in the past several years even as they have brought in H-1B workers from India, China, and other offshore locations. Critics also point to a recent study by the General Accountability Office, which found that 54% of H-1B visa recipients were entry-level caliber workers, even though the program was designed for highly skilled professionals. On Thursday, The Partnership for A New Economy and The American Enterprise Institute will hold a briefing in Washington, D.C., where they plan to argue for loosening the caps on the H-1B and other visa programs. U.S. Rep Tim Griffin (R-Ariz.) plans to speak at the event.

Monday, December 5, 2011

US Work and Family Visas Changes in Limits

The bill that ends employment-based visas caps and changes family-based visas caps per country has been passed by the House on November 29, 2011. The legislation, which passed 389-15, would eliminate the limit for worker-based immigration visas per country set by the current law. The number of worker-based visas is no longer required to be no more than 7 percent of the total number of such visas given out. Instead, permanent residence visas or green cards would be handled on a first-come, first-served basis.
As Rep. Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah indicated, the bill would encourage high-skilled immigrants who were educated in the U.S. to stay and contribute to the U.S. economy rather than work in other countries using skills they learned from the U.S. There are currently about 140,000 green cards issued a year to immigrants working in the U.S. with degrees from U.S. universities.

It is said that skilled workers seeking to stay in the U.S. from India and China, two large countries that account for more than 40 percent of the world's population, and high-tech companies would benefit from the change. Also under the approved legislation, the family-based visa limits would increase from 7 percent to 15 percent per country. The change could slightly ease the backlog for naturalized citizens, particularly from Mexico and the Philippines, trying to bring relatives into the U.S.

"This will significantly shorten the wait for the people in the family queues," stated Tamar Jacoby, president of ImmigrationWorks USA, a national federation of small business owners working for changes in immigration laws.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Chances for Green Cards boosts by the US

The US House of Representatives on Tuesday voted to change family-based visa limits from 7 percent to 15 percent per country, an adjustment that could slightly ease the backlog for naturalized citizens—particularly from the Philippines and Mexico, trying to bring relatives into the country. The legislation, which passed 389-15, was a rare example of bipartisan accord on immigration, an issue that largely has been avoided during the current session of Congress because of the political sensitivities involved.
The measure would eliminate the current law that says employment-based visas to any one country cannot exceed 7 percent of the total number of such visas given out. Instead, permanent residence visas, or green cards, would be handled on a first-come, first-served basis. The bill also seeks to end per-country caps on worker-based immigration visas, a move that should benefit skilled Indian and Chinese residents seeking to stay in the United States and the high-tech companies who hire them.

Republican Representative Jason Chaffetz, the sponsor of the bill, said it “does encourage high-skilled immigrants who were educated in the United States to stay and help build our economy rather than using the skills they learned here to aid our competitor nations.” Currently, the US state department issues about 140,000 such green cards a year to foreign nationals working in the United States, often after getting degrees from US universities.

The bill, if passed into law, would boost the number of Filipinos migrating to the United States.
Filipino immigrants are already the second largest immigrant group after Mexicans, according to the Migration Policy Institute (MPI). Citing US census data and immigration statistics, the MPI said there were 1.6 million immigrants born from the Philippines, a former US colony, in the United States in 2006. Many of them were petitioned by relatives.

The MPI said that almost half (46 percent) of Filipino immigrants resided in California and that over two-thirds were concentrated in five states (California, Hawaii, New York, Illinois and New Jersey).
The Commission on Filipinos Overseas placed the number of Filipinos in the United States in 2009 at 2.88 million, including 2.59 million permanent residents. Overseas Filipinos are a big source of foreign exchange for the Philippines. In 2010, they remitted $18.8 billion, helping boost the Philippine economy.

Democratic Senator Charles Schumer, who heads the Senate judiciary panel on immigration, said he planned to move the bill as quickly as possible in the chamber, “where we expect it to find overwhelming support.” Schumer said the legislation would “remove outdated constraints that prevent us from attracting the kind of innovators who can create job growth in America.”

The Obama administration in its first two years failed in several major efforts to change immigration law, and this year the issue has largely been off the table, with Republicans making clear that anything suggesting amnesty for those in the country illegally would be rejected. The Chaffetz bill does not change the number of visas being issued, and groups representing immigrants said the bill would do little to resolve pressing immigration issues. However, they praised US Congress for showing it can act.

Ali Noorani, executive director of the National Immigration Forum, said that while the bill would not bring significant changes, “we think this is a positive step forward.” He said it was a good sign that “Republicans and Democrats are actually working on solutions.” Crystal Williams, executive director of the American Immigration Lawyers Association, said the measure “makes the system a tiny bit fairer and demonstrates that Congress can do something on immigration, however small.”

Williams cited estimates that while someone from England might wait two or three years for a green card, an Indian could conceivably be on the waiting list for decades.

Still, because there will be no increase in visas issued, there will be losers. Hosin “David” Lee, president of the Korean-American Scientists and Engineers Association, said the bill would force engineers from South Korea to wait an additional two years in their immigration process to get green cards. Compete America, a group that represents high-tech companies such as Google and Microsoft Corp. and research institutes, said the bill would correct a problem in which countries with very small populations were subject to the same 7-percent cap as countries such as India and China, which account for more than 40 percent of the world’s population.

The lengthy waiting periods for people trained and working in America “are contributing to a reverse brain drain in the United States as frustrated professionals opt to return to their home countries to pursue their professional ambitions,” Kevin Richards, senior vice president of Tech America, which represents the technology industry, said in a letter to lawmakers. US employers are prohibited under the law from hiring foreign workers unless they show there are not sufficient US workers willing and able to take the jobs.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Visa Rules on Foreign Students Tightens by Immigration Bureau

The Bureau of Immigration (BI) has tightened its rules on the screening of applications for foreign student visas and permits following reports of “fake” foreign students in the country. In a statement, Immigration Commissioner Ricardo David Jr. on Wednesday said he has issued new guidelines on the issuance of student visas and special study permits (SSP) to foreigners enrolled in various schools of the country. Under a new memorandum, the school’s designated liaison officer or representative, who must be an employee of the school, should represent or assist the foreign student in applying for a Philippine Visa. The commissioner said the new rule was imposed after reports reached him that unscrupulous travel agents have been conniving with foreigners in submitting fake or fraudulent transcripts of school records for student visa applications. “We have to make sure that only foreigners actually studying in the Philippines are given these visas.  This anomaly should be stopped because these fake foreign students are blatantly violating our laws,” the BI chief said.
David said he has already instructed Lawyers Ma. Antonette Bucasas-Mangrobang, BI acting intelligence chief, and Anna Katrina Sy-Gil, BI student desk head, to investigate and identify the “fake” alien students so their visas can be canceled and they can be arrested and deported. The new rules also state that only schools accredited by the BI, Department of Education, Commission on Higher Education, Technical Education and Skills Development Authority, and Federation of Accrediting Agencies are authorized to accept foreign students.
A student visa is issued to a foreigner, at least 18 years old, who will be taking up a course at a university, seminary, college, or school duly authorized to admit foreign students. On the other hand, an SSP is issued to a foreign student below 18, who will be studying in the elementary, secondary or special tertiary course of less than one year. Schools are now required to establish a foreign student unit and submit to the BI a periodic report on foreigners enrolled in their school. Each school will designate its representative who will deal with the BI for the issuance or renewal of study visas or SSPs of foreign students. BI alien control officers in the areas where the schools are situated were also required to submit to the bureau’s main office a monthly report on study visas and permits processed by their respective offices.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Gail Kerr: US Immigration Needs to Open Doors to Foreign Tech Workers

A pro-business group that landed in Nashville this week is spreading a unique message: “Immigrant” is not a dirty word. At a time when there are 1,000 technology jobs open and waiting for good candidates in Nashville-area businesses, this group is realizing America has thrown up barriers that stop some of the brightest minds in foreign companies from even attempting to relocate here.
The Partnership for a New American Economy, led by New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg and backed by Nashville Mayor Karl Dean and the Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce, came to town this week to persuade other Nashville leaders to get on board. It’s not a new message at all: It used to be that coming to America was a dream come true, particularly for the world’s smartest high-tech workers. But then the trend of hating all immigrants spread rapidly through the country, and the message became that we didn't want any foreigners touching our soil.

Thank goodness this group is singing a different tune. It is pushing Congress to steer clear of hot-button fights over amnesty and border patrols and, instead, focus on real, practical immigration law reform. It favors laws making it easier for high-tech workers to get visas to move here and to keep international students here once they graduate. It comes just a few weeks after news broke that Nashville job recruiters are taking extraordinary steps to find people to fill high-tech jobs. Technology talent needs to be home-grown, but it isn’t right now. Chamber officials are working with 18 universities to entice students to enter tech programs. Local companies also are trying to train the existing pool of unemployed workers who are already here. And, recruiters are turning to places like Silicon Valley to hire and attract technology companies.

Still, 1,000 empty tech jobs is a slew of opportunity. The trend to look at immigrants as a source for filling these jobs is a natural next step. The Partnership for a New American Economy is a year-old group that focuses on loosening federal law to attract more scientists and engineers from foreign countries. For example, it wants to create an entrepreneur visa to draw high-tech talent from countries including China, India and Canada who want to start their own businesses.

Right now, America to those people “is more foreboding than it should be,” Alejandro Mayorkas, director of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, said at a Nashville panel discussion. One of the business people backing the effort is Colin Reed, chairman and chief executive of Gaylord Entertainment Co. He would like to see it become easier to get a tourism visa to visit American cities. The waits for those now are lengthy, and the process requires an interview with the State Department. Why bother, when it’s easier to vacation in other countries?

“We’ve got to have stronger leadership in both branches of government to tackle these issues and not dance around the outside,” Reed said. He’s right on the money. People have become so paranoid about “illegal immigrants” that America has shot itself in the foot when it comes to attracting smart workers, new business owners and tourists.

How refreshing to see a group like this step up and confront those who want to make legal immigration a prickly, emotional issue.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Family Super Visa Introduced by Canada

Canada Immigration officials on Friday announced a new two-year, multi-entry "super visa" for parents and grandparents of immigrants settled in Canada.
The move came after wait times for sponsorship of "family class" applications had grown to an unwieldy seven years or longer.
"Without taking action, those times will continue to grow, and that is unacceptable," said Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism Minister Jason Kenney in announcing the move.
"Action must be taken to cut the backlog, reduce the wait times, and ensure that the parents and grandparents program is sustainable over the long run," Kenney said.
The multiple-entry "Parent and Grandparent Super Visa" will be valid for up to 10 years, officials said, and allow applicants to remain in Canada for 24 months before needing seek visa renewal.
The new visas will begin on December 1 and the will be issued, "on average, within eight weeks of the application," officials said.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Philippine Workers Banned from 41 Countries

The Philippines said Wednesday it had banned Filipinos from traveling to work in 41 countries and territories that had allegedly failed to provide enough safeguards to protect them from abuse. The Department of Labour and Employment in a board resolution posted on its website said the blacklisted countries failed to sign international conventions protecting foreign workers. Neither have these countries signed agreements with the Philippines "on the protection of the rights of overseas Filipino workers," the resolution said.
They also do not have their own laws protecting foreign workers, it added. Included in the list were strife-torn countries such as Afghanistan, Libya, Iraq, Sudan, Chad and Pakistan. Carlos Cao, head of the government's overseas employment agency, said the 41 countries did not receive too many Filipino workers so a ban would not have a very large effect. "These are the smaller countries with small markets. The negative impact is not going to be very big," he told AFP.

The ban will also not affect Filipino workers who are already in those countries so they will not have to come home until their contracts expire, Cao added. There are an estimated nine million Filipino overseas workers, or about 10 percent of the country's population, official statistics show. Many of them work as maids, labourers or seamen in areas where they are vulnerable to abuse although many Filipinos also work in higher positions in Western nations.

Their dollar remittances have traditionally kept the Philippine economy afloat, although reports of abuse are common. While Manila has in the past banned deployment to some areas locked in conflict, many Filipinos still leave through illegal means rather than take low-paying jobs at home.
Edited: 05 December 2011

The Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) showed the list of 41 countries where overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) cannot be deployed.

The list includes prohibited prime destinations like Afghanistan, Lebanon, and Libya.

Aside from these three major OFW destinations, other non-compliant countries included Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, Cambodia, Cayman Islands, Chad, Croatia, Cuba, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea or North Korea, Dominica, East Timor or Timor Leste, Eritrea, Haiti, India, Iraq, Kyrgyzstan or Kyrgyz Republic, and Lesotho.

It also included Mali, Mauritania, Montenegro, Mozambique, Nauru, Nepal, Niger, Pakistan, Palestine, Serbia, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Lucia, St. Vincent and Grenadines, Sudan, Swaziland, Tajikistan, Tonga, Turks and Caicos, Tuvalu, US Virgin Islands, Vanuatu, and Zimbabwe.

Meanwhile, POEA also issued the list of 49 compliant countries on Wednesday, which included Armenia, Bahamas, Bangladesh, Belarus, Benin, Bermuda, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Cape Verde, Central African Republic, Comoros, Congo Republic, Cook Islands, Democratic Republic of Congo, Denmark, Equatorial Guinea, Fiji, Gabon, Gambia, Ghana, Grenada, Guinea, Guinea Bissau, and Guyana.

It also included Iceland, Ivory Coast or Cote d’Ivoire, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Liberia, Madagascar, Malawi, Malta, Mauritius, Morocco, Nigeria, Norway, Puerto Rico, Rwanda, Sao Tome and Principe, Senegal, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Tanzania, Togo, Trinidad and Tobago, Tunisia, Uganda, and Ukraine.

This brings the total number of compliant countries to 125.

Friday, September 30, 2011

Thousands of Foreign Students Reported Over Visas

At least 27,121 migrants were reported to the UK Border Agency by universities and other foreign student sponsors between March 2009 and August 2010. The figures were released to the Manifesto Club campaign group under the Freedom of Information Act. Some 228,000 foreign students came to the UK to study last year. Three in four of these come from outside the EU.
In its Students Under Watch report, the Manifesto Club, which campaigns against regulation, said strict visa controls were forcing academics to spy on students, eroding academic autonomy and damaging relationships between students and staff.

Proportionate system
Josie Appleton, the group's director, said: "Academics are not border agents, and they should not be dragooned into spying on their students. "The UKBA now has rights of entry to any university campus, which is a major threat to academic autonomy. We call for a more proportionate system, which recognises the historic autonomy of the university." The University and College Union, which represents academics said the relationship between staff and students was incredibly important.

Its general secretary, Sally Hunt, said: "It is built on trust and must not be jeopardised by fears that lecturers may be spying on students. "Successive governments have had plans to turn lecturers into spooks overwhelmingly rejected by the academic community." In July, MPs accused the government of rushing plans to curb student visas, saying they could harm the economy.

'Widespread abuse'
The Home Affairs Select Committee said that it was concerned that official figures indicated the restrictions could cost the economy £3.4bn. Officials estimate the measures will cut net migration by 230,000 by the end of the current parliament. But immigration minister Damian Green said the changes were introduced after full and extensive consultation. A UKBA spokesman said: "There has been widespread abuse of the visa system for too long and we have made radical changes in order to make the system more rigorous and accountable. "We expect education providers who are sponsoring foreign students to make the necessary checks."

Saturday, September 24, 2011

US Immigration Enforces New US Visa Rule

 The US immigration agency is enforcing a new set of rules that can make life harder for Americans and their non-citizen spouses living overseas. The new process of obtaining an immigrant visa increased from three months to a minimum of five. Sometimes it may take as long as three years, The New York Times reported on Aug. 14.    
Ukraine is no exception. Americans married to Ukrainians residing in their home country will have to go through a long and complicated visa process if they decide to leave. The US Embassy in Ukraine estimates that the rule will affect approximately 5,000 Americans internationally. In an effort to centralize the process, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security now requires applicants abroad to mail the visa document called I-130 to a central immigration office in Chicago, whereas before it was enough to contact a local consulate.

“This is making a simple process complex,” said Reno Domenico, head of the Ukrainian branch of Democrats Abroad. “The new process is very impersonal, even though they say it will be a simplified process. From our experience, we don’t believe that it will be the case.” Following the submission of I-130, the families will have to wait approximately five months for the processing results, which is nearly twice as long as it was before.

After I-130 is processed, the applicant will have to submit an application to the U.S. State Department for the actual US visa. So, the entire process of bringing the family to the U.S. might take from one to three years. The options for temporary visits to the U.S. by non-citizen spouses, while the application is pending, may be limited, said Dominico.

“We suspect there will be problems with getting visitor’s visas,” he said. The US Citizenship and Immigration Services, however, assure that new rules will improve the overall system. In the interview with The New York Times on Aug. 14, spokeswoman Edna Z. Ruano said that the mail-based approach would save many Americans trips to consulates or embassies abroad and will be a step towards full transition to the electronic process. The background to this rule, according to Ruano, is financial strain on the immigration services. Last year the State Department billed the agency $3 million for its I-130 work. As a result, the agency has decided that “it is more cost effective for U.S.C.I.S. to adjudicate all I-130s, with certain limited exceptions.”

But it is an unpopular decision. “From the administrative point of view, this decision might be reasonable. However, from a human standpoint it is a terrible idea. Even though Ukraine is our home now, the new rule is taking away the choice to return to the U.S. whenever we want,” commented Scott Lewis, executive vice president for Willard. In rare situations, such as medical emergencies, threats to personal safety or some adoptions, the State Department will process applications, speeding the process.

Daniel Cisek, deputy press attache of the U.S. Embassy in Kyiv, said that any exceptions will be approved by the local Citizenship and Immigration Services office, which for Ukraine is in Moscow. “We estimate this will affect less than 20 applicants per year in Ukraine,” Cisek said.  

Monday, September 19, 2011

How Hard to Get a US Visa?

Did you know that for every 10 tourist or business visa applications filed with the United States embassy in Manila, about seven get approved? “It’s a 70 percent approval rate, which is pretty good,” according to Consul General Michael R. Schimmel. He says “it’s a reasonable rate” though he would like it to go higher.
“We very much want to see Filipinos visit the US. It’s in everybody’s interest for Filipinos to travel to the US,” Schimmel, who assumed his post in October, tells the Inquirer. He says international travel is the best way to promote a solid bilateral relationship. He adds, “We want to promote American businesses. Travel is a huge American business. We want to see Philippine nationals come to the US for a wide range of reasons.”
Last year, the embassy received some 210,000 nonimmigrant visa applications, about 700-1,000 applications a day. Close to 30 percent were disapproved for various reasons.
Many applicants who get turned down complain that the disapproval is arbitrary. Retired Army Col. Justino A. Padiernos’ application was denied four successive times between 2008 and 2009. In April, the 77-year-old Padiernos of Gapan, Nueva Ecija filed a formal protest with the Department of Foreign Affairs’ Office of American Affairs (OAA). DFA Assistant Secretary Patricia Ann Paez referred the  protest to Schimmel.
Former Southern Command chief Lt. Gen. Romeo Padiernos had criticized former Foreign Secretary Alberto Romulo for not acting on his older brother’s request for assistance in securing a visa. The older Padiernos studied and worked in the US and was a  permanent resident (green card holder) in 1982-1992. He gave up his green card and returned home, becoming the  chair and chief executive officer of the cooperative Agricultural Productivity Development Corp.
He returned several times to the US as a tourist between 1993 and 2008. Padiernos, who said he wanted to go to the US again to visit his family and attend to a civil court case involving a family property, said the denial of his visa application was arbitrary. The US Embassy said applications were decided based on “individual merits,” consistent with immigration laws.
In a letter to Padiernos, embassy official Richard Swart explained that consular officers were trained   “to presume that visa applicants intend to immigrate unless they can demonstrate that their familial, social, professional, and economic ties to the Philippines are compelling enough for them to return after a temporary stay in the US.”
Swart said applicants should not only show a good and legitimate reason to go to the US, but an even better reason to return home. Padiernos’ wife and daughter live in the US but he cites “strong economic ties” in the Philippines as head of a coop, including a coop for Philippine Military Academy alumni.
Interview is crucial
Schimmel says “there’s nothing mysterious about obtaining a US visa.” But he says everything depends on the interview. He says somebody who is truthful and honest and needs a visa only for a visit will get it. He stresses, “Avoid fixers. There’s no need for an intermediary.”
Schimmel says the US embassy web site explains the procedure. He says because there are about 11 million undocumented foreign nationals in the US, many of them arriving legitimately with visas, they have to scrutinize carefully applications.
No visa waiver for PH
The Philippines is not among 36 countries covered by the Visa Waiver Program (VWP). Nationals of countries covered by VWP can travel to the US for tourism or business purposes without a visa and stay for not more than  90 days. Only four Asian countries are in the VWP: Brunei Darussalam, Japan, Singapore and South Korea.
To be admitted to the program, a country “must meet various security and other requirements, such as enhanced law enforcement and security-related data sharing with the US.” The US State Department says VWP members must also “maintain high counter-terrorism, border control and document security standards.” For a country to qualify, the rate of visa application refusal must be less than two percent. The Philippines’ is around 30 percent.
In the top three
As for immigrant visas, Schimmel says they get 50,000-70,000 applications each year. He says the number places the Philippines in the top three, with Mexico in the number one spot, followed by China.
Last year, the embassy got 52,000 applications. Schimmel says most immigrant visas get approved. Although some applications may get deferred for one reason or another,  “most people in the category eventually—if they’re transparent individuals—will be approved.”
For nonimmigrant visa applications, the fees are: $140 for visitor or business, $150 for temporary worker, $350 for fiance/fiancee, and $390 for investor or trader. For immigrant visas, immediate relative and family preference applicants are charged $330 each. Employment-based application fee is $720.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

US Startup Visa: Visa for Foreign Entrepreneurs

The dream of U.S. to become the world's best startup hub is currently a dream as their current immigration policies have prevented many foreign-born startup founders from remaining in the U.S. The policy is forcing foreign-born startup founders with venture capital and employees out of the country, effectively sending thousands of high paying knowledge jobs overseas for no reason. 
However, the U.S. government is trying new ways to attract these foreign-born startups. They have come up with a new "Startup Visa" - a process through which establishing businesses in the U.S. will become more easier for foreign entrepreneurs. The visa will allow the entrepreneurs to keep their companies and their jobs in the U.S.

The New US Visa will be provided under certain conditions:
  1. Entrepreneurs living outside the U.S. qualify for the visa if an American investor agrees to fund their entrepreneur ventures with a minimum investment of $100,000. Two years later, the startup must have created five new American jobs and either have raised more than $500,000 in financing or be generating more than $500,000 in yearly revenue.
  2. Workers on H- 1B visas or graduates from the U.S. universities in science, technology, engineering, mathematics or computer science are eligible if they have an annual income of at least $30,000 or assets of at least $60,000 and have had an American investor commit investment of at least $20,000 in their ventures. After two years, the startup must have created three new American jobs and either have raised more than $100,000 in financing or be generating more than $100,000 in yearly revenue.
  3. Foreign entrepreneurs whose business has generated at least $100,000 in sales from the U.S. After two years, the startup must have created three new American Jobs and either have raised more than $100,000 in financing or be generating more than $100,000 in yearly revenue.
Every job being created by such startups will contribute towards fulfilling the global competition for talent and investment in the U.S. This visa act will enable the foreign students and workers who are already in the U.S. to qualify for a US visa with a reasonable requirement, where they should have the potential with enough savings so as not to burden the American taxpayers and get a qualified investor or a government entity.

Yet, there is a huge risk involved with this visa. If their entrepreneurial venture fails or does not take a fly, they must start again or leave the U.S. These factors do not suit entrepreneurship, as entrepreneurship means risk taker with no guarantee of success or failure. However, the fact remains that the skilled immigrants create jobs and they have to do so if they want to remain in the U.S. This is future, what about the present? Presently, these entrepreneurs have no other option than taking their ideas home and give a competition to the U.S.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Immigration Lawyer For Your Visa Needs

Contrary to what many people might think, an immigration lawyer is not just someone you call after you’ve gotten in trouble. He or she is also someone to help you avoid getting in trouble in the first place. Entering the United States is always highly restricted, but it is even more so for individuals hailing from a country that is not one of the 36 that participate in a visa waiver program that allows people to come and go without having to apply for visas. For these individuals, applying for the necessary paperwork to travel to the United States can be a daunting and difficult process.
An immigration lawyer will be the first to tell you that there are over 30 different types of U.S. visas, each for a variety of different reasons. By far the two most common are immigrant and non-immigrant visas, which allow entry into the U.S. for two vastly different but very common reasons. Non-immigrant visas allow a person to enter the U.S. for a temporary stay. This could mean simply for a vacation or a business trip or to attend college at an American school. It could also be to visit family or friends. This type generally includes a time limit in terms of how long a person can legally remain at their destination.

An immigrant visa is the most difficult and time-consuming to obtain because it allows for entry into the country for no set amount of time, possibly for the purpose of earning the right to work through a green card or eventually full citizenship status as well. The catch with these documents is that they do not authorize the actual stay in the U.S. itself, only the opportunity to cross the country’s borders and petition for the right to remain. This is where an immigration lawyer can be most necessary, as those who have had visas issued are allowed to reach a U.S. port of entry, where their case is considered by a domestic immigration official. At this point that official could authorize the alien to enter the country and honor the terms of the issued visa, or he or she may turn that person away and refuse entry.

An immigration lawyer knows the rights and privileges of foreign nationals trying to enter the United States as well as anyone. They are best equipped to file effective and successful paperwork to allow the process to proceed as seamlessly as possible. He or she is also able to pick up a case already in progress and can help produce needed results as quickly as possible so that a resolution and final determination is ultimately reached.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Upgraded Immigration Policy with Startup Visa Canada

On the heels of the Startup Visa Act awaiting presentation to Congress in the United States comes the launch of Startup Visa Canada, which aims to upgrade Canada Immigration program by making it easier for prospective entrepreneurs with Canadian investors to launch science and technology companies.
The movement has three principles behind it: Boris Wertz, an investor and co-founder of GrowLab; Danny Robinson, an entrepreneur, investor and member of the B.C. Innovation Council; and the Canadian Venture Capital Association (CVCA). "We are already falling behind countries like Chile, Singapore and Britain, who have already upgraded their programs," Mr. Wertz says, "but I believe we can learn from their programs and make ours better.”

NPR reported this week, in fact, that a Chilean government sponsored program called Start-up Chile is offering entrepreneurs from around the world $40,000 (U.S.) and a year-long residency visa to bring their business ideas to the country. And, the story points out, many American entrepreneurs are already taking Chile up on its offer. Owners don't have to know Spanish, since all commerce is conducted in English.

“Our belief is that we must promote a culture of entrepreneurship in order to successfully compete in the new global economy," says Chris Arsenault, director at CVCA. "Canada can become a beacon, attracting the best and the brightest from across the globe.”

It's hard to argue with a strategy designed to make it easier for entrepreneurs to launch new businesses in Canada and create more jobs in the process.

Growing now, but where are we headed?

"While financial markets have been wildly gyrating this year, small business confidence has been on a relatively even keel," Laura Jones wrote in The Province this week. The senior vice-president of research, economics and Western Canada for the Canadian Federation of Independent Business says confidence levels have registered between 65 and 75 on her organization's monthly business barometer, levels that are consistent with a growing economy. "As a point of comparison," she added, "at the low point during the 2008 downturn, confidence was at 35 on the index." The outlook, of course, is cloudy, given the economic uncertainty hanging over our neighbours in the United States.

Worldwide study characterizes entrepreneurs

A new analysis released Friday by Ernst & Young, the 2011 High-impact Entrepreneurship Global Report, provides insight into the characteristics of high-growth small-business owners. More than 800,000 people were surveyed in 60 countries worldwide, and more than 70,000 of them were entrepreneurs. It found that high-impact entrepreneurs (which E&Y defined as having estimated annual growth above 20 per cent) usually start their companies between the ages of 26 and 45. "They are more likely than entrepreneurs from lower-growth companies and the general population to have college or graduate degrees," the company says in a press release, "and they are likely to work in partnerships. Also, high-impact entrepreneurs are most likely to conduct a significant portion of their business internationally."


Innovation in Canada and Brazil

The opening seminar with an Innovation and Technology theme by the Brazil Canada Chamber of Commerce will put the concept in a global perspective. What role does innovation play in creating leadership in industry – and in countries? The seminar will include representatives from government, innovative companies and industry in Canada and Brazil. The all-morning event takes place Sept. 14 in Toronto at the Ontario Investment and Trade Centre (250 Yonge Street, 35th floor). Cost is $40 for members, $60 for non-members.

The wattage meter rises

Dragon's Den panellist Kevin O'Leary and TV host and automotive industry expert John McElroy have been confirmed as speakers at the Canadian Manufacturing Technology Show 2011, adding some star power to the proceedings. Mr. O’Leary will answer tough questions facing today’s manufacturers, including "how will the global recession affect your industry?" and "what can you do to protect your company and come out stronger?" Mr. McElroy is "expected to make auto makers sit up and take notice" as moderator of an automotive roundtable. The show takes place Oct. 17 to 20 at the Direct Energy Centre in Toronto.


Forty is the new 20

Tired of headlines that read “Hottest Entrepreneurs Under 30,” or “Top 40 Under 40,” or “Top 20 Under 20?” Stories about technology entrepreneurs often ignore the grown-up crowd. But some of Canada’s hottest tech entrepreneurs launched their businesses after 40 – the arbitrary age that often acts as the upper limit of the “best of” lists. These six technology entrepreneurs share their stories, and prove that 40 is nowhere near “over the hill” for startup success. And check out the related photo gallery.


Connecting owners with immigrants

Many small business owners are in desperate need of skilled workers, but they are either unaware of or don’t consider the qualified pool of new immigrants that have already arrived in Canada, Maytree Foundation president Ratna Omidvar told reporter Carys Mills in July. Maytree is trying to come up with strategies to connect the two, contending it will bring benefits to both.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Stricter UK Visa Rules Put Some Colleges in Bind

Less than six months after the British government announced tighter restrictions on UK student visas, at least one university has said it is being forced to close one of its campuses as a result of the new regulations. Schiller International University, which is based in Florida and has four other international campuses, is closing its London campus and will not start its autumn semester, which was to begin on Tuesday, officials said last week.
The university would not provide enrollment figures but said 80 to 85 percent of its students were from non-European Union countries, which means that they required visas to study in Britain. A person who answered the main office phone at Schiller’s London campus said about 35 students enrolled there last year. “The decision to close our London campus was directly related to the new UK immigration rules,” William Moore, executive vice president of the university, said in an e-mail.

The university, founded in 1964, offers degrees in business, economics and tourism, with the London campus located in the borough of Southwark. The other campuses are in Largo, Florida; Heidelberg, Germany; Madrid; and Paris. The new visa rules were announced in a speech to Parliament in March by Home Secretary Theresa May, in which she said the government was “cracking down on bogus colleges” and “bogus students.” The first of the changes went into effect in April, with more restrictions to be imposed through April 2012.

Reducing immigration has been a major policy issue for David Cameron’s Conservative-Liberal Democrat coalition government since it came to power in 2010. In a speech made in September of that year, Immigration Minister Damian Green said that although Britain benefited from immigration, “unsustainable levels of net migration seen in recent years must be brought down.”

But the British Home Office subsequently released a report in June saying that the British economy stood to lose £1.3 billion to £3.6 billion, or $2.1 billion to $5.8 billion, over the next four years, largely as a result of lost productivity from foreign students, graduates and their dependents. Universities also stand to lose £170 million from tuition fees, while the UK Border Agency would lose £160 million in visa processing fees, the report said.

A spokeswoman for the UK Border Agency, which is responsible for carrying out the government’s immigration policy, said in a statement that the estimate focused only on student and graduate jobs, which could be filled by British workers, and explained the need for visa reform.

“A significant proportion of the impact is due to less work being done by students, poststudy workers, and their dependants,” said the spokeswoman, who declined to give her name, following agency policy. “This is a worse-case scenario dependent on this work not being filled by the U.K. labor market.”

“The old student visa regime,” she added, “was open to widespread abuse and failed to protect legitimate students from being exploited by poor quality colleges.” Gina Hobson, chief executive of the British Accreditation Council, an independent accreditation body for independent colleges, said the changes could have an effect the institutions in the future. “We’re aware of a couple of other institutions that have decided that it’s no longer viable to run,” she said this month in a telephone interview.

“Given the impact the immigration policies will have on the sector, I expect to see further closures in the private education sector, which may include institutions with partnerships with U.K. universities,” Ms. Hobson said. Under the new, more stringent framework of “educational oversight,” all higher education institutions will be required to obtain so-called Highly Trusted Sponsor status from a much smaller list of official accreditation bodies before they can sponsor prospective foreign students for their visa applications.

Highly Trusted Sponsor status requires institutions to satisfy criteria like minimum enrollment rates and course completion rates, as well as being subject to periodic inspections by the British Home Office. The British Accreditation Council is one of several independent bodies that will lose their power to accredit higher education institutions. Nicola Dandridge, chief executive of Universities UK, a body representing Britain’s public universities, said the further impact would be unclear.

“It remains to be seen what long-term impact these changes will have on the numbers of international students applying to come to study at U.K. universities,” she said this month in a statement. According to the British Home Office, the education industry is worth £40 billion annually to the British economy, of which international students contribute £12.5 billion. In 2010, a total of 334,815 student visas were issued by the British government, but the British Home Office has predicted that the new measures will result in 67,000 fewer per year.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

PHILTOA Invites Everyone to Visit the 22nd Philippine Travel Mart

If you’re a travel enthusiast looking for a great vacation spot or you’re just in the mood to have a weekend getaway with your loved ones, you should definitely visit the 22nd Philippine Travel Mart (PTM) this September. Not only will it be held in a bigger venue at the SMX Convention Center in SM Mall of Asia on September 2-4, it will also feature even more tour and travel packages to the most beautiful places in the country such.

The annual event is organized by the Philippine Tour Operators Association (PHILTOA) and is supported by the Department of Tourism. Hundreds of exhibitors will be present at the PTM to offer tour packages that cater to the different travel preferences of companies and individuals.

“We’re always looking to make the experience at the Philippine Travel Mart better and more engaging,” says Cesar Cruz, PHILTOA president. “Aside from wanting a bigger venue so that we could accommodate more participants, we also wanted to offer something different. In line with our aim to also make the Philippines a premier destination for luxury travel, we recently awarded the Top 10 Luxe Destinations in the Philippines. We will also be offering tour packages for these destinations at the 22nd Philippine Travel Mart.”

In addition to that, this lively and engaging event will have seminars and cultural performances such as the Cultural Dance Competition the Eco-Chorale, and a memorable performance centered on the revival of the kundiman, which is a genre of traditional Filipino love songs.

Not only will there be tour packages exclusively available at the PTM, there will also be educational seminars for those who are interested in learning about the current trends in the travel industry. For the younger generation, there will be a Tourism Quiz Bee, which encourages friendly competition among its contestants as they find an engaging way to know more about the Philippines.

With its numerous activities, fun games, and great travel deals in store for everyone, the 22nd Philippine Travel Mart is a must-visit for people who are looking for a perfect vacation spot where they could unwind and have fun with their friends and relatives.

“I’d like to invite everyone to drop by the 22nd Philippine Travel Mart on September 2-4 at the SMX Convention Center in SM Mall of Asia,” Cruz says. “Aside from a variety of tour and travel packages, you also get to know more about the local culture.”

The Philippine Tour Operators Association (PHILTOA), Inc. is an organization of tour operators and allied members actively involved in the advocacy of responsible tourism. Founded on 12 June 1986, non-stock and non-profit organization. The membership includes travel agencies, hotel, resorts, transportation companies, handicraft stores, and other tourism-oriented establishments and association. For more information on the 22nd Philippine Travel Mart, please visit www.philtoa.org

Friday, August 12, 2011

Things You Need to Know About Australian Immigration

Many Filipinos travel around the world, that’s why many Filipinos need to be updated on different Immigration tips. I have shared before UK Immigration tips, US Immigration tips and even Canada Immigration tips. Now I will share to you my beloved readers all about Australia immigration tips.

We all know that Australia is "as good as it gets" - and also notes that getting through the immigration system is "difficult but not impossible". Australian people are famous for their friendly and easygoing outlook on life. But anyone planning to come to Australia should understand that the Australian government is serious about "protecting the security of our borders and the integrity of our immigration system".
  • Australia has a Universal Visa system. All non-citizens (unless you are a New Zealander) must have a visa to enter Australia. All non-citizens in Australia must hold a valid visa or be liable to detention and removal as 'unlawful non-citizens'.
  • Australia's target migration intake is set yearly with a balance of different areas: skills, family, refugee/humanitarian. Of these areas, there is a strong policy emphasis on reducing family intake and boosting skills and business skills intakes.
  • Not everyone is eligible for an Australia visa. Visa matters are subject to the Migration Act and Regulations. The rules change frequently according to legislative amendments and Federal and High Court precedents.
  • Each visa subclass has its own conditions and criteria. If you apply in the wrong class, or you do not satisfy the decision-maker that you meet the conditions and criteria for the class you apply in, your application will be rejected without refund of the application fee.
  • Discrimination against race or religion or gender is illegal in Australia, including the Australian Immigration system. There is legal discrimination by the Immigration system on the basis of factors like age, medical factors, character and criminal grounds, an applicant's previous visa history, the overstay risk statistics of different countries, and so on. 'Cap and queue' setting is also a feature of some types of visa, delaying processing of those visas when the annual quota is filled.
  • Visa applications are decided strictly on the merits of the applicant vis-à-vis the relevant class and subclass. Bribery and corrupt practices are alien to Australian official culture.
  • Where a visa application is rejected and there is an Australian sponsoring interest, an appeal is available to an independent Review Tribunal in Australia. The application for review is separate from the visa application itself, with an application deadline and a separate fee, refundable if the appeal wins. Many Immigration Department decisions taken to the Review Tribunals are overturned. These cases can be considered the Immigration Department's mistakes in interpreting and applying migration law.
  • Appeals are also possible to the Federal and High Courts. These too are separate applications, which will usually require legal representation.
  • The 'migration industry' is rife with unscrupulous operators. Outside of Australia, there is no restriction on who may give Australian migration advice and charge you for it. In Australia, however, there are severe penalties including jail and heavy fines for those who offer migration advice without being registered with the Migration Agents Registration Authority (MARA)
  • Migration Agents are bound by a professional Code of Conduct and subject to disciplinary sanctions if they breach it. To be registered, Migration Agents must demonstrate a sound knowledge of migration law and practice, and they must continually update their knowledge.
  • A good adviser can help your chances by selecting the best visa avenue for your case, properly preparing the visa application with all necessary evidence, and effectively representing the case during processing.
  • Registered Migration Agents are not Immigration officials. A Registered Migration Agent cannot 'guarantee' that you will get the visa.
  • For this reason, generally speaking, any migration assistance contract containing a financial 'guarantee' should be regarded with suspicion. In some markets, clients expect and demand a 'no visa, no fee' or 'money-back guarantee' offer, incorrectly believing that this is a promise that the visa may be procured. In these markets, lawyers specialise in tricky, elaborate, and confusing contracts, to deceive the client into thinking the money will be refunded after a rejection.
  • As in everything else, in professional migration advice you get what you pay for. For best value, consult and get proper advice first, before deciding whether to make a visa application and what visa to apply for. The wise will expect to pay for that advice: the money you spend could save you a fortune in wasted time, plans, hopes, trouble, and costs.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Basic Requirements Needed for US Visa Application

It’s been a long time since I last updated this blog. I had a very busy schedule, sorry to keep you waiting guys. So, after giving you some basic tips in UK Immigration and US Immigration as well as the Canada Immigration now I am sharing you’re the Basic Requirements needed for US Visa Application:

1. DS-160 ONLINE NONIMMIGRANT VISA ELECTRONIC APPLICATION – All applicants must complete the DS-160 Online Nonimmigrant Visa Electronic Application. Applicants can access the DS-160 from the Consular Electronic Application Center website.

In order to avoid delays in processing visa applications, visa applicants or their representatives must ensure that the following information is correctly provided: Applicant’s Complete Name (required format is Surname, First Name(s), Middle Name), Applicant’s Passport Information (the passport used in filling out the form must be the same passport presented on the day of the interview), Other Names (for married female applicants, type your complete maiden name), Purpose of Trip (if the answer falls under “Other,” specify the purpose of travel in the blank provided), Primary Occupation (if the answer falls under “Other,” specify the occupation in the blank provided), Contact Person and Contact Address in the United States, Father’s Complete Name, and Mother’s Complete Maiden Name.

2.  PASSPORT – Signed passports must be valid for at least six months from the date of intended departure from the United States. The passport must be in good condition, i.e., photo lamination is undamaged, and all passport pages are intact.
Applicants must also present all previously issued passports or notarized affidavits of loss, if applicable.
Taiwanese passport holders who do not have Taiwan personal identification numbers listed above the date of birth on the biographic data page in their passports must present their original Philippine residency permit.
3.  PHOTO - One 2" x 2" standard photo.  The photo must be:
  • In color
  • Sized such that the head is between 1 inch and 1 3/8 inches (22 mm and 35 mm) or 50% and 69% of the image's total height from the bottom of the chin to the top of the head. View the Photo Composition Template for more size requirement details.
  • Taken within the last 6 months to reflect your current appearance
  • Taken in front of a plain white or off-white background
  • Taken in full-face view directly facing the camera
  • With a neutral facial expression and both eyes open
  • Taken in clothing that you normally wear on a daily basis
    • Uniforms should not be worn in your photo, except religious clothing that is worn daily.
    • Do not wear a hat or head covering that obscures the hair or hairline, unless worn daily for a religious purpose. Your full face must be visible, and the head covering must not cast any shadows on your face.
    • Headphones, wireless hands-free devices, or similar items are not acceptable in your photo.
    • If you normally wear glasses (without tinted lenses), a hearing device, or similar articles, they may be worn in your photo.
    • Dark glasses or glasses with tinted lenses are not acceptable.
    • Glare on glasses is not acceptable in your photo. Glare can be avoided with a slight downward tilt of the glasses or by removing the glasses or by turning off the camera flash.
4. EXTENSION OF STAY/CHANGE OF STATUS – Please bring copies of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) approvals of extension of stay or change of status, if applicable.
5.  PROOF OF RELATIONSHIP (if applying with/for dependent/s)
  • Original marriage certificate printed on Philippine National Statistics Office security paper, if applicable (if applying with a spouse and/or child)
  • Original birth certificate printed on Philippine National Statistics Office security paper (for dependent/s)

Monday, July 18, 2011


When we talk about travel and immigration, human trafficking always comes next. That is why our government creates a law about this one. The Trafficking Victim Protection Act of 2000 is the pertinent law on human trafficking. It defines the victims of severe forms of trafficking and it delineates what is considered mere exploitation, and when such exploitation rises to the level of human trafficking. There is a distinction between alien smuggling and human trafficking.

Human trafficking encompasses all ages, as well as men and women of varying educational levels.

Trafficking may start from the country of origin or when the person is already inside the United States. It is ironic that traffickers often victimize people from their own ethnic group.


Trafficking often involves fraud or coercion and could arise from simple exploitative employment to sophisticated and highly organized operations resulting in the exploitation of the victims.

Trafficking can arise from what appears as a legitimate recruitment business to criminal operations.

Several men from a certain village worked in the Middle East. When the security situation in that region worsened, they returned home, only to find out that life back home was difficult and there were only a few jobs. Soon, they found themselves flocking to the office of a recruiter.

The recruiter promised jobs in exchange for placement fees, which the job applicants agreed to pay by signing promissory notes in favor of a lender, who advanced the placement fees. After receiving their visas, the job applicants were herded to a hotel room and were introduced to a lender. The workers were promised housing, a certain rate and assured jobs upon arrival. The workers were met by an associate of the recruiter and were made to surrender their passports. There were four to a room in the workers' quarters, so it was difficult to have privacy.

The promises crumbled quickly when the workers could not immediately find work. Meanwhile, their family members were being harassed by the lender who advanced the placement fee.

Another scenario involved a woman who was offered a position in the U.S. after a battery of interviews. She was excited to start working immediately and save up money to pay off bills.

When she arrived, she was driven to a nightclub, where she joined several terrified young ladies. Her passport was taken away from her and she was required to service customers sexually to pay off her travel expenses and other costs incurred when she was transported to her "employer,"


The T visa provides relief to victims of severe forms of trafficking. Other types of relief may be available too, so it is worth exploring all immigration options.

The T visa is available for four years, with the possibility of adjusting into a lawful permanent resident at the end of the third year.

To avail of this visa option, the following requirements must be met: a severe form of trafficking must exist (sexual or labor exploitation); the victim is present on account of trafficking in persons; the victim has complied with a reasonable request for assistance from a law enforcement agency; and the victim will suffer extreme hardship if removed from the United States.

The U visa is another form of relief that a victim of human trafficking may qualify for. Just like the T visa, the U visa is available for four years, with the possibility of adjusting into a lawful permanent resident at the end of the third year.

The requirements for a U visa are as follows: the individual is the victim of one of the crimes listed under the law; the victim possesses information about the crime; the victim is willing to cooperate with law enforcement officers; and the victim suffered mental or physical abuse because of the crime.

There are other forms of relief available pursuant to laws such as the Violence against Women Act, political asylum (if applicable) and a special immigrant juvenile status may be available to minors.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Tips for a Successful Canada Immigration

It’s been a while since the last update of this blog. I already shared to you different Immigration tips for a successful immigration. Since many of us are having a hard time to go to the US, some of the immigrants choose Canada as the replacement for US. Now I will share to you guys the tips for the successful immigration in Canada.

During the immigration process you would be called in for an interview. To become a citizen it is important that you pass that interview. Questions are primarily designed to test the knowledge of the applicant but other questions relating the applicant’s background are also asked. Your confidence level would certainly help you a lot during such interviews. There are a number of tips that should be kept in mind which would ensure your interview to go as smooth as possible.
  • Tell the truth no matter what. It is important to remember that if you lie intentionally during such an interview it may be caught at a later stage which would only cause problems. You might even end up getting deported back to your country. If you are questioned regarding your criminal record it is important to answer truthfully and explain the circumstances which led to the criminal activity. Maybe it wasn’t your fault in the first place so why lie about it.
  • Bring all the necessary documents for the interview. Apart from that the best advice anyone could give you is to be on time. Arrive at the place early and you won’t have to rush through security in order to be on time for the interview. Catch your breath and enter the room confidently. You know what they say first impression is always the last impression.
  • During the interview communicate well. If you don’t understand any question ask them to repeat it. Being shy at this stage wouldn’t do you any good. Listen to the question carefully when it is being repeated and answer accordingly. You would be able to answer a question in a much better way if you understand what is being asked. Guessing the answer wouldn’t do you any good either so it is always beneficial to ask them to repeat the question.
  • As mentioned earlier the first impression is the last impression. The first thing an interviewer sees is you dressing. Before you start talking the interviewer would judge you by your clothing. There dress to impress. It is important that you feel at ease during the interview. Be yourself and don’t try extra hard to impress the interviewer. That wouldn’t help you in any way. In fact that can very well backfire and might damage the impression you may have created. Be polite and appreciative. After the interview is over thank the interviewer for taking your time and considering your application. Do not go out of your way to thank the interviewer. Being overly grateful might not be the right attitude for such situations. Just a quick acknowledgment should suffice.
Attention to every little detail should be given. Even the slightest of things can affect the whole process and determine the success and failure of the interview. It is necessary for you to prepare for the interview and be organized. Show you are confident and give it your best shot.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Tips to Avoid Being a Victim of Illegal Recruitment

A high monthly income with additional allowance, and other incentives. Sounds too good and very tempting right? But don't you know that every year hundreds of victims suffer financially and emotionally while the perpetrator enjoys the loot of their crimes. Some come forward and complain others remain silent in shame. Illegal recruitment has caused some families to break up. Criminal cases crop up as a result of non-payment of loans obtained to settle placement fees for non-existing jobs abroad. Others had gone to the highlands and joined leftist group rather than face their creditors and be subjected to humiliation by friends, neighbors and even family members.

But how to stop illegal recruitment? Illegal recruitment has been with us for so long yet it seems that not much has been done about it. We all know that illegal recruitment is a crime. But why let ourselves be a victim after all? Is it because we want to gamble, win and take it all? Or it is a simple failure on our part to recognize what is genuine and what is not.

The keywords are failure to recognize what is genuine and what is not. No person in his right mind would like to be gypped or in Filipino term “Walang taong gustong maloko”.

Illegal recruitment is pure and simple "Pangloloko" and illegal recruiters are con artists and masters in the art of fraud and cheating. Therefore the best way to eradicate illegal recruitment is for us to recognize what is genuine and what is not.

Here are some tips to avoid being a victim of Illegal recruitment.
  • Do not apply at recruitment agencies not licensed by POEA.
  • Do not deal with licensed agencies without job orders.
  • Do not deal with any person who is not an authorized representative of a licensed agency.
  • Do not transact business outside the registered address of the agency. If recruitment is conducted in the province, check if the agency has a provincial recruitment authority.
  • Do not pay more than the allowed placement fee. It should be equivalent to one month salary, exclusive of documentation and processing costs.
  • Do not pay any placement fee unless you have a valid employment contract and an official receipt.
  • Do not be enticed by ads or brochures requiring you to reply to a Post Office (P.O.) Box, and to enclose payment for processing of papers.
  • Do not deal with training centers and travel agencies, which promise overseas employment.
  • Do not accept a tourist visa.
  • Do not deal with fixers.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Ten Interesting TipsTo Help You Understand Your Immigration Case

I have discussed before some tips for a successful US Immigration and Successful UK Immigration. I also share to you the Ten Commandments of Succesful Immigration. Now let me share to you some tips on how you can understand your Immigration case.

The following information has been culled from many sources and been the subject of our office meetings. Some of the 10 points which are covered may provide helpful tips to those applying for immigration benefits. Others may allow for understanding of how the process works by agencies administering benefits and enforcement. Overall we hope the article helps the reader.

  • 1. Where the beneficiary is overseas in an I-130 marriage case, U.S.C.I.S. will not issue an RFE (Request for Further Evidence) to obtain a missing beneficiary signature on a Form G-325A biographic data sheet, but will adjudicate the I-130 form and the signature can be later collected at the consulate.
  • 2. To expedite Form I-131 reentry permit biometrics and delivery of the permit, an applicant should mark the outer envelope of the form I-131 package "Expedite" and include two prepaid mailers for delivery of both the ASC (Application Support Center) appointment notice and travel document. If the applicant provides an e-mail address or fax number, the Nebraska Service Center will be able the fax the ASC appointment to the applicant and the ASC will be willing to accept the duplicate copy of the appointment notice.
  • 3. Lawyers complained that because of the current I-140 form distinguishing between EB-3 (employment based third preference) professional and EB-3 skilled workers, several I-140 petitions have been denied because the box for "professional" was marked where the Nebraska Service Center found that the petition was not approvable as an EB-3 professional, but evidence submitted demonstrated that the petition was approvable under the skilled worker category. Nebraska stated that petitioners who notice the need for change prior to adjudication can e-mail directly to ncscfollowup.nsc@dhs.gov. It said that there was no need to phone prior to sending the e-mail communication.
  • 4. Where the applicant does not have a Form I-94 entry/exit card and is applying for adjustment of status to permanent residence based on family relationship, he/she should submit Form I-102 Application for Replacement/ Initial Nonimmigrant Arrival-Departure Document with the I-485 Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status to the Chicago Lockbox of the NBC (National Benefits Center). The Lockbox currently separates the I-102 from the I-485 if there are separate checks for each form. If there is one check payment for both forms, the forms stay together in the applicant's "A" file.
  • 5. Confusion has often appeared to be the order of the day where petitions or applications to U.S.C.I.S. are complex and thick, and attorneys and others have constantly asked for guidance from the agency on how to separate the different exhibits so that the petitions or applications are more readily understandable to the examiner. Of great concern has been the fact that the cashiers at U.S.C.I.S. Service Centers tend to snip off any tabs sticking out of the paperwork, whether the tabbing is done sideways or along the bottom of the papers. Following conversations with supervisors and line adjudicators at Service centers, the best current advice seems to be to separate the exhibits by plain sheets of paper, not colored, and mark clearly to what the documents or exhibits relate. If colored paper is used, it should be light-colored.
  • 6. There is a recent directive from U.S.C.I.S. Field Operations that where an applicant paid for an I-485 Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status, the application was denied, an NTA (Notice To Appear) issued for the applicant to appear in the immigration court, and the case terminated by an immigration judge, the applicant will have to refile the I-485 application and pay the filing fee again.
  • 7. On H-1B cap exemptions based on relation or affiliation with institutions of higher education - until it issues further guidance - U.S.C.I.S. will give deference to prior determinations made since June 6, 2006, that a nonprofit entity is related to or affiliated with an institution of higher education absent any significant change in circumstances or clear error in the prior adjudication. A petitioner should provide U.S.C.I.S. with a copy of the prior I-129 form and attachments, I-797 approval notice, any documentation submitted in support of the cap exemption, and include a statement attesting that the organization was approved as cap exempt since June 6, 2006.
  • 8. U.S.C.I.S. has come out with a proposed rule for a new H-1B employer registration system with 60 days comment beginning March 3, 2011. The rule is not targeted for this year's H-1B cap allotment since the 60 day period will end on May 2, well past the beginning date of April 1, 2011, for the initial acceptance of cap subject H-1B petitions. Briefly registration will be free, companies can register applicants as many times as they want and CIS (Citizenship and Immigration Services) will accept the first valid registration and reject any subsequent duplicative requests. Employers will file electronically with U.S.C.I.S. during the registration period beginning no later than March for a minimum period of two weeks and include basic information such as the employer's name, EIN, mailing address, authorized representative's name, job title, contact information (telephone and e-mail address), beneficiary's full name, date and country of birth, citizenship, gender, passport number, and any other information required by U.S.C.I.S.
  • 9. A Guangzhou American consulate initial rejection notice for a cook case was interesting in asking for among other items the cook's official blue license/certificate; and a VHS videotape or VCD/DVD showing the cook preparing and cooking from start to finish, Cantonese/Sichuan,/Beijing/Japanese/Western/dishes (whichever applicable) including at least ___ fish dish and ___ vegetable dish. It also stated that the video tape or VCD/DVD should not have any cuts or edits, show the cook's face and hands at all times, and include chopping, ingredients and final presentation.
  • 10. The illegal practice of having one's passport marked with official looking stamps of another country showing entry/exit to either "prove" that a person spent more time or less time outside the United States is no longer as effective as in the past due to new tools by CBP (Customs and Border Protection). People on visiting visas who have spent much time in the States are tempted to show that most of their time has been spent in their homeland, and those who hold U.S. permanent residence who have spent much time in their homelands are tempted to show more U.S. physical presence. That is because visitors spending too much time in the States may be thought of as non-bonafide visitors, and permanent residents spending too much time outside the U.S. may be in danger of losing their green cards for not keeping up their residence in the States. Making up your own "backdate" stamps when you return home does not usually now work according to a recent newspaper article focusing on people from the Philippines who tried to backdate arrival dates and were caught by CBP. Proof of travel in and out the United States is now available through various databases. The article cited U.S. VISIT which monitors entries and exits and stores biometric/ biographic information; that carriers are required to furnish manifests of arriving/departing passengers to CBP; and that APIS (Advance Passenger Information System) is a web site interface by carriers to provide advance electronic information to CBP.
Many of the points presented above are technical, but being aware of one or two of them may save an applicant or petitioner time and headache in dealing with the agencies involved in immigration benefits or enforcement. Readers should keep in mind, however, that procedures and policies in the field of immigration are constantly changing and that today's good information is more than occasionally superseded by tomorrow's developments.

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