April 2012

H-1B Petition Count starts for Fiscal year 2012

On April 2, 2012, the USCIS began accepting H-1B petitions for the fiscal year 2012. So far it has received approximately 18,000 petitions toward the annual cap of 65,000. Cases will be considered accepted on the date that USCIS takes possession of a properly filed petition with the correct fee. USCIS will not rely upon the date that the petition is postmarked.

Background: Anyone with an offer of employment for a "specialty occupation," requiring a bachelor's degree or higher, may be eligible for this valuable H-1B employment visa. There is a cap of 65,000 petitions per fiscal year. Some aliens of advanced degree are provided an exemption from the cap, i.e. for the first 20,000 petitions filed for beneficiaries who have obtained a U.S. master's degree or higher.

If you are looking for an employment-based visa in order to remain in the U.S., consult with an experienced immigration attorney immediately.


U.S. designates TPS for Syrians

Given the recent political and social violence in Syria, the U.S. government has provided Temporary Protected Status to nationals of Syria, if they were present in the United States on March 29, 2012. Below is the article reproduced from the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services.

Eligible Syrian nationals in the United States may begin the application process

Released Mar. 29, 2012

WASHINGTON— Due to the violent upheaval and deteriorating situation in the Syrian Arab Republic (Syria), U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced today that eligible Syrian nationals (and persons without nationality who last habitually resided in Syria) in the United States may apply for Temporary Protected Status (TPS). . . . . .

On March 23, 2012, Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano announced her intent to designate Syria for TPS for eighteen months. The TPS designation for Syria is effective today and will remain in effect through September 30, 2013. The designation means that eligible Syrian nationals will not be removed from the United States, and may request employment authorization. The 180-day TPS registration period begins today and ends on September 25, 2012. Although the Federal Register notice erroneously states that TPS applications must be filed March 29, 2012 through September 30, 2013, USCIS will only accept applications filed through September 25, 2012. USCIS is working to correct the public information on the registration deadline date.

To be eligible for TPS, Syrians must meet all individual requirements for TPS, including demonstrating that they have continually resided and been continually physically present in the United States since March 29, 2012. All individuals who apply for TPS will undergo a thorough security check. Individuals with criminal records or who pose a threat to national security are not eligible for TPS and their applications will be denied.

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Syria joins El Salvador, Haiti, Honduras, Nicaragua, Somalia, Sudan, and South Sudan as countries currently designated for TPS.

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In This Issue


Newsletter Issues


Q & A - Investor Visa Options

Q: Dear Immigration Counselors,
my brother lives in the United Kingdom with his wife and children. He owns his business and manages it. He would like to invest in the United States and possibly relocate here. He is looking into investing in real estate. But he is told that he must invest half a million dollars for the EB-5 Visa? Is there any other option?


A: Dear L.H.,
yes your brother does have other options besides the EB-5 Visa, which requires $500,000 or $1,000,000 investment, depending on the type of targeted business. In order to classify a foreigner for a possible business visa, he or she must meet the specific requirements of that visa.

Thus, for example if your brother seeks to invest a substantial amount in a U.S. business enterprise, which he seeks to develop and direct, then he may qualify for the non-immigrant E-2 Treaty Investor Visa. Although the regulations do not define "substantial,"; they do state that the business must be more than just to provide a minimal living for the investor and his family. Thus, even with an investment of much less than $500,000, a person may qualify for an investor visa.

If he seeks to open a U.S. office of the foreign company and to transfer himself as an Executive, Manager, or Employee of Specialized Knowledge, to this U.S. office, then he may qualify for the non-immigrant L-1 visa as an Intra-company Transferee.

Under the current rules, purchasing a real property does not, in and of itself, provide a status in the United Status. However, treatment of a property as a business investment, if structured properly, may qualify.

The above are some of the Visa options available. For a full evaluation of the possibilities, feel free to contact us.

To ask Immigration Counselors your questions, please email attorney@immigrationcounselors.com


Your Visa Bulletin

Visit http://www.travel.state.gov/visa/bulletin/bulletin_5692.html to check the recent priority dates for Immigrant Visa Bulletin.

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