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Northern California Immigration Law Blog

Visas for employment immigration have preference categories

When individuals from other countries want to come work in California and other parts of the United States, they have to go through the proper legal channels. Employment immigration has many aspects, but some parties may be able to obtain visas that allow them to enter the country to work. There are various preference categories for these limited visas, with the most sought after individuals landing in the First Preference EB-1.

With this category, individuals may qualify if they have extraordinary abilities in certain areas, including education, arts, athletics, business or sciences. This ability must be evidenced through the proper documentation. Some evidence may include winning an Olympic medal, published materials with the visa applicant as the subject or holding a leading role in a distinguished organization.

Specific categories could impact journey to permanent residency

Though many people enter the country on visas, if they want to legally remain, many steps need taking. In particular, people from other countries often want to obtain permanent residency in the United States by gaining a green card. There are several eligibility categories through which individuals in California and across the country could apply for a green card.

One category involves working toward obtaining a green card through family connections. If a person has an immediate relative -- such as a spouse or a child who is 21 years old or older -- who is a U.S. citizen, that person could apply for a green card through family. This category also includes individuals who have a fiance who is a U.S. citizen and those who are a widow or widower of a citizen.

Backlogs in U.S. immigration law courts leave many in limbo

Immigration is a tricky issue. Even when individuals attempt to enter and live in California and other parts of the country through legal means, they can face complications and the possibility of deportation. U.S. immigration law is complex, and the court systems have significant backlogs for a variety of immigration cases, including those who entered the country seeking asylum or for other reasons.

Even as some individuals work to understand these legal proceedings, they may remain uncertain due to possible changes. It seems that the topic of immigration is constantly making headlines, especially in regard to making changes to policies and portions of the legal system that address issues involving individuals coming into the country. Members of the current administration are certainly working to determine how to handle various aspects of immigration reform.

What steps are involved in the adjustment of status process?

Many people enter the United States on various types of visas. However, they may come to feel that this country could act as their new permanent home. Of course, individuals cannot simply choose to live in California or other states without following the proper steps, including working toward an adjustment of status that allows them to pursue a green card.

There are many steps involved in the adjustment of status process, and any mistake could throw someone's attempts of obtaining permanent residency off track. Individuals will need to determine what immigrant category they need to apply under and what that category requires for moving forward with the process. An immigrant petition and a green card application must also be completed. Paperwork plays an important role in this process, and parties need to make sure that these forms and any others are completed properly.

Enforcement of U.S. immigration law leads to more investigations

When individuals hear about government crackdowns in relation to immigration, it can cause people in California and other areas to feel a sense of anxiety. Many people who work and live in the country may not have every aspect of their immigration affairs in order. As a result, they may fear that they could face deportation with greater enforcement of U.S. immigration law.

It was recently reported that, since a directive was implemented to take greater steps to ensure that businesses were complying with immigration law, the number of worksite investigations for this year had already surpassed last year's investigations. In fact, the investigations that have taken place so far have already doubled the number that were carried out during the entirety of the last fiscal year. The months included in this current portion of the fiscal year are from October of last year to May 4.

How to apply for a student visa

Individuals from any country are welcome to apply for a student visa to study at American universities. Student visas are necessary for anyone who wishes to attend a university, high school, conservatory or seminary within the United States. 

Before worrying about the visa, immigrants should first apply to the desired school. Once accepted, the institution will provide step-by-step details for how the individual can acquire a visa. The student needs to follow all steps precisely to obtain a temporary visa.

Seeking asylum can be a long and difficult journey

Having to leave home for any reason can bring about feelings of anxiety. When individuals from other countries have to flee their homes, anxiety may also be coupled with fear. In some cases, people may not have a fully formed plan of where they are headed, and as a result, they may need to seek asylum once they get to a country they feel may be safe.

Many individuals seeking asylum come to California due to its shared border with Mexico. However, working to obtain this protection can be a long and complicated process. Individuals in this position will need to fill out the proper applications, provide details on why they are seeking protection and give information relating to their families and personal backgrounds. Interviews are also required, and it can take years for the process to be completed.

Backlog of citizenship applications increases, keeps many waiting

Finding one's place in the world can be a difficult and life-long journey. When it comes to finding a place to live, it can be just as difficult. Immigration issues can easily complicate certain situations, and some individuals in California may feel that obtaining permanent residency is a great achievement. While this milestone should be viewed as such, it does not offer the same protections and benefits as citizenship.

Because the process for working toward citizenship is a long and complex journey, some parties may not feel too rushed to move forward after obtaining a green card. However, due to recent changes and actions regarding immigration laws in the United States, many people have felt more compelled to submit applications for citizenship. In fact, the backlog of applications has become more pronounced in recent years.

Employment immigration: H-1B visa application numbers drop

When California companies need new employees with certain skill sets, they may feel that they cannot find the proper candidates domestically. As a result, they may consider applicants from other countries. Of course, employment immigration is complicated, and working to obtain the proper work visas for potential employees is no easy or guaranteed feat.

It was recently reported that the number of applications for H-1B work visas dropped to 190,098 from the 199,000 that came in last year. This number still greatly exceeds the number of visas available, which totals only 85,000. In order for employers to obtain these visas, applications must be submitted and then a lottery drawing determines which companies will be awarded the visas. A computer program conducts the drawings.

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