Trafficked Men Awarded $14 Million

I always thought that it was women who had to be wary of being lured into unsavory and inhumane working conditions.  But men should also beware of an offer too good to be true.  They were promised green cards and entered the US on H2B visas that do not lead to a green card.  500 Indian workers were lured by Sachin Dewan, an India based recruiter to work in a ship repair yard in Louisiana after Hurricane Katrina.  They were represented by a US lawyer.

They lived in labor camps under inhumane conditions, 24 to a trailer, where according to reports the company prayed that there would no federal government inspections.  To top it off, each paid $1050 per month to live there and were not allowed to live off campus! Each paid $10,000 to $20,000 to the recruiter, so the men were in debt up to their eyeballs!

ACLU and several law firms contributed their services pro bono. 5 men were awarded $14 million in damages.  Of course the company Signal International has appealed the award.  Cases for about 200 have been filed.

Nalini Mahadevan

nsm@mlolaw.us

Caveat:  Not intended as legal advice!

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EADs for H4 visa holders

The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) Director León Rodríguez announced today that, effective May 26, 2015, USCIS will issue employment authorization to certain H-4 dependent spouses of H-1B non-immigrants who are seeking employment-based lawful permanent resident (LPR) status. The regulations were amended to allow these H-4 dependent spouses to accept employment in the United States.

Nalini S Mahadevan, JD, MBA

Attorney at Law

nsm@mlolaw.us

Not intended as legal advice!

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How to Employ A Foreign Student

Last year I gave a presentation at a local University to employers about the advantages of employing students from foreign countries, here in student visa status.  The Director of the Career Center told me that local employers were afraid of the process involved in hiring them!

To this I say Pshaw!!!  Look at the untapped potential for a wonderful talented employee, who is willing and wanting to learn and be part of the employing company.  Imagine that student has already passed several hurdles such as qualifying to enter a prestigious University, probably has a revealed a superior understanding of her subject and has demonstrated to University admission officers and professors at their college that she can match the best of any local talent!  These students have probably passed several more exams in an effort to enter an American University!  Does that not show grit and hard work – truly American as apple pie! Like the old E.F. Hutton ad said, “they earned it”.

How to hire a student on an F-1 visa?

  • Do they have an OPT (Optional Practical Training) granted at the end of a course of academic education. If yes, Non STEM students can work up to 12 months and STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) students can work for up to 29 months for an employer.
  • STEM students have 2 bites at the H1B apple. STEM students can apply twice for an H1B visa while in OPT status and can stay employed for at least 6 more years with the employer, so the training is not wasted!
  • The student should be in valid F-1 status
  • Proposed employment should relate to the student’s academic work
  • New Obama executive orders will expand and extend the use of OPT
  • CPT – Curricular Practical Training A student can work either part time or full time for an employer during the course of their study as either an employee, an intern (paid or unpaid), in a cooperative (co-op) educational experience, or as a practicum participation in the field of their major.
  • Full time CPT will reduce entitlement to OPT.

This is a great way to test the waters.  There are many foreign students with experience who are at University in a Master’s program or even a second Bachelor’s degree.

Caveat! Employ a student from an accredited University, please.

Nalini S Mahadevan, JD, MBA

Contact: nsm@mlolaw.us

This blog is not intended as legal advice nor is it to be construed as creating a attorney client relationship!

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Expand your Business to the United States

I often get asked this question from callers anxious to start a new business in the United States,“ I have a thriving business in ….., (fill in the name of the country) a large part of my business is in the US.  I want to start a new office in the America to focus on my contracts there.   How do I do start a new office?”  Here’s how:

  • Have a US connection

The new U.S. office must have a corporate relationship with your foreign entity abroad where you have been employed either as a manager, executive, or worker with specialized knowledge.

  • Demonstrate a relationship between the foreign and US offices
  • Demonstrate foreign employment as a Manager, Executive or Specialized Knowledge worker
  • The new office must be operating within one year

The “new office” L-1 visa is meant to facilitate a “ramp up” period for a new U.S. office of a foreign entity. This period is limited to one year.

  • The new office must be able to support a full time Manager or Executive
  • The Takeaway

New office L visas are usually granted for 1 year to qualified applicants. If you are from India, be aware that the denial rate in India is generally about 25%, which is higher than other countries.  There is a general belief is that the incidence of fraud is very high in India, due to the falsification of evidence and supporting documents.

Nalini S Mahadevan, JD, MBA

Attorney at Law

nsm@mlolaw.us

This blog is not meant to create an attorney-client relationship or meant as legal advice.

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Indian PIO cards are no longer valid

The Government of India issued new regulations on 9th January, 2015 that existing PIO (Persons of Indian Origin), were no longer valid.  Instead PIO holders would be considered (deemed) OCI (Overseas Citizens of India) holders.

Foreign Spouses of current or prior Indian citizens can obtain OCI status after two years of marriage.

Nalini S. Mahadevan, JD, MBA

Attorney at Law

Contact us for new visa filings at nsm@mlolaw.us.

This blog is not intended to create an attorney-client relationship. The information contained is strictly for informational purposes only.

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Afraid you won’t make the H-1B cap?

  • Prepare now.  If you are a student, on F-1 visa, enroll in college for initial or subsequent Degree programs
  • If you are from a Treaty Trader/Treaty Investor Country, start a business to become eligible for an E-1 or E-2 visa
  • If you are a citizen of Canada or Mexico, change status to a TN visa
  • If you are a spouse of an employee, you may be eligible for a work permit, under current regulations and when regulations under Obama’s executive order are issued.
  • There are H-3, J-1, B-1 in lieu of H-3 visas available for persons who qualify
  • If you have outstanding achievements in the science, arts, education, business or athletics, you could be eligible for an O-1 visa.

Contact us for your new visa filings at nsm@mlolaw.us.  We are a full service immigration law firm.

This blog is not intended to create an attorney-client relationship. The information contained is strictly for information purposes only.

Nalini S. Mahadevan, JD, MBA

Attorney at Law

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2015 H1B Filings

There are several changes in the way in which H1Bs are being scrutinized when filed with USCIS.  For starters, USCIS has become more vigilant about enforcing the validity of US Masters degrees awarded to applicants filing their cap based H1B visas under this category.

There is a separate quota for recipients of US Masters Degrees, (20,000 visas) which is defined in the law as a US Master’s degree awarded by a U.S. institution of higher education which is a public or other non-profit institution accredited by a “nationally recognized accrediting agency or association” or “granted a pre-accreditation status”. If degrees are received from institutions which do not fit this definition, even if the institution is located in the U.S., and even if the institution  awards advanced degrees; those degrees will not qualify an H-1B petition to be filed under the 20,000 US Masters Degrees cap. USCIS is enforcing this requirement very strictly by issuing requests for evidence, notice of intent to deny and outright denials to companies and beneficiaries.

There is also a new I-129 form dated October 23, 2014 which is to be used for H1B visas.  Older editions will be rejected by USCIS on or after May 1, 2015.

Contact us for your new visa filings at nsm@mlolaw.us.  We are a full service immigration law firm.

This blog is not intended to create an attorney-client relationship. The information contained is strictly for information purposes only.

Nalini S. Mahadevan, JD, MBA

Attorney at Law

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California Issues Drivers Licenses to Undocumented

The latest state to issue a driver’s license to out of status individuals is California, the state with the largest number of undocumented residents in the USA.  There are 10 states including Washington DC and Puerto Rico where such licenses are issued.  California has over a million undocumented residents.

The move was lauded by local authorities because it will make California roads safer for all and increase business for vehicular insurance.

California used to require that drivers prove that they were legal residents, but the new law requires that they must now just prove that they reside in the state. This means presenting anything from utility bills to rental agreements. Drivers also have to prove their identity, which involves presenting a passport or identification card and pass the tests checking their vision, knowledge and ability behind the wheel. After paying a $33 fee the undocumented resident can obtain a California driver’s license.

Contact Us for more information about filing for immigration status in the United States.

Nalini S Mahadevan

Attorney at Law

This blog is not meant to be legal advice.  Please contact an immigration attorney to speak about your case.  No client-attorney relationship has been created by reading this blog.

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PERM Plans to Modernize Recruitment Process

The US Department of Labor announced that it is modernizing US worker recruitment for the PERM process.

DOL has not comprehensively examined and modified the permanent labor certification requirements and process since their inception 10 years ago. Over the last 10 years, much has changed in our country’s economy, affecting employers’ demand for workers as well as the availability of a qualified domestic labor force. This past fiscal year, employers submitted over 70,000 PERM applications requesting foreign workers. The majority of those job openings were for professional occupations in the Information Technology and Science fields.

Over time, demands for labor have increased, and surpluses for various types of workers have changed. Advances in technology and information dissemination have dramatically altered common industry recruitment practices, and the DOL has received ongoing feedback that the existing regulatory requirements governing the PERM recruitment process frequently do not align with worker or industry needs and practices.

To respond to change, the DOL is working on new regulations for the following:

  • Options for identifying labor force occupational shortages and surpluses, and methods for aligning domestic worker recruitment requirements with demonstrated shortages and surpluses;
  • Methods and practices designed to modernize U.S. worker recruitment requirements;
  • Processes to clarify employer obligations to insure PERM positions are fully open to U.S. workers;
  • Ranges of case processing timeframes and possibilities for premium processing; and
  • Application submission and review process and feasibility for efficiently addressing nonmaterial errors.

The objective of the DOL is to align DOL recruitment methods with that of the U.S. immigration system and needs of workers and employers, and to enhance the integrity of the labor certification process.

See you in my next blog.

Nalini S Mahadevan, JD, MBA
Immigration Attorney St. Louis, Missouri
nsm@mlolaw.us

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The information is not meant to create a client-attorney relationship. This blog is for informational purposes only, and is not a substitute for legal advice. Situations may differ based on the facts.

Copyright 2014. All rights reserved.

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Want to Work in Canada?

Canada is getting ready to launch “Express Entry,” a program for “in-demand” immigrants whose applications will be processed in six months or less.

Canada announced today that in one month, Express Entry will launch a new phase of active immigration recruitment to meet economic and labor market needs in Canada. Potential job applicants can create their profile on January 1, 2015 and the first Invitations to apply will be issued within weeks.

Express Entry will help select skilled immigrants based on their skills and experience. Those with valid job offers or provincial/territorial nominations will be picked first. Details published today in the Canada Gazette explain how candidates will be ranked and selected, based on factors that research shows are linked to success in the Canadian economy.

According to the Canadian government, these criteria will help ensure newcomers participate more fully in Canada’s economy and integrate more quickly into Canadian society.

See you in my next blog.

Nalini S Mahadevan, JD, MBA
Immigration Attorney St. Louis, Missouri
nsm@mlolaw.us

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The information is not meant to create a client-attorney relationship. This blog is for informational purposes only, and is not a substitute for legal advice. Situations may differ based on the facts.

Copyright 2014. All rights reserved.

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