A Ketchum woman was sentenced Monday to two years’ probation and revocation of her U.S. citizenship for committing naturalization fraud, as a result an investigation by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI).

Simona Rus, 36, pleaded guilty last November to unlawful procurement of U.S. citizenship and admitted to entering into a sham marriage with a U.S. citizen for the sole purpose of obtaining citizenship. According to the plea agreement, Rus married the U.S. citizen in 2003 but never resided with her legal spouse as a husband or wife. In January 2009, Rus misrepresented the nature of her marriage in an application for naturalization to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). USCIS ultimately granted Rus naturalization as a United States citizen as a result of her fraudulent marriage.

"By cheating the immigration system, Rus ultimately cheated herself out of the American dream," said Brad Bench, special agent in charge of HSI Seattle, which oversees HSI’s investigations in Idaho. "The outcome of this case clearly demonstrates that our nation's immigration laws are to be respected, not ignored."

At sentencing, U.S. District Judge Edward J. Lodge revoked Rus’ citizenship and canceled her certificate of naturalization. She will now face removal proceedings and eventual deportation to her native country of Romania.

The case was prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Idaho District.

 

Reddy & Neumann, P.C. is an immigration law firm in Houston, Texas. For over 15 years, our firm has successfully represented corporate clients across the United States in their efforts to bring foreign workers and business professionals to the United States. Reddy & Neumann, P.C. is dedicated in its advocacy and community involvement efforts towards achieving effective comprehensive immigration policy reform. From filing, through approval, and on to appeal, we do everything possible to ensure that your company can bring the best and brightest in the world to the United States.

by Sophia Asare & Rahul Reddy, Attorneys at Law

The H-1B Fiscal Year (FY) 2015 Cap season will begin on April 1, 2014. U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) reached the statutory H-1B cap of 65,000 for FY 2014 within the first week of the filing period, and we expect FY 2015 to be no different. With less than three months before the start of the new H-1B season, we strongly recommend that employers get an early start on new H1B filings.

 

THE ANNUAL CAP

The current annual cap on the H-1B category is 65,000, with an additional 20,000 visas are allotted for the advanced degree exemption limit.

Petitions filed on behalf of current H-1B workers who have been counted previously against the cap do not count toward the congressionally mandated H-1B cap. The following H-1B petitions do not fall under the cap:

·Petitions to extend the amount of time a current H-1B worker may remain in the United States.

·Petitions to change the terms of employment for current H-1B workers.

·Petitions to allow current H-1B workers to change employers.

·Petitions to allow current H-1B workers to work concurrently in a second H-1B position.

Further, petitions for new H-1B employment are exempt from the annual cap if the beneficiaries will work at institutions of higher education or related or affiliated nonprofit entities, nonprofit research organizations or governmental research organizations.

 

WHAT YOU CAN DO NOW

If you intend to file cap-subject H-1B petitions on April 1, 2014, the earlier you get started the better. Plan accordingly for Department of Labor (DOL) Labor Condition Application (LCA) (Form ETA 9035) processing times as you begin preparing your H-1B petitions. A certified LCA must be submitted at the time of filing the H-1B petition. A copy of the LCA is acceptable.

In addition, you must submit evidence of the beneficiary's education credentials at the time of filing the H-1B petition. If you are indicating that the beneficiary is qualified based on a combination of education and experience, substantiating evidence, such as an
education evaluation, must be submitted at time of filing. Plan accordingly for the time it will take to gather education documents and any required substantiating evidence of the Beneficiary’s qualifications.

We recommend that you consult with an attorney if you intend on filing new H-1B petitions on April 1, 2014.

 

Reddy & Neumann, P.C. is an immigration law firm in Houston, Texas. For over 15 years, our firm has successfully represented corporate clients across the United States in their efforts to bring foreign workers and business professionals to the United States. Our experienced team of immigration lawyers in Houston & Dallas advises clients throughout the H-1B visa application process, including responding to various requests for evidence and consular processing issues. From filing, through approval, and on to appeal, we do everything possible to ensure that your company can bring the best and brightest in the world to the United States.

E-verify, the free online service that allows United States employers to confirm their new employees’ eligibility to work in a quick, secure and accurate way, is being used by more than 500,000 companies now. A significant confidence in the program can be seen as participation in E-Verify is largely voluntary.

Employers who use E-Verify receive a response on an employee’s work authorization status within seconds. 98.8 percent of work-authorized employees are automatically confirmed instantly or within 24 hours, requiring no further employee or employer action. Users gave E-Verify a score of 86 out of 100 on the 2012 American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI) survey. The average score for all government agencies was 67.

A significant confidence in the program can be seen as participation in E-Verify is largely voluntary.

 

Reddy & Neumann, P.C. is an immigration law firm in Houston, Texas. For over 15 years, our firm has successfully represented corporate clients across the United States in their efforts to bring foreign workers and business professionals to the United States. Reddy & Neumann, P.C. is highly experienced in working with employment-based visas, adjustment of status, green cards, and PERM labor certification. From filing, through approval, and on to appeal, we do everything possible to ensure that your company can bring the best and brightest in the world to the United States.

By Rahul Reddy and Sophia Asare, Attorneys at Law


1. I obtained a Master’s degree from a for-profit institution in the U.S. I applied for an H-1B petition under the FY 2013 Master CAP and USCIS approved the H-1B petition. Can USCIS now tell me that my H-1B is not valid?

Yes. In order to properly file an H-1B petition under the Master CAP exemption, an alien beneficiary must possess a master’s or higher degree from a United States institution of higher education as defined in section 101(a) of the Higher Education Act of 1965. According to section 101(a), an institution of higher education is an educational institution that is, among other things, a public or other nonprofit institution and is accredited by a nationally recognized accrediting agency or association or has been granted preaccreditation status by such an agency or association recognized for granting preaccreditation status.

The school that you obtained a Master’s degree from is for-profit and does not meet the definition of an institution of higher education as defined in section 101(a) of the Higher Education Act of 1965.

USCIS can now find that your school does not meet the Master CAP exemption and that you are subject to the H-1B numerical limitation.

2. I obtained a Master’s degree from for profit, unaccredited institution in the U.S. I applied for an H-1B petition under the FY 2012 Master CAP and USCIS approved the H-1B petition. I have since traveled to India for visa stamping. Am I safe now?

No. The school that you obtained a Master’s degree from is unaccredited and does not meet the definition of an institution of higher education as defined in section 101(a) of the Higher Education Act of 1965. Successfully obtaining a visa stamp does not change this fact. USCIS can now find that your school does not meet the Master CAP exemption and that you are subject to the H-1B numerical limitation.

3. In 2010, I obtained a Master’s degree from for profit, unaccredited institution in the U.S. I applied for an H-1B petition under the FY 2012 Master CAP and USCIS approved the H-1B petition. My current H-1B visa expires in September 2014. What should I do now?

The school that you obtained a Master’s degree from is unaccredited and does not meet the definition of an institution of higher education as defined in section 101(a) of the Higher Education Act of 1965. With the new filing window opening on April 1, 2014, you may want to consider filing a new H-1B petition under the Bachelors Cap in order to avoid future problems with your H-1B visa.

4. I obtained a Master’s degree from a private, for-profit institution in the U.S. I applied for an H-1B petition under the FY 2011 Master CAP and USCIS approved my H-1B petition. I filed a petition to extend my H-1B status in the fall of 2013 and it was approved. Am I safe now?

No. In recent months, the California Service Center has denied extension petitions of H-1B Beneficiaries whose initial H-1B petitions were filed under the Master CAP exemption based on Master’s or higher degrees from universities that do not meet the definition of an institution of higher education as defined in section 101(a) of the Higher Education Act of 1965. The school that you obtained a Master’s degree from is for-profit and does not meet the definition of an institution of higher education as defined in section 101(a) of the Higher Education Act of 1965. USCIS is not required to approve petitions where eligibility has not been demonstrated, merely because of prior approvals which may have been erroneous.

5. I obtained a Master’s degree from for profit, unaccredited institution in the U.S. I applied for an H-1B petition under the FY 2009 Master CAP and USCIS approved the H-1B petition. My I-140 was approved in 2011 and I now I am just waiting for my priority date to become current in order to file my I-485. Am I safe?

If you are currently in H-1B status, the answer is no. The school that you obtained a Master’s degree from is unaccredited and does not meet the definition of an institution of higher education as defined in section 101(a) of the Higher Education Act of 1965. Successfully filing an I-140 does not change this fact. USCIS can now find that your school does not meet the Master CAP exemption and that you are subject to the H-1B numerical limitation.

6. In 2009, I obtained a Master’s degree from an accredited, nonprofit institution in the U.S. In 2012, I obtained a Master’s degree from a private, unaccredited university. I applied for an H-1B petition under the FY 2014 Master CAP and USCIS approved the H-1B petition. Will this cause any problems in the future for me?

You obtained one of your Master’s degrees from a school that meets the definition of an institution of higher education as defined in section 101(a) of the Higher Education Act of 1965. As this school meets the Master CAP exemption, you are not subject to the H-1B numerical limitation based on your previously granted H-1B nonimmigrant status in the past 6 years.

7. I recently graduated with a Master’s degree from a private, for-profit institution in the U.S. and I am currently participating in Occupational Practical Training (OPT). My OPT employer would like to file an H-1B petition for me on April 1, 2014. Can I file my H-1B petition under the FY 2015 Master CAP exemption?

The school that you obtained a Master’s degree from is for-profit and does not meet the definition of an institution of higher education as defined in section 101(a) of the Higher Education Act of 1965. Consult with an attorney to consider filing under the under normal quota.

 

Reddy & Neumann, P.C. is an immigration law firm in Houston, Texas. For over 15 years, our firm has successfully represented corporate clients across the United States in their efforts to bring foreign workers and business professionals to the United States. Our experienced team of immigration lawyers in Houston & Dallas advises clients throughout the H-1B visa application process, including responding to various requests for evidence and consular processing issues. From filing, through approval, and on to appeal, we do everything possible to ensure that your company can bring the best and brightest in the world to the United States.