The rumor mill has certainly been turning since President Trump signed into effect his Executive Order on immigration. People are scared and as a result believing anything, and spread false stories. We’ve done some digging, and are here to dispel the rumors.


• An H4 visa holder was deported in Dallas/Fort Worth (DFW) and her husband’s H-1B employer terminated him. - MYTH!

We followed up with this case, attempting to represent them pro bono if need be, and found no truth to the individuals even existing.

H-4 EAD is eliminated. MYTH

There is no mention of H-4 EAD in the executive order or any pending proposals.

STEM Extension has been eliminated. MYTH

There is no mention of STEM Extension in the executive order or any pending proposals.


• Green Card holders are not permitted to travel domestically. – MYTH

There are no issues with traveling domestically as a Green Card holder.
 . Green Card holders can travel internationally with no issues.


 Previously there were a few cases of Green Card holders belonging to Iraq, Syria, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and Yemen arriving from international flights being detained, but that has since been rectified with further clarification from the Trump Administration

• A US Citizen in India was not permitted to board a flight to the USA. –MYTH!

US Citizens and Green Card holders are permitted to travel to the US with no issues, as per US law. The Executive Order does not affect this. The only potential issues could stem from traveling to and from the banned countries (Iraq, Syria, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and Yemen) if you are a national, but with American Citizenship you should have no problem.

We did some investigating on this particular situation and found no merit to it even occurring.

• Homeland Security Officers are frequenting popular Indian grocery stores such as Patel Brothers, and Apna Bazaar and stopping customers to check their legal status. –MYTH

We did some digging and found no merit to any situation like this occurring anywhere.

• H-1B minimum wage has been increased to $130,000 minimum. – MYTH

No immigration bill that will bring drastic changes has passed through Congress in over 10 years, so this bill is not expected to hold up. However, even if it did, the bill proposes to change wages for H-1B visa holders not per individual, rather addressing the exemption level of wages as a whole across all industries, which is not unusual to what normally happens every July 1 when prevailing wages increase. So rather than an exemption level wage of $60,000, the exemption level is now $130,000. This means that H-1B dependent employers must show that they are not displacing American workers in hiring mostly H-1B beneficiaries. This is not different from how things are currently operating within these industries and would not affect any of them majorly. For more information, please see: http://www.rnlawgroup.com/news/541-130-k-minimum-wage-for-h-1b-in-rep-zoe-lofgren-s-bill-a-myth-not-fact


• Non-Immigrant visa holders from the seven banned countries (Iraq, Syria, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and Yemen) are not permitted to board flights to the USA. – TRUE!

• The Automatic Visa Revalidation (Drop Box) is closed and only in person visa interviews are valid. TRUE

Below is an actual email from one of our clients in regards to her almost falling victim to a scam targeted at immigrants. Scammers all have the same predictable pattern of conversation, but what was new in this instance was that they were using a very sophisticated technology to mask their accent and make it sound American. Names and personal information have been redacted for confidentiality.

Thank you so much for your prompt help. I am writing this email to you with tears in my eyes still and I cannot stop shaking. I wanted to relay to you exactly what happened.

I received call from (888-351-4024), stating that he is Officer Marsh calling from the Police Department. He gave me a file number to reference, and instructed me to move to a quieter location and to not disclose any information with anyone. Upon hearing some background noise, he more forcefully told me to go to a quiet place and said that if I disclosed any information with anyone, myself and that person would be imprisoned for 18 months. No speaker phone, conference calls, recording, or any other electronic devices such as an iPad, phone, or laptop were permitted either.

After going to a more quiet location, the conversation went like this:

“Officer: Do you have all the immigration documents?

Me: Yes.

Officer: Where are you right now....at your work place or at home?

Me: Work place.

Officer: Do you have immigration documents at your home?

Me: Yes.

Officer: How long it will take to reach your home?

Me: 45 minutes.

Officer: How much charge do you have in your phone?

Me: 36%.

Officer: Would it be sufficient to reach home?

Me: I think so, yes.

Officer: Okay, (name redacted), listen. I will transfer your call to USCIS regarding this file number. Stay connected, the call transfer will take a few seconds.

Other Officer: USICS, may I have your file number?

Me: (I gave the Officer the file number given to me by the previous Officer)

Officer: We have received a report from your home country stating you are trying to hide your identity. Why is that? Was it due to human error, or another reason? How long will it take you to get home? Are you on the way?

Me: I am waiting for my Uber Driver.”

He remained on the line from the time I left my workplace and arrived home. While I was in the Uber he asked me to ensure I would not disclose anything with anyone.

“Officer: So, Ms. (name redacted) you have reached your home. Is there anyone around you? If so, I need you to go to a location where there is no one around you.

Me: (I told them there was no one around me, and I placed the call on speaker phone to my employer as I told him to come to the home where I was living so that he can help me. I sent message to him in whatsup while I was speaking)

Officer: (name redacted), we received a report from your home country stating you are trying to hide your identity. Please explain the situation further.

Officer: I can hear some noise and am tracking electronic devices.

Me: My neighbors might be using electronic devices. I am home alone.

Officer: (name redacted), we received a report from your home country stating you are trying to hide your identity. Please explain the situation further.

Me: I don't know what you are talking about. What information did I hide?

Officer: Ms. (name redacted), it is your state identification code.

Me: Sorry, what is that?

Officer: This call is being recorded and your phone is being tracked. I am not going to repeat this again.”

He sent an email about information as to where to send payment to avoid criminal charges and court costs. In the meantime, my employer got ahold of you,(Rahul Reddy, Attorney at Law from Reddy &  Neumann PC) and you called me. I merged the call and as soon you stated that you are an attorney, he disconnected the call immediately.

Fortunately our client did not fall victim to this fraudulent scheme, though unfortunately many do. While it may seem easy for many to conclude that this kind of call is just a scam and hang up, clearly there are people out there who followed the caller’s instructions and were cheated out of a large amount of money.  Don’t be a victim!

 

 

130K MINIMUM WAGE FOR H-1B WORKERS  MAY NOT POSE A TRUE THREAT

Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-Calif.)’s newly proposed bill seeks to change the requirements for exempt H-1B non-immigrants. This has caused much concern for companies that hire H-1B workers. However, the bill as written may not truly pose a threat. In short, this bill would only affect those companies whose staff consists of at least 15% of H-1B workers, and even these companies may not be impacted by its financial burden.

Companies that hire H-1B workers fall under two distinct categories: those are that are H-1B Dependent and those that are not. Companies whose staff consists of at least 15% of H-1B workers are considered H-1B dependent employers. However, H-1B non-immigrants that are “exempt” are not counted towards that percentage. The current rules for exemption are as follows:

  • Receiving wages (including bonuses and similar compensation) at an annual salary of at least $60,000;
  • Attaining a Master’s or higher degree (or its equivalent) in a specialty related to the intended employment.

The proposed bill would change the requirements for exempt H-1B non-immigrants by increasing the required wages to $130,000 and removing the Master’s degree requirement. The bill affects a small subset of H-1B employers: those whose staff consists of at least 15% H-1B workers and would like to exempt some of those employees to avoid H-1B dependent status. However, those employers have the option to avoid the increasing wages by accepting H-1B dependent status.

Companies that incur H-1B dependent status are required to advertise job vacancies and provide attestations and documentation to show they have taken good faith steps to recruit U.S. workers. Primarily, the vast majority of companies attempt to hire U.S. workers first, and the burden of demonstrating this is relatively minimal. Additionally, if companies are in the process of filing green card applications for any of their employees, they are already doing everything needed to meet the advertising requirement. The advertising involved in the PERM Labor Certification (“PERM”) process also satisfies the advertising requirement for H1B Dependent employers. Furthermore, the recruitment documentation used for the PERM process will also satisfy the H-1B documentation requirements.

Conclusively, this bill will not affect many companies that hire H-1B workers, and for those that it does affect, the financial burden could be avoided.  

 

 

 

  • I have a green card. Can I visit my home country and come back?
    Yes, you can visit. However, if you are visiting, or a national of: Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen, you should speak with an immigration attorney before you make any travel plans.

  • I have an H-1B visa stamp in my passport valid until June 1, 2018; can I travel to the USA?
    Yes, you can; unless you are a National of Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria or Yemen.
  • I have an Advanced Parole valid until June 1, 2018. Can I travel now?
    Hold off on any travel plans until things are clear from the Trump Administration. Based on the Executive Order, they were attempting to just inquire into the Parole issue. The Executive Order directed the Department of Homeland Security to make inquiries about how the Paroles are issued. According to the Executive Order, Paroles may only be issued for humanitarian purposes. We have yet to determine if that applies to Advanced Paroles. Until things are clear, do not make any travel plans. If you are outside of the country, please immediately return to the USA.
  • I am going for H-1B stamping to India since I am eligible for Drop Box visa stamping. Can I go for stamping, and drop my passport and visa papers in the Drop Box?
    Drop Box, or visas without an interview, has been suspended until further notice. Therefore, the service is unavailable.
  • I have an H-1B valid until June 1, 2018. However, my passport visa stamping has expired as of June 1, 2016. Can go on a cruise to Mexico?
    Although there is no clear indication in the Executive Order, as a precaution you should not make these travel plans until there is further clarification from the Trump Administration.
  • I am a US citizen. Can I travel now?
    Yes, you can travel, unless you are dual national with Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen.
  • I am on DACA Advanced parole. Can I travel now?
    No. Do not travel until we get further information.
  • We were told that there is an Injunction Order issued by the Court on the Executive Order. Is that true?
    The Injunction applies only to certain aspects of the Executive Order, not to all of it.
  • I was told that H-4EAD will be eliminated. If this happens, does that mean working on a current H-4EAD will be illegal?
    At this point in time, this is only a rumor. Should any further information come up on this, we will inform you.
  • I was told that the minimum salary for H-1B is $135K. Did that become law already?
    At this point in time, this is only a rumor. There is currently a Bill addressing this issue, though the possibility of that passing through Congress is very slim.
  • I was told that STEM Extension has been eliminated. Is this true?
    This is a rumor. There is absolutely no truth to this.