Ted Poe RN Lawgroup enhanced - Copy

 

Houston immigration attorneys Rahul Reddy and Emily Neumann met with Congressman Ted Poe (R-TX.), Vice Chairmen of the House Judiciary Committee (Immigration), to voice concerns regarding the issues their clients face in navigating the current business immigration system as well as some of the problematic provisions of the bipartisan reform bill passed by the Senate. As attorneys dealing with the immigration red-tape on a daily basis, they welcomed the opportunity to comment on various reform proposals as well as highlight several ways in which the broken immigration system affects businesses today.

Currently, a U.S. employer needing to hire a foreign professional through the H-1B visa program must wait until October 1, 2014 to bring the person on board due to the unreasonably low number of visas available. Congress has limited the number of new H-1B visas each year to only 65,000, a number that was reached within only 5 days this past April. Even the additional 20,000 that are exempt from the cap for U.S. master’s degree holders were used up immediately. If this year is any indication of what is to come, even after waiting until 2014 to file an application, an employer must hope that the worker gets selected in the lottery because there are not enough slots for all of the applications filed.

In addition, inconsistency between adjudications with both USCIS and DOL creates doubt as to whether a petition or application will actually be approved. An employer may file two almost identical petitions and one will be approved while the other is denied. When a legitimate petition is denied, the business loses thousands of dollars in filing fees and attorney fees. This does not include the cost of lost business due to the company’s inability to hire a key worker for a new project. Furthermore, small-to medium-sized businesses are often requested to submit voluminous documentation to establish eligibility, which is overly burdensome and creates additional cost. 

Current immigration policies have also created the years-long backlog for those awaiting a green card through employment. From 1992 to the present over 400,000 green cards went unused due to processing delays. The per-country cap has further resulted in backlogs for individuals coming from high-demand countries like India, even when the overall cap has not been reached. Also, approximately 80,000 of the 140,000 employment-based green cards available each year are issued to spouses and children of the sponsored worker. This creates even more backlog for the actual workers being sponsored. Combined, these points have resulted in a wait of almost 9 years for a professional from India holding a master’s degree to obtain a green card. The wait is even longer for bachelor’s degree holders or skilled workers.

While some reform proposals seek to alleviate the green card backlog and increase the number of H-1B visas available, other provisions being debated would create additional restrictions on the H-1B visa program. These provisions would burden employers with restrictions on outplacement, additional documentation requirements, further recruitment efforts, and higher wage levels without regard to the size of the business. A provision requiring a thirty-day waiting period before filing an H-1B petition is included in the Senate’s immigration bill, which does not take into consideration today's fast-paced economy. The Senate plan also increases filing fees for H-1B petitions to a point which will make the visa category cost prohibitive for small businesses.

House lawmakers are unwilling to consider the Senate bill and are instead working on a piecemeal approach. Congressman Poe indicated that several individual immigration bills are up to be debated in the Judiciary Committee. Bills already passed deal with mandatory E-Verify, Border Security, and high-skilled immigration. A temporary guest worker program, DREAM act, and agriculture programs are still to be discussed. Once all bills are passed out of committee, they are expected to be brought to the House floor for a vote on the same day, likely sometime in September. The separate approaches taken by the House and Senate will result in a conference committee to resolve differences and an entirely different bill could be the final result.

 

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.

A MESSAGE TO CONSULAR CLIENTS FROM U. S. EMBASSY, EGYPT

The safety of clients and staff being highest priority, due to disruptions caused by the current security environment, consular services may experience unusual delays. This situation may affect processing times for visa applications and U.S. Citizen Services. Changes to appointment schedules may occur on very short notice. The Consular Section’s capacity to respond to inquiries is limited at this time due to the volume of inquiries. We regret the inconvenience and thank you for your patience as we strive to provide efficient service while prioritizing your safety.

On Monday, July 15, the U.S. Embassy will reopen for limited visa services. If you have an appointment for a nonimmigrant visa (NIV) or immigrant visa (IV) application, you will be admitted to the Embassy at the date and time of your scheduled appointment. Please continue to monitor the Embassy's website for updates on the status of services to the public.

Visa Services

Welcome to the Visa Section. One of our main missions is to provide Immigrant and Non-Immigrant Visa Services to Egyptians and citizens of other countries who reside in Egypt. For short and temporary visits to the United States, use the links on the left to visit the Non-Immigrant Visa Section for more information. 

If you want to become a legal resident of the United States, please use the links on the left to visit the Immigrant Visa Section for further information on our services.

 

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.

Travelers will no longer be given a paper I-94 card at U.S. airports and sea ports. Under a new program, the U.S. Customs and Border Protection agency (CBP) has automated the Form I-94 in order to streamline processes and increase efficiency. The I-94 will still be used to document lawful admission and provide for the length of stay; however this form will no longer be filled out on paper upon arrival. Records of admission will now be generated using traveler information already transmitted through electronic means. Travelers will then print out a paper version of the Form I-94 at https://i94.cbp.dhs.gov/I94/request.html upon reaching their destination.

It is important to visit this website and print out the I-94 as soon as possible to make sure that the record is accurate. Delays in verifying the I-94 record can cause problems later when applying for immigration benefits, driver’s license, or a Social Security Number. If an error is found, the traveler should immediately contact a local CBP Deferred Inspection Site in order to have the record corrected. You can also contact them at 877-227-5511. Please note that it is taking about 4-5 days to reflect the I-94 in the system.

The nearest Deferred Inspection location can be found at  http://www.cbp.gov/contact/deferred-inspection/overview-deferred-inspection

 

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.

The comprehensive immigration reform bill passed by the Senate in June has hit a roadblock in the House of Representatives. Any momentum gained by the bill’s passage amid bipartisan support in the Senate appears to have faded. House Speaker John Beohner has vowed not to bring the bill up for a vote unless it receives support from a majority of the Republican members, a threshold that appears increasingly unlikely. Though most members in the House insist they support immigration reform, many members would prefer that the House pass its own legislation and do so on its own schedule.

One possible road forward is for the House to pass smaller pieces of legislation, one at a time. Many House Republicans view securing the border as a prerequisite for passing any other immigration provisions. If the House could first pass a bill dealing with border security, it may be able to capture enough momentum to push other measures through. This would allow House Republicans to present legislation to create a temporary work program for the agricultural industry, increase the number of visas for high-skilled labor, and mandate that employers verify the legal status of their workers, all while avoiding a path to citizenship for the estimated 11 million immigrants in the country illegally.

Despite warnings of what a failure to act on immigration reform could mean for the Republican party, many House Republicans come from districts where a path to citizenship is unpopular and where a political challenge is unlikely. Avoiding a comprehensive bill that includes a path to citizenship is the safest political move for many members, and approaching reform through piecemeal legislation is their best alternative.

The strong aversion to the comprehensive bill by House members and the option to proceed with piecemeal legislation presents the strong possibility that the Senate bill will slowly die. The bill will likely languish in the lower chamber until it fades away.

 

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.