December 2009 Archives

December 20, 2009

HIV Ban Lifted

Beginning January 4, 2010, applicants for visas or greencards will no longer be considered inadmissible for being HIV positive. Early last month, the Health and Human Services Department (HHS) removed HIV (human immunodeficiency virus) from the definition of a "communicable disease of public health significance."

This marks a major success by immigration advocates like Law Offices of J Craig Fong and HIV/AIDS health advocates. J Craig Fong was cited in a recent Los Angeles Times article as one of the few immigration attorneys in the nation who work with HIV positive immigrants and who has been extremely successful in HIV waiver applications with the USCIS to overcome this ban.

Law Offices of J Craig Fong applauds the Centers for Disease Control, the HHS, and USCIS in recognizing that the ban against nonimmigrant visa and permanent residency applications by HIV positive individuals was wrong. --ecf

December 18, 2009

Jon and Kate Divorce is Final but What if...

Jon and Kate Plus 8, the once-popular TLC reality program about the Gosselin family, their twins and their sextuplets is kaput. But that's old news. Today, the Gosselins officially closed the chapter on their 10 year marriage with the announcement their divorce becoming final.

Divorce is always difficult. Kate says she looks forward to her future. No word from Jon...yet. For the Gosselins, they can and should move on.

But what if Jon or Kate were immigrants? What if Jon or Kate faced deportation because their marriage failed? If Jon or Kate had been granted a greencard based on their marriage, what would happen to them once their marriage ended?

This is an immigration concept called conditional residency. We represent many individuals who apply for permanent residency through their marriage to a US citizen. These are usually great cases because we are helping happy new couples stay together, and "move forward" in their lives. But what happens if the happy couple separates or divorces? In the worst scenario, USCIS will revoke or terminate the foreign spouse's conditional residency, leaving the spouse vulnerable to deportation proceedings, standing alone and at best, with competent immigration counsel at his/her side.

In revoking conditional residency and initiating deportation proceedings, USCIS looks into the nitty gritty details of what happened in that marriage, was the marriage entered into for the immigration benefit rather than purely for love? Who's fault was it that the marriage ended? And could you (the foreign national) prove it? Imagine the reality show going behind the scenes to investigate, whether it was Kate's nagging that led to the failure of the marriage, or whether Jon's alleged affairs were the actual cause of the breakup and divorce. And would you feel comfortable knowing that USCIS is your final arbiter? If you married, got conditional residency and are now in divorce proceedings or separated from your spouse, think about calling Law Offices of J Craig Fong for a free consultation. ---ecf

December 15, 2009

H-1B Quota: This is It.

No, not the Michael Jackson, This is It. This is it for FY 2009 H-1B season. USCIS states that as of December 15, approximately 64,200 cases have been filed. That leaves about 800 slots left for H-1B applicants and perhaps several hundred on top of that since USCIS will need to account for potential denials or revocations of previously filed H-1B applications.

Back on April 1, 2009, a lot of speculation was made about how fast or slowly the H-1B quota would fill. Predictions from one day to 6 months were made. But it looks a lot clearer now... by Christmas or maybe, by the New Year. There really is no way to tell. Practitioners who focus on H-1B work like me, know that odds look dim for someone seeking a new H-1B and who hasn't started the process yet. Issues of delayed LCAs (labor condition applications) and employer FEIN (federal employer ID numbers) are wreaking havoc on how quickly anyone can prepare a new application to get in on this year's quota.

If you have not been able to file an H-1B yet. Call us about planning your case for April 1, 2010. It's never too early, but it can be too late. ---ecf