When I started to consider writing for this blog, I suddenly found myself with a case of writer’s block. I said to myself, ”How could someone who drafts, consults and writes daily for a living not simply write?” I realized it was because there is so much to say on the subject of U.S. immigration… where to begin? The best place is at the beginning.
I am an immigration attorney, practicing mainly business immigration and some family immigration, with more than 12 years of experience. I have worked in a large, corporate immigration firm as well as a small, boutique firm dedicated to business immigration law. I presently have my own private practice, consulting for individuals as well as other immigration firms. Currently, a major part of my practice is devoted to the EB1/Extraordinary Alien and EB2/National Interest Waiver immigration categories through which I represent many talented researchers and scientists in both academia and private industry. These are potentially the fastest ways to get a green card on the business side.
Over the course of my career to date, I have helped corporations and individuals achieve their varied immigration goals. It has not always been an easy task. In fact, over the years U.S. immigration laws have become increasingly complex and frustrating for many people, and I do acknowledge that fact. What’s more, there are constantly new decisions, section changes, new procedures, political pendulum swings, and memos which interpret some complexity or other in the existing law. It is not at all an understatement to say that patience and perseverance as well as acute intelligence, creativity and exceptional problem-solving abilities are critical to being successful. A total overhaul and reform of the U.S. immigration act is very necessary.
Corporate clients, i.e. companies who want to hire the best overall candidate for the job, feel they should not have to jump through so many legal hoops, many of which don’t make too much common or business sense. On the extreme end, the view is that government should not interfere in any way in the private sector and the company should be allowed free reign to determine who they should hire even if it is not an American. In the present framework, there is a type of balancing of interests that exists between the company hiring qualified workers and making sure qualified American workers are not excluded in favor of foreigners. But this balancing act is not perfect or just by any means.
Individual clients express their main frustration, which is how long it is now typically taking to obtain a green card. Government processing times across the board have increased to the extent that it is not abnormal for some people to take years to complete their immigration process, especially if they originate from countries such as India, China and the Philippines. Why is this so? Simply because the immigration service has determined we have too many applicants from these countries. Europeans, Canadians and Australians fare much better, although it is arguable how much better, especially these days.
Of course, the backlogged regions are more populous with fewer resources and golden opportunities for those who live there. Typically, foreign nationals from these countries aspire to reach and settle in America as their new homeland. This too is now beginning to slowly change as we see the economies of India and China becoming stronger and achieving steady annual growth.
On the whole, immigration in the U.S. is a complex process that needs a lot of work to run smoothly and which encompasses many agencies and players. In upcoming blog entries, I will try to discuss some of these agencies, how they are interconnected, and provide more specifics about the EB1 and EB2 immigrant visa categories as they apply to scientists.
The statements in this blog are my personal observations based on my experience as an immigration attorney. I do not intend for them to serve as immigration advice for a reader to rely upon, nor should they be understood or interpreted to form an attorney/client relationship.
Reshma D. Parmar
Attorney at Law