Category Archives: Greenhandshake Blog

How to Get Employment-Based Green Cards

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One of the possible and perhaps less complicated means of obtaining a green card and eventual permanent residency in the United States is through the so-called employment process. It may be faster compared to family-based immigration. Many US employers are keen in sponsoring foreign nationals for potential employment. These companies have sufficient legal and monetary resources that can accelerate your application for immigration.

There are Visa preference categories which place emphasis on particular jobs or careers that can lead to permanent residency for applicants. The preference category classifies work according to education level required in accomplishing the job. You can go through the monthly Visa Bulletin of the US Department of State which spells out groupings for employment-based visas. The circular also gives details on general education prerequisites for each classification.

First Preference (EB1) is intended for individual with special skills or talents. These can be academic professors, scientists and researchers or top corporate executives. Second Preference (EB2) includes professionals with master’s degrees or higher programs. The person can be an expert in enterprise, science or the arts. The waiting time may be very brief and you can get the green card without many complications. Careers in said level are Accounting, Engineering, Financial Management, Chemistry, and Business Analysis.

Foreigners can always look at the Department of Labor O*Net site. It gathers statistics with reference to job markets as well as career field; educational background and experience; jobs that are always in demand; labor market requirements; and, prospective salaries or compensation. You must be ready to present meritorious achievements; contributions to a specific industry; recognition by governments, industries and peers; accolades; authorship of publications and papers; and, high earnings. It will help if you can show certifications highlighting 10 years or more of experience in this field. The services of an immigration lawyer will come in handy.

Third Preference (EB3) is designed for positions that call for a minimum of bachelor’s degree or its equivalent that justifies performance of the job. The method is generally quicker in securing a green card compared to the traditional immigrant visa. The drawback is there are also numerous applicants for this category so waiting time is relatively longer. The duration can be a minimum of four years and usually more than this period.

However, it is always possible to search for sponsoring employers for this Visa or a non-immigrant but work-authorized Visa. These are the L-1 or H-1B programs. It can be an alternative while you wait for a permanent employment-based green card. Your other options include Green Cards by way of making investments in business or entrepreneurship. On the other hand, Green Card through the process of self-petition are open to certain immigrant categories awarded a Waiver of National Interest or foreigners with extraordinary capabilities. Study the requirements posted at the website of the USCIS at (http://www.uscis.gov/green-card/green-card-through-job)

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Son Hoang Nguyen – CEO/ Founder

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What are the advantages of getting an H-1B visa?

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This access to the Land of your Dreams is meant specifically for workers who qualify under the category of specialty occupation. The candidate can enter the US provided he or she has worked in this professional capability for six years.

This status is issued at the start for a three-year period and renewed for another three years. In other words, maximum period of living in the country for an H-1B (H-4) visa holder is a total of six years. Yet, it is possible to extend this privilege based on two scenarios.

The individual managed to file an application for Labor Certification (I-140 petition) at least one year before the six-year limit expires. The certification should also be pending before the applicant can extend the visa on a yearly basis. There will be no constraint on collective number of years of visa extension provided the immigration procedure is current.

I-140 petition of the visa holder has been approved but the immigrant visa number is not available because of retrogression. Then, that person is allowed to extend the H1B Visa based on three-year interludes further than the six-year restriction. In this case, there will be no 365-day condition. Specialty occupation workers are entitled to receive wages from their employers. There is also no need in maintaining foreign residence compared to other temporary visas. Based on legislation, the H1B Visa permits dual intent. Workers can also change companies under this condition.

Spouses and dependents for as long as these are below 21 years of age may be granted permission to enter the US and remain in the country while the H1B visa holder is authorized to work and stay. Children are also allowed to enroll in school on a full or part-time category even without an F1 Visa. You can also have more than one employer in the US and have dual intent or opportunity to formally request for permanent residence in the future. It is also possible to become an entrepreneur even if you are not yet a permanent or legitimate US citizen. Nonetheless, you will always need a USCIS consent to work for any enterprise even if you are its owner. Factors that USCIS will examine carefully are your capacity to pay and actual business requirements.

The H1B visa worker possesses rights while working in the United States. You will always be protected by immigration and employment laws even as a foreign employee. It is equally important to perform vital responsibilities and conform to the prescribed legal status while in this country. The worker has the right to be paid the wage that applies to the type of work and location. You must be given a copy of your Labor Condition Application which describes terms and conditions of the worker’s employment and functions. The working environment should also be free from any type of discrimination.

If you encounter any racial prejudice or bias, it is worth seeking assistance from Greenhandshake.com.

Visit the organization’s website at http://greenhandshake.com/ for more useful information.

Sue J Liu – COO/ VP of Marketing

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What is OPT (Optional Practical Training)

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What is Optional Practical Training? It is more of a benefit for F1 students who plan to take a Bachelor’s degree in the Land of Promise. OPT opens the door for possible employment in the student’s subject of learning. The training is given approval by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services or USCIS.

Overseas students (F1 Visa holders) who wish to apply for this program should first complete the OPT’s web-based workshop. This covers vital details related to eligibility requirements, application schedules, reporting prerequisites and other relevant matters. Forms for OPT application will be given at the end of the online seminar. There are F1 rules restricting unemployment period students can accumulate during the training. This is a maximum of three months.

On the other hand, the Employer information Update for Optional Practical Training is meant only for learners approved for this kind of training. This is where the F1 students can submit employer information, modifications in employment or unemployment period. The Office of International Services will propose that updates regarding employers will be done as soon as changes in employment are made. As a rule, F1 students may be granted 12 months of OPT.

As a background, the Department of Homeland Security approved an extension of 17 months to this practical training program for students who have been declared eligible for STEM or disciplines in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics. This terminology is adapted in addressing curriculum selection and educational policies to enhance competitiveness in science and technology advancement. Approved major subjects are listed in the website of USCIS. However, the Immigration Reform Law Institute has challenged the legitimacy of this extension in the US federal courts since then.

One of the requirements is for the student to decide in taking the OPT while attending school or right after graduation. It can also be a combination of both. F1 students are usually permitted up to one year of full-time training for every educational level. This is undergraduate, graduate or post graduate. In case the student opts for the pre-completion training, that individual cannot work for more than 20 hours each week while studying. However, permanent work is allowed during vacation or when there is no school session.

The student’s post completion OPT will be cut by one month for every two months of part-time (pre-completion) training by engaging in pre-completion practicum. Students who finish with any STEM degree and currently engaged in an approved training (post completion) with any STEM degree is qualified to seek an extension of the OPT.

If you have gone through the guidelines explained above, it is time to find out if this F1 Optional Practical Training will be ideal for you. Applicants can look for the complete procedures and legal obligations on the website of Immigration and Custom Enforcement. At the same time, you can check out Greenhandshake’s site at www.greenhandshake.com for more help. GREENHANDSHAKE is a reliable online community marketplace that helps immigrants in the United States especially students connect to their peers.

Nghi Tran – CFO/ Marketing Manager in Vietnam

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Things to know about F1 visa for international student

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The United States government grants the F1 visa to international students attending academic programs (English Language) in American colleges or universities. However, these students should maintain minimum course loads for full-time learners. You can stay in the US for another two months after the visa expires to finish your academic curriculum.

An exception is if the student applied for and given the go-signal to work within a prescribed duration under the Optional Practical Training agenda. All F1 students must finish their schooling upon expiration as stated in the I-20 forms. This Certificate of Eligibility for Non-immigrant Student Status is provided by the academic institution and states that the student was accepted and confirmed attendance.

What are the Visa qualifications?

The first is foreign residence and intention to return upon completion of the program. The overseas student is only allowed to study in the school where the Visa was given. Applicants need to show proof of adequate financial subsidy. The Study USA Financing Guide can assist overseas students regarding this matter. At the same time, candidates have to demonstrate solid relationship with their home countries. These “ties” include letter of job offer after finishing the course; assets such as real estate and vehicle; bank accounts; and, continuous family support.

Schools have varying admission pre-requisites. The university or college admissions office will notify candidates adjudged as academically qualified. Students may be asked to show evidence of financial capacity as well as health insurance for possible hospitalization and medical expenditures. The school will release the I-20 document so the candidate can apply for the student visa.

Applicants can apply at the American Embassy or Consulate near to their permanent residence. Otherwise, you may find it hard to become eligible if you file an application outside the country of your permanent dwelling place. The requirements consist of a non-refundable fee for application; Forms DS-160 which is the online form for non-immigrant visas and 157 for males who are 16 to 45 years old; valid passport (six months and beyond) for travel and stay in the US; and, colored digital photograph (head size should be 22 x 35 mm) and plain white background. The photo must have been taken during the last six months.

An interview is required to establish whether or not you are fit to be awarded the F1 student visa. See to it that you arrive on time and bring all necessary papers and receipts. Make sure that you can answer all questions regarding this decision to study in the United States. Questions will include academic qualifications together with choice of university or college. Keep in mind that educational expenses in this country are higher compared to other nations. The consular officer will certainly be asking about your overall previous performance as student.

Those approved will be asked to pay a fee for visa issuance while fingerprint scans will be obtained for record purposes. You may pick up the F1 visa or this can be delivered to your residential address.

Check the website of Greenhandshake.com for more details that can help facilitate your application.

Nghi Tran – CFO/ Marketing Manager in Vietnam

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