Your Complete Guide to National Interest Waivers and EB1 Green Cards

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November 24th, 2010

We are no longer posting here. Please visit our new blog for updates and latest articles on immigration for doctors and scientists:

New blog: Immigration Law Blog on j1visawaiver.net

J1 Waiver Immigration Lawyer Considers Quality of Foreign Trained Doctors

August 24th, 2010

J1 Waiver Immigration Lawyer Notes Los Angeles Times Article

As an immigration lawyer working to bring qualified foreign trained doctors to the
United States to practice, I’m well aware that some people are concerned about the
type of care they may receive from an immigrant physician. An article in the Los
Angeles Times reports that there is no reason for concern.

Study Published in Health Affairs

The study, which was carried out by the Foundation for Advancement of
International Medical Education and Research (FAIMER), in Philadelphia,
Pennsylvania, and published in the professional journal Health Affairs, notes, “Our
analysis of 244,153 hospitalizations in Pennsylvania found that patients of doctors
who graduated from international medical schools and were not U.S. citizens at
the time they entered medical school had significantly lower mortality rates than
patients cared for by doctors who graduated from U.S. medical schools or who were
U.S. citizens and received their degrees abroad.”

About one-quarter of doctors who are presently practicing in the U.S. graduated
from medical schools located in another country. In my practice as an immigration
lawyer, I work closely with these doctors in helping them secure their J1 waiver,
H1B visa and Green Card. I’ve had various doctors who have used my services and
many more who want to practice in various states across the nation.

A Few Considerations

Of course this report is good news for patients and doctors alike. Except there is one
area that is not positive—U.S. doctors who trained abroad and then came to practice
in this country did poorly in the study. But the news is overall very good. Especially
because it’s felt that so many more foreign doctors will be needed in the U.S. over
the next 15 years as American medical schools will not be able to keep up with the
country’s needs.

Questions About Immigration

If you’re a physician seeking a J1 waiver, H1B visa or Green Card it’s often helpful
to consult with and work through an immigration lawyer. Through my immigration
law firm, I’m pleased to say that I’ve had the opportunity to work with a range of
quality foreign trained doctors and healthcare professionals.

Please contact the Ranchod Law Group with offices serving San Francisco, San Jose,
and Sacramento, California, at info@ranchodlaw.com or at 800-753-1399 if you

have any questions regarding immigration law.

Doctor Immigration and Latest AMA Meeting

July 8th, 2010

Doctor Immigration and Latest AMA Meeting

Immigration Lawyer Considers Opportunities for Medical Doctors

Projected physician shortages in the U.S. may provide more opportunities for physicians wanting to immigrate. As an immigration lawyer , I work with people around America in the area of the immigration of doctors. At a recent meeting of the AMA, there was great concern over the projected lack of physicians facing the U.S.

Healthcare Reform

A major reason cited for the shortage was the reform of the healthcare system through which millions of new people will acquire health insurance. This is seen as making what is already a growing problem even worse.

Some Statistics

Presently at least 22 states and 15 medical specialties have reported shortages in the U.S. By 2025 there will be a need for 159,000 doctors in the country. But with population growth and an increasingly aging population of Baby Boomers living longer, it will be extremely hard to meet that figure. One of the biggest shortages is in the primary care area and geographically rural communities and states tend to be underserved in all areas.

Immigration and Doctors

As an immigration lawyer who works with doctors looking to immigrate to any part of the U.S., I’m always monitoring the situation facing the medical community and how it may impact those who need to pursue their goals after completing residency in the US. With shortages projected, there will be more opportunities for doctors and other healthcare professionals in foreign countries. Continue to check this blog regarding this developing situation.

Please contact the Ranchod Law Group at info@ranchodlaw.com or at 415-986-6186 if you have any questions regarding Conrad J 1 visa waiver program or immigration law.

Important Update: USCIS Still Accepting FY 2011 H-1B Petitions

April 11th, 2010

Many hospitals, doctors and scientists are contacting our office to find out about whether or not the H-1B cap has been met. It is not too late to file for a H-1B petition. Just a few days ago the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), which started accepting petitions for H-1B petitions on April 1, announced that they had received approximately 13,500 petitions towards the general cap. They are accepting 65,000. They have also received 5,600 petitions for those who have earned a U.S. master’s degree or higher. That cap is set at 20,000 and those are exempt from the 65,000.

The H-1B General petition is used by U.S. businesses, health care facilities and other organizations to hire foreign workers who are trained in specialty fields that require theoretical or technical expertise such as physicians, scientists, computers, science and engineering.

Petitions filed by those workers who have been counted against the cap in the past six years or by employers who are exempt from the cap are not counted towards the FY 2011 cap, which is mandated by the U.S. Congress.

If the cap is met, then the USCIS will issue an update as to that effect. Petitions are counted as they are physically received by the USCIS and not by the postmark date. The date that the USCIS informs the public that the cap has been reached may be different than the date that they receive the final petition. Updates regarding the number of petitions received may be found at http://www.uscis.gov/portal/site/uscis .

The process is fairly complex. We’ve worked with quite a few individuals and businesses, hospitals, health care facilities and Universiies ensuring that their petition is accurate and complete. Additionally, if your petition is received on the final date that the quota is filled, it may be randomly rejected. Thus, it’s best to get your petition in as soon as possible.

Those applying for a H-1B visa must prepare their petitions properly, filing all paperwork and following all regulatory guidelines. If this is not done, a person’s petition will be delayed and could be rejected. The starting work date for those filing and cap subject can be no earlier than October 1, 2010.

We can help facilitate your application and make sure that all regulatory guidelines are met. We’ll perform all work in a timely manner and our experience, which is extensive in this area, allows us to perform our services quickly and in an exact manner. Contact us at info@doctorsimmigrationlaw.com or 415-986-6186 to schedule an appointment.

Immigration Attorney

January 26th, 2010

Ranchod Law Group Immigration Attorney discusses Immigration Laws and the Health Care Shortage

It could be that U.S. immigration law regarding foreign medical workers may become the next big health care issue in the country. With a continuing shortage of healthcare workers the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects with regards to the number of openings in health care occupations through to 2016, there will be a strong need for immigrant health care workers, including registered nurses, medical assistants, and health home workers. And that translates into a growing need for those specializing in immigration law who know the system thoroughly and can navigate it efficiently. Also, U.S. immigration law will need to become more flexible.

The BLS believes that there will be the need for 648,000 personnel in nursing, psychiatric and home health care, 587,000 in registered nursing and 287,000 medical assistants and in other related health care support areas.

In connection with these projections, are even more indications from other U.S. agencies and organizations that support the idea that immigrants will be needed to fill the growing need for health care professionals. An Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) report observed in November 2008, that the demand for physicians would greatly increase through 2025 and that by that year there would be a shortage of between 124,000 and 159,000 doctors.  Additionally, the AAMC report noted that training more American physicians would not satisfy the need. Even a 30% increase in U.S. medical school enrollments will not totally bridge the gap.

Also, a study in the July/August 2009 issue of Health Affairs notes that by approximately 2018 there will be a shortage in Registered Nurses that will grow to 260,000 by 2025. This shortfall is attributed to fewer Americans going into the nursing profession and a large number of Baby Boomers reaching retirement age.

Finally, the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) estimates that as of November 15, 2009, the United States saw 6,216 Primary Medical Health Professional Shortage Areas (HPSAs) that would require 16,680 physicians to meet the primary-care medical needs of the people living in those regions.

A major contributing factor to this dilemma is the growing aging population in the U.S. and the fact that so many of the elderly are living longer and requiring more health care. For those health care workers wishing to immigrate to the U.S., the next decade could offer huge opportunities. They will require legal professionals who are proficient in immigration law and a speedier immigration law process that will allow for the needed influx of health care providers.

USCIS Reports Quota for Immigrants Seeking H-1B Visas in FY 2010 Reached

January 8th, 2010

The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced on December 23 that the cap on H-1B visa applications for Fiscal Year 2010 had been reached. U.S. immigration law limits the number of H-1B visas to a total of 65,000 per year. In the past five years, this is the longest it has taken for the cap to be reached. In FY 2008 and FY 2009, the cap was hit within two days. Applications for H-1B visas are available annually starting at the beginning of April.

The USCIS announcement noted that the department possessed “sufficient petitions to reach the statutory cap,” which means that more than 65,000 applications have been received and the service will “apply a computer-generated random selection process to all petitions that are subject to the cap and were received on December 21, 2009.”

Many had expected that the USCIS would receive 75,000 petitions on April 1. However, in about a week it became apparent that this year would be different from others. In the past few years, immigrants from India have received over one-third of the visas.

As has been discussed in prior entries on this blog, H-1B visas are generally designated for immigrant professionals who possess specialized knowledge, such as doctors. The fact that it took so long to reach the cap may be a harbinger of things to come and certainly says something about the US economy and immigration, and how potential immigrants may view the United States.

One big question is how will the lag in visa applications affect a bill introduced in the U.S. House on December 15 by Representative Luis V. Gutierrez (D-IL). There’s not a lot known about the specifics of Gutierrez’s legislation, but it has been reported by the Competitive Enterprise Institute that the bill, which is called the Comprehensive Immigration Reform for America’s Security and Prosperity Act of 2009, would exempt certain highly skilled applicants from caps. This could mean that opportunities for immigrants to enter and work in this country would expand greatly.

Under the bill, a new federal agency, the Commission on Immigration and Labor Markets (CILM), would be created. This CILM would make annual recommendations to Congress regarding the H-1B cap.

Traditionally, applications for H-1B visa have contracted with the economy and that may certainly be the case this year. Some also speculate that it’s U.S. anti-immigration sentiment that has curbed the flow of applications, while others believe that those in foreign countries see the U.S. in a negative light and that’s negating the number of petitions.

The new House Bill, this year’s slowdown in H-1B applications and the continued economic distress that still plagues this country are all worth monitoring by those doctors, and medical professionals looking to immigrate. Remember that immigration law is not a static entity and that it can change with attitudes, realities and the political process.

The New York Times

December 8th, 2009

The New York Times reports that Janet Napolitano, who is a Homeland Security Secretary and the White house point person on immigration, stated that the Obama administration needs to provide temporary worker programs as well as a viable route to U.S. citizenship for the 12 million undocumented immigrants currently working in America. “We will never have fully effective law enforcement or national security as long as so many millions remain in the shadows,” she said. As she pushes to overhaul the immigration system with the reform bill to be taken on next year, she is adamant about making sure it is not delayed due to preoccupations with other issues such as health care or energy.
http://www.nytimes.com/2009/11/14/us/politics/14immig.html

November 09-Immigration News

December 1st, 2009

H-1B Cap Count UPDATE for Fiscal Year 2010

As of November 13, 2009, approximately 55,600 H-1B cap-subject petitions had been filed. USCIS will continue to accept both cap-subject petitions and advanced degree petitions until a sufficient number of H-1B petitions have been received to reach the statutory limits, taking into account the fact that some of these petitions may be denied, revoked, or withdrawn.

What is a “Cap”

The word “Cap” used in this Update refers to annual numerical limitations set by Congress on certain non-immigrant visa classifications, e.g., H-1B and H-2B. Caps control the number of workers that can be issued a visa in a given fiscal year to enter the United States pursuant to a particular non-immigrant classification. Caps also control the number of aliens already in the United States that may be authorized to change status to a cap-subject classification. The annual numerical limitations generally do not apply to persons who have already been counted against the cap in a particular non-immigrant classification and are seeking to extend their stay in that classification.

H-1B

The H-1B visa program is used by some U.S. employers to employ foreign workers in specialty occupations that require theoretical or technical expertise in a specialized field and a bachelor’s degree or its equivalent. Typical H-1B occupations include architects, engineers, computer programmers, accountants, doctors and college professors. The H-1B visa program also includes certain fashion models of distinguished merit and ability and up to 100 persons who will performing services of an exceptional nature in connection with Department of Defense (DOD) research and development projects or coproduction projects. The current annual cap on the H-1B category is 65,000. Not all H-1B non-immigrants are subject to this annual cap. Please note that up to 6,800 visas may be set aside from the cap of 65,000 during each fiscal year for the H-1B1 program under the terms of the legislation implementing the U.S.-Chile and U.S.-Singapore Free Trade Agreements. Unused numbers in this pool are made available for H-1B use for the next fiscal year.

H-1B Employer Exemptions

H-1B non-immigrants who are employed, or who have received an offer of employment, by institutions of higher education or a related or affiliated nonprofit entity, as well as those employed, or who will be employed, by a nonprofit research organization or a governmental research organization are exempt from the cap.

H-1B Advanced Degree Exemption

The H-1B Visa Reform Act of 2004 makes available 20,000 new H-1B visas for foreign workers with aMaster’s or higher level degree from a U.S. academic institution. For each fiscal year, 20,000 beneficiaries of H-1B petitions on behalf of persons who hold such credentials are statutorily exempted from the cap.

Duplicate H-1B Petitions Filed Requesting Fiscal Year 2010 Employment

USCIS will deny or revoke all petitions filed by an employer for the same H-1B worker if more than one filing is discovered. If multiple petitions are discovered, whether one or more such petitions are approved, USCIS will data enter all those duplicative petitions, retain all fees, and either deny the petitions or, if a petition was approved, revoke the petition. The petitions will not be returned to the petitioner.

H-1B1

An H-1B1 is a national of Chile or Singapore coming to the United States to work temporarily in a specialty occupation. The law defines an H-1B1 specialty occupation as a position that requires theoretical and practical application of a body of specialized knowledge. The beneficiary must have a bachelor’s degree or higher (or equivalent) in the specific specialty. The combined statutory limit is 6,800 per year. The cap for H-1B1 for FY2010 has not been reached as of the date of this Update.

2011 Diversity Visa Lottery Program Registration

The Department of State announces the opening of the registration period for the DV-2011 Diversity Visa lottery. Entries for the DV-2011 Diversity Visa lottery must be submitted electronically between noon, Eastern Daylight Time (EDT) (GMT-4), Friday, October 2, 2009, and noon, Eastern Standard Time (EST) (GMT-5), Monday, November 30, 2009. Applicants may access the electronic Diversity Visa entry form (E-DV) at www.dvlottery.state.gov during the registration period. Paper entries will not be accepted. Applicants are strongly encouraged not to wait until the last week of the registration period to enter. Heavy demand may result in website delays. No entries will be accepted after noon EST on November 30, 2009.

The annual DV program makes visas available to persons meeting simple, but strict, eligibility requirements. The visas are distributed among six geographic regions, with a greater number of visas going to regions with lower rates of immigration, and with no visas going to nationals of countries sending more than 50,000 immigrants to the United States over the period of the past five years.

Among those not eligible to apply because their countries sent a total of more than 50,000 immigrants to the United States in the previous five years:

BRAZIL, CANADA, CHINA (mainland-born), COLOMBIA, DOMINICAN REPUBLIC, ECUADOR, EL SALVADOR, GUATEMALA, HAITI, INDIA, JAMAICA, MEXICO,

PAKISTAN, PERU, PHILIPPINES, POLAND, SOUTH KOREA, UNITED KINGDOM (except Northern Ireland) and its dependent territories, and VIETNAM. Persons born in Hong Kong SAR, Macau SAR, and Taiwan are eligible.

For detailed information about entry requirements, along with frequently asked questions about the DV lottery, please see the instructions for the DV-2011 DV lottery available at: www.dvlottery.state.gov .

Ranchod Law Group Success Story – Obtaining a No Objection Waiver and your Home Country

Recently we obtained a no objection waiver for our Tanzanian client.

First we contacted the Tanzanian government via phone since there was no information on the website regarding the no objection statement. After a short while and a few explanations of the situation, we were routed through the offices and were connected with a Tanzanian Embassy representative who knew exactly what we were after.

The most important thing on his list was who we wanted this information for! We let the applicant remain anonymous and after being told that the applicant would have to call and get the procedure themselves, the representative rattled off a list of hurdles to cross and documents to send.

The best part of the story is this: we prepared the J-1 waiver application, sent the documents to the US State Department and sent the package of documents required by Tanzania to the Embassy. We got a positive answer within two months! It was amazing since processing times may be lengthy. Neither the applicant nor our offices were contacted and asked for any additional documents so maybe getting it right the first time helped. But with nothing in writing from the Tanzanian government regarding their requirements (it evidently is not the Tanzanian way) it was dicey. We’re glad it worked out and want you all to know that no matter how impossible it can seem to work with your government’s bureaucracy and our government’s bureaucracy the job can get done!

Many top Nobel Prize Winners are Immigrants

According to Chris O’Brian from the Mercury News, in his recent article: Nobel Prizes Remind Us Why Immigration Matters, he comments, before you “puff out your chest and take pride in being American”, note that four out of the six American Nobel Prize winners were born outside the U.S.

While some people might be weary of immigration, the benefits have far outweighed the cost. O’Brian uses Silicon Valley as an example. “Silicon Valley has been a bigger beneficiary of this influx of brains and talent than perhaps any other region in the U.S. …However you feel about the H-1B visas that our tech companies hunger for … We need these immigrants to renew our economy and to prosper.” O’Brian goes on to say that the US needs to recognize the great contributions that immigrations have presented this country both in its economy and its fields of study. For the full story: http://www.mercurynews.com/ci_13500107?source=most_viewed&nclick_check=1

Contact info@ranchodlaw.com to learn about your immigration options.

Disclaimer: This information is not intended to provide solutions to individual problems and does not constitute an attorney client relationship. Readers are cautioned not to attempt to solve individual problems on the basis of information contained herein and are strongly advised to seek competent legal counsel before relying on this information. The above information should not be construed as legal advice and any reliance on this information is taken at your own risk. Please note that laws change frequently.

Please view our latest J1 Conrad 30 update at:

October 17th, 2009

J1 Conrad 30 Waiver

Happy Diwali

October 16th, 2009
I would like to wish all of you a Happy Diwali (festival of lights) for all of you who celebrate this holiday.

President Obama has a Diwali message for all of us.

Best Kaushik