Articles Posted in Business Immigration

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Our law firm often works with foreign national whose work is in the national interest of the United States.  The lawyers of  Zneimer & Zneimer are tracking decisions under the new NIW framework under Matter of DHANASAR, 26 I. & N. Dec. 884 (AAO 2016).

The framework imposes three prongs on petitioners who claim that they should be allowed to immigrate to the United States based on a proposed endeavor that would be in the national interest of the United States:

  1. That the proposed endeavor has both substantial merit and national importance;
  2. That the foreign national is well positioned to advance the proposed endeavor; and
  3. On balance, it would be beneficial to the United States to waive the requirements of a job offer and thus of a labor certification.

Matter of DHANASAR, 26 I. & N. Dec. 884 (AAO 2016).

The most recent decision came on appeal from a denial from USCIS Texas Service Center in Matter of D-D-P (AAO May 25, 2017).  In Matter of D-D-P, an entrepreneur lost his bid to qualify for a national interest waiver before USCIS.  He appealed to the Administrative Appeals Office (“AAO”).

The AAO did not reach the merits of the entrepreneur’s claim that he is eligible for a national interest waiver and did not reach the three prongs of Matter of Dhanasar.  The businessman lost his case on a threshold matter because the AAO found that he was neither a member of the professions holding advance degree or their equivalent, nor that he had exceptional abilities.  Thus, although this AAO decision did not discuss the new framework, the decision is still an important reminder that there are threshold issues that foreign nationals must meet before they can make separate showing that a waiver of the job offer requirement is in the national interest. We outlined in more detail the requirements and the framework in our earlier blog.

Petitioner’s Claim:  In this case the alien argued that he was an individual of exceptional abilities in the business world.  In the initial filing, the alien stated that he was a “chief executive/entrepreneur” and that he intended to “use his broad experience as a successful entrepreneur to create business opportunities for himself and US workers. He will transfer his wealth of knowledge of developing business in the harshest of climates to the US environment.”   He claimed that he planned to “replicate his success in Nigeria to US markets with positive effect on employment and renewable energy systems.”  The petitioner claimed that he “has created five extremely successful businesses in information and communication technology, renewable energy systems, online travel and reservation systems, turnaround innovation and business counseling.” He claimed that through these companies he had provided “nine billion” dollars of energy services to the “highest level of government and the private sector.” Continue reading →

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The Chicago immigration lawyers of Zneimer & Zneimer is following  National Interest Waiver  decisions  under the new AAO network under Matter of DHANASAR, 26 I. & N. Dec. 884 (AAO 2016) and is providing summaries of decisions applying the facts to the new framework.

In a recent appellate decision following a denial of a national interest waiver by the Texas Service Center, the AAO determined that a University Instructor and Multicultural Education Researcher failed to qualify for a National Interest Waiver as she did not all three prongs of the  National Interest Waiver framework that the AAO announced in Matter of DHANASAR, 26 I. & N. Dec. 884 (AAO 2016).  We outlined in more detail the framework in our earlier blog.  The framework imposes three prongs on the petitioner:

  1. That the proposed endeavor has both substantial merit and national importance;
  2. That the foreign national is well positioned to advance the proposed endeavor; and
  3. On balance, it would be beneficial to the United States to waive the requirements of a job offer and thus of a labor certification.

Petitioner’s Claim: The alien is an expert in multicultural education who seeks to continue her research in “improving educational practices for minority populations,” focused “more on the application and teaching of the integration of culturally and linguistically appropriate approaches and implementations in pedagogy and classroom practices.”  She claimed that the work has “direct and tangible applications in both public schools and in educational methods and research.”

Evidence presented: PhD in curriculum and instruction; Two Masters Degree: in Sociology and in Anthropology.  Experience in teaching online anthropology courses as an associate faculty member;  Appointments in the department of chemistry and biochemistry teaching college classes (Chemistry, General Sociology, Race, Class, and Gender, Social Physiology, and Cross-Cultural Perspectives).  Research articles, evidence of participation in academic conferences, alumni and honor society membership, graduate assistantships,  teaching evaluations; Evidence of downloads  PhD research, profile page, a copy of a 2016 book, webpage showing that the book is available for purchase, an invoice that 5 books have been sold.  Evidence that she had drafted another book which has been submitted for publication; Letters from a professor emeritus, explaining that increasing diversity in US classrooms is “requiring teacher candidates to acquire competencies in addressing the needs of their student population;” A letter addressing how the research will develop new training methodologies to equip teachers with skills that make them “culturally competent to teach in diverse settings.”  Other letters discuss how the research concerning the learning needs of CLD students will help ensure that they have equitable access to quality education.  Some of the articles and the book were published after the I-140 was submitted. Continue reading →

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The immigration attorneys at Zneimer & Zneimer PC reviewed a noticed the Department of Homeland Security published in the Federal Register that announced the decision of DHS to increase its fees for numerous USCIS applications, effective December 23, 2016.  Even though the notice euphemistically calls the fee increase “adjustment” of fees, the result is a significant fee increase “by a weighted average increase of 21 percent.”  The applications for naturalization will have three levels. The N-400 will increase from from $595 to $640.  DHS will charge no fee to some applicants who have received a waiver or who have served in the military.  DHS will also have a reduced fee of $320 for applicants with family income greater than 150 percent but not more than 200 percent of the Federal Poverty Guidelines.  Additionally, USCIS will remove the regulatory provisions that prevent “USCIS from rejecting an immigration or naturalization benefit request paid with a dishonored check or lacking the required biometric services fee until the remitter has been provided an opportunity to correct the deficient payment.” The fee increase is substantial and becomes effective on December 23, 2016. This is the first fee adjustment since November 23, 2010.  The new fee must be submitted with all applications “mailed, postmarked, or otherwise filed” on or after December 23, 2016.

Applicants who want to avoid this increase should contact an immigration attorney as soon as possible to ensure that their application is filed before December 23, 2016.

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The immigration lawyers at Zneimer & Zneimer learned of a proposed regulations by the Department of Homeland Security  to make it easy for enterprising foreign nationals to set up business in the US without the constraints of employer sponsored petitions that limited foreign nationals to an employer specific job and location. Under the proposed rule the DHS will use parole on a case-by-case basis for certain “entrepreneurs of start-up entities whose entry into the United States would provide a significant public benefit through the substantial and demonstrated potential for rapid business growth and job creation. Such potential would be indicated by, among other things, the receipt of significant capital investment from U.S. investors with established records of successful investments, or obtaining significant awards or grants from certain Federal, State or local government entities.” According to the proposed regulations, “If granted, parole would provide a temporary initial stay of up to 2 years (which may be extended by up to an additional 3 years) to facilitate the applicant’s ability to oversee and grow his or her start-up entity in the United States.” This is good news because immigrants have made significant contributions to the US economy and have created hundreds of thousands of jobs.

Comments can be submitted through web, email, mail, or hand delivery. The prposed rule is identified by DHS Docket No. USCIS-2015-0006. To submit comments

  • Federal eRulemaking Portal: https://www.regulations.gov. Follow the Web site instructions for submitting comments.