Navigating the Pathways of Immigration Law
Immigration law is like a big, complex puzzle with lots of pieces that fit together in different ways. It’s all about the rules and paths people follow when they want to move to, live in, or become citizens of a new country. Each person’s journey is unique, and the law has different processes to match these individualized situations. Here at Roach & Bishop, we’re your personal tour guides for this puzzle. We know the ins and outs of immigration law, and we’re ready to help you navigate it, no matter how complex your situation.
Family immigration is like a bridge that connects you and your loved ones across borders. It’s one of the most common ways people move to the U.S., and it’s all about helping family members of U.S. citizens or permanent residents to join them in the States.
The first thing to figure out in a family-based immigration case is if there’s a qualifying family relationship. These relationships fall into two main groups: immediate relatives and other close family members.
Immediate Relatives: This category is reserved for direct relations of U.S. citizens and includes spouses, unmarried children under the age of 21, and parents. The U.S. immigration policy extends a significant advantage to this group by allowing an unlimited number of immediate relatives to immigrate, thereby eliminating any waiting period. Additionally, U.S. citizens have the opportunity to file K-1 visa applications for their fiancés, further expanding the scope of family-based immigration.
Preference Relatives: This category encompasses other close family members of U.S. citizens and permanent residents. It includes unmarried adult children of citizens, spouses and unmarried children of permanent residents, married adult children of citizens, and siblings of citizens. However, unlike immediate relatives, the number of preference relatives who can immigrate yearly is subject to annual caps, which may result in extended waiting periods.
Immigration based on employment is a key pathway for talented individuals from around the world to bring their skills and expertise to the U.S. It’s all about helping people move to the U.S. for work, and it’s a crucial part of the U.S. immigration system. At Roach & Bishop, we’ve helped hundreds of people obtain employment-based immigration status across various industries, including Religious Workers, Winemakers, Ethnic Cooks, Bakers, Cow Milkers, Scientists, Sheepherders, Software Engineers, Veterinarians, and many more.
Here’s a brief rundown of the various aspects of employment immigration:
Employment-Based Green Cards and Work Permits: Green Cards grant permanent residence and require the person to work for the employer that sponsored them. These documents are typically obtained through a multi-step process involving labor certification, an immigrant petition, and adjustment of status or visa processing. At Roach & Bishop, we guide clients through this intricate process, ensuring they meet all requirements for successful employment-based immigration. During this process, we may be able to obtain a work permit, also known as Employment Authorization Documents (EADs), for the employee that is temporary and based on sponsorship by the employer for a specific job.
TN: The TN visa is part of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), recently replaced by the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA). It allows certain professionals from Canada and Mexico to work in the U.S. based on a list of approved occupations and minimum requirements. At Roach & Bishop, we assist clients in navigating the TN requirements and application process, ensuring a smooth transition for their professional endeavors in the U.S.
Labor Certification (PERM): The PERM Process is a vital part of the Green Card process that is actually managed by the Department of Labor. This process “tests” the U.S. labor market to ensure that qualified U.S. workers are apprised of available jobs before they are offered to a foreign national. At Roach & Bishop, we guide clients through this complex three-step process toward obtaining an employment-based Green Card.
National Interest Waivers (NIW): The National Interest Waiver (NIW) is a valuable option for individuals with advanced degrees or exceptional ability in arts, sciences, or business, allowing them to bypass the lengthy PERM Process enroute to their Green Card. At Roach & Bishop, we expertly navigate the NIW requirements, helping clients demonstrate their work’s substantial merit and national importance.
Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) was introduced to protect certain individuals from deportation and provide them with a work permit. At Roach & Bishop, we have significant experience with Deferred Action cases, having completed more than 500 initial cases since the DACA Program was announced and continuing to renew over 100 cases each year since the program began back in 2012.
Eligibility requirements for DACA:
DACA: This program was announced on June 15, 2012, and is aimed at individuals brought to the U.S. as children. Eligible individuals must have been under the age of 31 as of June 15, 2012, came to the U.S. before reaching their 16th birthday, and have continuously resided in the U.S. from June 15, 2007, up to the present time. They must also be currently in school, have graduated from high school, have obtained a general education development (GED) certificate, or are honorably discharged veterans of the Armed Forces of the United States. You must also not have a significant misdemeanor or more than 3 nonsignificant misdemeanors.
If you currently have DACA and have been charged with a criminal issue that could potentially disqualify you from renewing your status, our office has a lot of experience determining safe alternatives that allow you to continue to renew your DACA status notwithstanding criminal charges.
The legality of DACA has been challenged in the courts since shortly after its inception and the Supreme Court in 2019 even heard a case regarding its legality, though it did not rule on the merits of the program. Currently, existing applicants can apply to renew their DACA status, and new applicants can file applications, though new applications are held in abeyance until the legality of DACA is ultimately decided.
Foreign-Trained Medical Doctors
Understanding the intricacies of U.S. immigration law can be daunting, particularly for foreign-trained providers seeking to practice in the United States. However, with the proper guidance, this process can be navigated effectively. This section aims to provide an overview of the various immigration pathways available to foreign-trained providers, including J1 waivers, H1B visas, and I-140s through PERM (discussed above), National Interest Waivers, or Schedule A.
Let’s delve into each of these options to better understand their implications and benefits.
H1B for Foreign Trained Medical Providers: The H1B visa allows U.S. employers to employ foreign medical graduates in a specialty occupation for up to six years. Although most physicians in the U.S. who completed their training on a J1 visa need a J1 waiver before they can switch to H1B status, most other medical professionals, like dentists, advanced practice registered nurses, occupational/physical therapists, dietitians, among others can obtain H1B status without a waiver.
J1 Waiver for Foreign Trained Medical Doctors: The J1 waiver allows foreign medical graduates who are subject to a two-year home residence requirement to waive this requirement under certain circumstances, typically by promising to work in a medically underserved area for a three-year period. Upon being granted a waiver, the doctor then obtains H1B status to work in the underserved area.
Physician National Interest Waiver (PNIW): This waiver recognizes that physicians working in underserved areas of the United States are in the national interest. To qualify, a physician must agree to work for five years in an area designated as having a shortage of physicians, and at the end of that five-year period, the physician then qualifies for their Green Card.
Schedule A: This is a list of occupations for which the Department of Labor has already determined there is a scarcity in the U.S. Therefore, applicants may skip the Labor Certification (PERM) process entirely and proceed directly to filing the I-140 petition.
Immigration Law with Roach & Bishop
Navigating the complexities of immigration law is a challenge, but you don’t have to do it alone. At Roach & Bishop, we’re committed to providing you with the guidance and support you need. Whether you’re seeking to unite with family, pursue employment opportunities, or explore other immigration pathways, our experienced team is here to help.
Don’t let uncertainty hold you back. Reach out to us today at (509) 547-7587 to schedule a consultation. Let us help you take the first step toward achieving your immigration goals. Your journey to a brighter future starts with a simple phone call. We look forward to hearing from you.