Articles Posted in Don’s Blogs

Published on:

by Don Slowik, Attorney and ImmigRanter at Slowik & Robinson, LLC

Employment is picking up, and so is the need for qualified immigrants. Unfortunately, the situation wasn’t helped by Donald Neufeld’s January 8, 2010 guidance memorandum. It had an adverse impact on employers, particularly IT consulting and staffing companies who placed H-1B consultants at clients’ sites. The memo required that the client provide a letter stating that the consultant worked there, that they were performing the duties necessary for H-1B employment and that the consulting company retained the right to control the consultant’s employment. It was a requirement almost impossible to meet for reasons having to do with employment confidentiality agreements, with client knowledge of the entire chain of events that led from their need to the consultant’s appearance, and with the client’s willingness to supply such certification.

On March 12, 2012 the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services issued a revised Q&A on the Neufeld memo that addressed the issue. The answers to Questions 5 and 13 removed the requirement that the client provide the letter.  It does require, though, that the employer prove the employment relationship with the consultant, regardless of the job site. This has been a point of confusion, particularly in the IT consultant area, because the consultant typically is not hired directly by the company needing their expertise. As a matter of fact, there may be two or more “layers” between the company that signs the consultant’s check and the client site where the work is done. Those layers might be the IT company that needs the consultant and the staffing agency that finds him or her. That complexity has been a concern, because it was difficult to determine who controlled the employee – a necessary condition for an H-1B visa.

Published on:

by Don Slowik, Attorney and ImmigRanter at Slowik & Robinson, LLC

SnR_SelfCheckAnyone seeking employment in the United States should be aware of developments in the E-Verify program, as well as the new Self Check service. Administered by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), E-Verify is a program of the Department of Homeland Security that employers use to verify the eligibility status of new hires. The program has been around for years, but USCIS only recently created Self Check, a way for workers to check their own employment status.

Self Check is a free online service that anyone over 16 can use to confirm the accuracy of their government record. The service provides people access to the same information E-Verify uses for employers. As immigration lawyers, we encourage legal immigration. If E-Verify worked perfectly, then we would support the program, but it doesn’t. Unfortunately the database contains corrupt and incomplete data. This is why it’s so important for individuals to check their records and be proactive on keeping them up to date.

Published on:

by Don Slowik, Attorney and ImmigRanter at Slowik & Robinson, LLC

eb5In 1990, Congress had a great idea. As part of the Immigration Act of 1990, a fifth category of employment-based visas was created. Known as EB-5 or the employment-creation visa, the idea was to encourage foreign investment in the United States. The payoff for investors is reduced waiting time for legal permanent residency in the United States.

To get in line, “alien entrepreneurs” plunk down $1 million into a new commercial enterprise (or $500,000 in locations where unemployment is high). They get a conditional green card good for two years at the start. Then, upon demonstrating that at least 10 full-time jobs have been created as a result of their investment, they get a full green card and can stay. The jobs can’t be for their family or friends, but for U.S. citizens, green card holders, and others authorized to work indefinitely in the U.S.

Published on:

by Don Slowik, Attorney and ImmigRanter at Slowik & Robinson, LLC

So the debt ceiling scare is over, and the U.S. now stands on the dawn of a golden age of prosperity as our economy improves and more jobs are created, right?

Well, what if I told you that in many sectors — particularly those dealing with IT — those jobs are already here. Good ones, too. It’s the people who aren’t there. Check out this recent Columbus Dispatch article, describing the lack of skilled workers available in the central Ohio area. We’re talking thousands of high-paying jobs — and that’s just in one region.

Published on:

by Don Slowik, Attorney and ImmigRanter at Slowik & Robinson, LLC

Between a stint at The Iowa Writers Workshop and starting law school, I backpacked around Europe, ending up in Perugia, Italy to study the country’s language and history in Italian. When I started law school back at Ohio State, I had notions of becoming an international lawyer but then fell in love with labor law and was lucky enough to land a job in that field with a large law firm in Columbus – a very good firm but very white bread. When people ask how I got into immigration law, I will sometimes say tongue-in-cheek it was because of my last name. One of the partners needed help one day on an H-1B visa  – that’s a type of temporary work visa – for a Japanese business client. I will tell them that the partner scrolled down the firm’s list of Associates, saw my last name – Slowik – and said, “Bingo, he gets the job.”  That didn’t really happen of course and was 25 years ago, but I’ve been practicing immigration law as part of my employment/labor law practice ever since. I still do employment and labor law, but most of what I do now is business immigration: I help U.S. businesses to secure work visas for foreign employees on a permanent or temporary basis.

I like immigration law because I really get to know my clients’ businesses, their labor needs, and how the foreign national’s skills fit into the big picture of their business. And I also get to know each foreign worker personally and help them on something – obtaining U.S. work authorization – that is very important in their personal life. The businesses and foreign individuals that I’ve helped on immigration matters are first-rate. They definitely contribute to the U.S. economy in a positive way.  Immigration law is also fascinating to me because as a form of law, there’s a lot of room for legal advocacy.