Articles Posted in Ken’s Blogs

Published on:

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

S-R HIB RantsCongress, the Department of Homeland Security, United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS), the U.S. Department of Labor (DoL), and the U.S. Department of State have been making the process for obtaining H-1B visas progressively more difficult over the years, placing annual numerical limitations (the H-1B “cap”) on the number of visas available in that category, adopting adjudication policies with ever higher and often unreasonable standards, and modifying government interpretations as to the definition of employer. The H-1B visa is the workhorse of temporary employment visas in the arsenal of visa classifications. It is often used by foreign students who come to the U.S. to begin their careers here – students who contribute to areas where our workforce is lacking – most notably in the STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) fields.

The cap for H-1B visas is set at 65,000 for “traditional” H-1Bs and another 20,000 for those beneficiaries who have graduated with a U.S. master’s degree or higher. Despite a greater demand than inventory, the cap has not increased in over a decade. The demand for H-1B visa workers has increased significantly after a temporary decline during the most recent recession. An H-1B visa lottery is now held when the number of U.S. employer petitions outnumber the available visas.

Published on:

by Ken Robinson

hibThe H-1B visa is a visa classification used by some foreign national who will be temporarily employed–full- or part-time–in a specialty occupation by an employer.  A specialty occupation is one which requires a theoretical and practical application of a body of specialized knowledge, along with at least a bachelor’s degree or its equivalent related to the occupation.  For example, architecture, engineering, mathematics, physical sciences, social sciences, medicine and health, education, business specialties, accounting, law, theology, and the arts are all areas in which specialty occupations are routinely found.  But what about, say, fashion designers?  Does someone who designs t-shirt graphics for a multinational company qualify as someone in a specialty occupation?

Restaurant/hospitality managers?  Marketing professionals?  The Service makes employers–and their immigration counsel–jump through hoops in order to demonstrate that the position qualifies as a specialty occupation.  This creates an evidentiary burden for employers which is overly cumbersome, with the net effect of creating obstacles to employment where none ought to be.  We recognize that employers should demonstrate that an employee qualifies for a specialty occupation.  But, cases from just two years ago, where the H-1B was readily granted, are now generating undue inspection from the Service.  That’s problem number one.

Published on:

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

GOPAs promised, we’re delving deeper into each candidate’s respective position on the war against the undocumented (WATU).

Congresswoman Michele Bachmann, who has been noted for having the harshest stance on immigration issues, has the least defined plan, simply echoing the rhetoric of “we are a nation founded on immigrants…but we are a nation based on laws” and promises to “ensure our borders are fully secured.”  In summary, she states immigrants go home.  She would be a WATU four-star general, no doubt.

Published on:

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

repub2012The little known secret in the GOP is that immigration policy matters. However, the beauty contest that is this year’s run-up to the GOP primary season has made it clear: These contestants don’t want anything to do with an immigration policy if it means more than a simple “out with the undocumented.”

Immigration policy is certainly a hot button topic for the upcoming Presidential Election. We know it, you know it, and the GOP knows it. Why else the sudden emphasis by GOP hopefuls and by GOP members of Congress? Why else the sudden interest, albeit very reluctant, in a topic that the GOP has tended to avoid for fear of immigrant backlash?

Published on:

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

When the demand for skilled technical workers increases, many companies look to bring in foreign workers to fill the gap. The main hurdle that an employer has to clear is obtaining a temporary work visa for the out-of-country talent they wish to bring in, which is accomplished by filing an H-1B petition with the federal government. In the past, this was a relatively simple process. As the political and economic landscape has changed, however, bringing in a foreign employee – even on a temporary basis – has become increasingly more difficult.

Why are companies forced to look overseas at all? Let’s face it, as the economic forecast for the country becomes cloudier, politicians are feeling more pressure than ever to ensure that American jobs stay in America and are only given to Americans. The problem, however, is that the United States is still producing too few skilled technicians in the workplace with each passing year. And with the technology sector still clamoring to fill the highly skilled IT positions, the demand for these types of workers simply cannot be satisfied by the domestic workforce – hence the need to bring in outside help under the H-1B visa program (notwithstanding the recent push for the U.S. education system to produce more S.T.E.M. professionals – Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics).  Surely, this beats the trend of outsourcing these jobs to China, the Philippines or India.

Published on:

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

It is true, I am an identical twin (the photograph attached to this blog posting is indeed yours truly!). Not surprisingly, I grew up with this urge to try to distinguish myself from somebody who many thought looked exactly like me. In so doing, I was drawn to all things foreign:  exchange students, travel, film, ideas, languages, you name it! At the start of my law school career, I thought I wanted to work in “international law,” although, truth be told, I didn’t really know what that meant. What I discovered was that international law was maritime law (water rights, rules governing employees working on ships and the shipment of goods on maritime vessels), transportation (tariffs, taxes, bills of lading), laws governing actions of nations in the world community, and finance — and, most of this seemed really dull to me.

I wanted something more personal and more meaningful that still had a component of international law. If only I could represent individuals (investors, businessmen and women, skilled professional workers, entertainers, artists, athletes…) as well as work with businesses large and small (hospitals, universities, not-for-profits, government agencies, churches, and NGOs, etc.) while exposing myself to foreign concepts, ideas, places, and languages… But how could I do this?