Trump makes it harder to shift from work visa to green card

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced that those who are on work visas and applying for permanent residence are now required to go through an in-person interview, a step that could slow down the application process and make it more difficult for the applicant. The new policy will go into effect on October 1 this year.

Thousands of immigrant aliens every year transited to US Green Card through their work visa in the US.. H1 B route was found to be quite convenient to obtain a green card. But it appears it is not going to be the same “easy and convenient” route anymore. In technical parlance, it refers to an I-485 adjustment of status interview. This announcement was made on August 28 and was reported immediately by The Indian Panorama

On another front, US immigration attorneys are seeing an uptick in number of ‘Requests For Evidence’ (RFEs) being issued by the USCIS. These RFEs relate to petitions (applications) filed on or about April 2017 for H-1B visas that will be valid from October 1, 2017.

A vast majority of those to whom green cards are allotted comprise those who are already working in the US on temporary visas. During the four-year period up to 2014, over 2 lakh green cards were allotted to H-1B visa holders, according to a report by the Bipartisan Policy Centre.

Latest available data released by the USCIS shows that during 2015, as many as 34,843 Indians adjusted their temporary visa status and obtained green cards. Of this, 25,179 were holding jobs in the US (primarily under the H1-B category).

Immigration.com managing attorney Rajiv S Khanna says, “A new wrinkle in the inquiries is that, as USCIS had warned, they will not accept level-1 wages to be given in H-1B cases easily. They are questioning level-1 wages almost uniformly.” He explains the various levels and illustrates the wages. Level-1 category relates to entry-level jobs and, at the other end, is the level-4 category which calls for a more technical and leadership role.

The prescribed wage at level 1 for a software developer in San Jose is $88,733 a year, which rises to $155,147 annually at level 4. Khanna adds, “It is the USCIS position that level-1 salary indicates a non-professional position that does not require a specific college degree and is a job that would be inappropriate for an H-1B visa.

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