Adjustment of Status

Guestbook Entry for Rebecca , United States

Name: 
Rebecca
State: 
Indiana
Immigration.com: 
Country: 
United States
Comment: 

I am very greatfull to Rajiv Ji and his team for immediately responding to my request for help when I needed it in my immigration problems and queries, on calling Rajiv Ji's office the staff was very co-operative and scheduled a phone appointment with Rajiv Ji at the earliest since the time I had called and Rajiv Ji spoke to me the next day and answered all my queries without charging for it. which is the biggest help I could get. Words are not enough to Thank him for all the help he gives to people in need in his busy schedule at his position. Only Rajiv Ji can handle to help people and carry on his office with his profession in such a efficient way. He is the most kind and helping Immigration Attorney I know of in the USA. My prayers and best wishes go with him for God to shower his choicest blessings on him and his profession to flourish. THANK YOU RAJIV JI............:) YOU are like the light in the tunnel for Immigrants like me here in this foreign land.

Substantial transcription for video: 

AC21 Green Card Portability after 180 days of I-485 Pendency - Part 1

 

 

Recorded 27 July 2012

 

 

Hello, everyone.  I want to talk today about AC21.  There is a lot of mystery, a lot of mystique.  People have been asking questions for a few years now, and I’m still not done answering all of the questions.  So I thought I’d just record this for you and hopefully I’ll cover most of the issues that I remember.  In case I am missing something, let me know.  Of course, this is just the first part.  I intend to do several parts on this AC21 issue.  If you have any follow up questions, you are welcome to send us an email through the Contact Us form on www.immigration.com

 

 

What exactly is AC21?

 

 

AC21 is an abbreviation for a law called American Competitiveness in the Twenty-First Century Act.  I think the law was enacted by Congress back in October 2000.  So the law has been in effect for fully 12 years, and USCIS has still not given us regulations.  It’s very important to have regulations.  If you do not have regulations, we have only the bare bones of the law.  In IT industry, you think of it as having just a high-level design.  We do not have any user interface, we do not have any functionality program, we do not have the code, and we do not really know what the law will really look like in implementation.  The last comprehensive interpretation of AC21 was back in May 2005 through something called the Yates Memorandum, given by William R. Yates, which basically answered a lot of questions, but there are still a lot left unanswered.

 

 

What is AC21’s effect on H-1?

 

 

Basically, this allows you to get H-1 extensions beyond six years; it allows you to change jobs while the H-1 transfer is pending.  I’m not discussing this now.  I want to focus on Green Card.  I will address H-1 later.

 

 

AC21 effect on Green Card

 

 

Every EB-2, EB-3, and some EB-1 holders can change to a same or similar job as described in their Green Card with any employer anywhere in USA.  You are not geographically restricted.  If your green card was filed in Colorado, you can move to California or Washington, DC.  What is required is the jobs be same or similar.  

 

 

Your I-140 has been approved, and your I-485 has been pending for 180 days.  How are the 180 days counted?

 

 

180 days are counted based upon the pendency of I-485, not necessarily after the I-140 has been approved.  Let me explain.  Let’s say I file your I-140 and I-485 today.  After 150 days (five months), your I-140 gets approved, and now your I-485 has been pending 150 days.  We only need 30 more days to reach to that 180 day count.  In other words, we don’t have to start counting from the date the I-140 has actually been approved.  We count based upon how many days the I-485 itself was pending.  Once the I-485 is approved, then, by operation of law, we only count what has been remaining of 180 days.  Once again, I file today, both the I-140 and I-485.  After 150 days, I-140 gets approved.  Now I have to wait only 30 more days.

 

 

What if I leave before I-140 is approved?

 

 

Mr. Yates made it quite clear that, as long as I-140 was approvable when filed, even if you left, it’s not going to affect the merits of your AC21 claim.  Once again, if the I-140 was approvable when filed, even if you left, it’s not going to hurt the merits of your AC21 claim, but there is something to worry about.

 

 

Does the employer still have the intent to hire me back and I to rejoin?

 

 

In other words, what triggers AC21?  It is not the approval of the I-140.  What if my I-140 and I-485 were not filed together, as happens to a lot of people.  Of course, if they were filed together, then remember the 150 days example I gave.  Even if you left, the I-140 gets approved.  We only have to wait those extra 30 days, and we are comfortable in knowing that we are covered by AC21.  But what if my I-140 has been filed, but not my I-485?  Then I have to do this analysis.  Does the employer have the intention to hire back and I to rejoin them?  If so, when my priority date becomes current, I can file for I-485 based upon the letter given by the employer for whom I used to work.  If you leave before your I-140 is approved and before the I-485 is filed, you’ve got to have a way to file an I-485 through the employer who has sponsored you, who initially filed for you, who petitioned for you.  That means there must be an intention to hire and rejoin.

 

 

What if I leave before 180 days are over, but the I-140 is approved?

 

 

Now the hypothetical is a little different.  Remember the 150 day example.  What if I leave on the 150th day, my I-140 is approved, but I am still 30 days short of the 180 days that’s needed for the I-485 to be pending?  This hypothetical assumes that both the I-140 and I-485 are concurrently filed.  If they were not concurrently filed, then of course the previous analysis--the intent analysis--if the employer has the intent to hire me back, then I can file an I-485.  Remember, you can always carry the priority date forward.  That’s what we’re talking about.  Once the 1-140 is approved, the priority date can be carried forward.  We’re talking about AC21.  That’s a different law altogether.

 

 

If I leave on the 151st day, am I okay? 

 

 

You are okay as long as USCIS does not start questioning you on the 151st day.  Mr. Yates said this.  If you have left before 180 days and if you do not have a RFE response due back asking you about your job before the 180 days, you are okay.  If I got an RFE before I left and the RFE response is due before 180 days, then the chances are I cannot use the AC21.  I can only carry forward my priority date.  If you don’t get this, join me in a free community conference call, and I’ll run over your scenario step-by-step.

 

 

What if I leave before 180 days are over, but the I-140 is approved, I-485 is pending, and I left during the 151st day?  As long as an RFE response is not due before the 180 days, you are okay.  It’s fairly safe to assume that you are going to be fine in any of these scenarios where you’ve left before the 180 days are over, because, typically, the RFE itself gives you a few weeks to respond and, by that time, if you’ve thought it over, you can respond with a new job offer. 

 

 

What if I’ve left, but I don’t have a job for some time?  Let’s say you left on the 150th day.  Your I-485 pending and I-140 approved, or both are pending, what if you do not have a job for some time?  Same analysis applies as long as an RFE response is not due before the 180 days are over.  If it’s due before the 180 days are over, you could have some problem.  But, if it is not due, you should be all right.  If you do not have a job for some time, that’s okay, too.

 

 

May I port from a future job?

 

 

This is a very interesting analysis.  The Yates Memorandum clearly says yes.  So I am working for employer A  on a  H-1, and employer B  has filed for my green card as a future job or, maybe even if I used to work with employer B, then I left them, and they continued by green card.  It becomes a future job, then I am not working on that job.  You can actually file an I-140 and I-485 for a future job and still do an AC21 to any job.  You actually never even have to join the future job as long as your intentions were clean when you filed the I-485.  So yes, you can port from a future job, and you can even port without ever joining that employer.

 

 

May I port to my own company or business?

 

 

This is a question I’m asked quite a lot.  The answer is yes.  It is not forbidden.  Why the double negative?  I’ll tell you what I’m worried about.  When somebody ports to his or her own company or business, one of the most important things is, remember I talked about jobs must be same or similar?  This is where the problem occurs.  Let’s say your title was Biochemist or IT Engineer or Software Engineer or Systems Administrator.  When you start your company, you kind of become the CEO or Manager.  That’s not acceptable.  That could cause the problem.  But what if you have a company your wife is managing, and you’re just an employee?  That’s okay.  That can be done.  So when you port to your company or business, make sure you discuss this in detail with your lawyers.  Make sure you understand what you’re allowed to do and what you’re not allowed to do.

 

 

The same or similar analysis is very confusing.  We don’t have clear understanding.  The closest you are to the jobs being the same, the better off you are.

 

 

What do I mean by the same job?  

 

 

What if I was a Java Developer in one job and a .Net Developer in another job?  I think that’s okay.  This is my interpretation, because you’re still a developer.  Nowhere does the law say you must have the same technologies covering both jobs.  In my view, you are okay even with different technologies.  I’ve never had this view supported by the government, so consider this my guess, something I would be comfortable arguing in court if I have to.

 

 

What is required to do an AC21, and what does it involve?

 

 

There is no law on what you are required to do.  If you do not inform the government, you are not breaking any law.  But in most cases, it is a smart idea to inform the government.  Why?  Because if you are subject to AC21, you ported over, and then the old employer revokes the I-140, for somebody who has successfully ported, that does not have any effect on them.  The old employer can revoke the I-140.  You are still entitled to your AC21 benefits.  However, I have seen cases when an old employer revoked the I-140.  Instead of sending the usual RFE, USCIS sends a Notice of Intent to Revoke the I-485, and if you do not get it in timely manner, sometimes you could have an issue.  Then you have to file a Motion to Reopen.  It becomes messier.  You might not have work authorization, because your I-485 has been revoked.  That’s why, further down, I am going to advise you to keep your H-1 active in most of these cases.  Even though the chances of something going wrong are extremely small, they do exist, and I like to cover every possible bad scenario that I possibly can.  What you have to do is have your lawyers write a letter to the government saying that you are using AC21 and porting over to same or similar job.

 

 

May I transfer more than once using AC21?

 

 

Yes, you can do 20,000 change of employers.  AC21 does not say you can do it only once.

 

 

Should I keep my H-1 active?

 

 

I just spoke about that.  I think you should as far as humanly possible.  If, for whatever reason, you cannot, it’s okay.  You’re still reasonably safe as long as you keep track of your ****, but, where possible, keep your H-1 active.  It’s so much better for you.

 

 

What are the dangers in using AC21?

 

 

One thing that has always bothered me is, if for some reason your I-485 is denied, for example, you are out of status and not even knowing you are out of status and your I-485 gets denied, you lose your AC21.  This is something I’ve seen come up.  An employee was placed in California where the LCA was approved for Colorado.  That’s a violation of the H-1 laws.  Most employers don’t know that.  Unfortunately, some of my colleagues I’ve seen poorly advise that you can just file a new LC.  That’s not true.  H-1 amendments are needed when the move is beyond normal commuting distance.  Inadvertently, you have fallen out of status for more than 180 days.  Now your I-485 is deniable.  You did not know that.  The next thing is you’re getting a denial of I-485, and you are losing your right to AC21.  That’s one major danger that I see all the time.  Other than that, everything is covered if you can keep you H-1 active and, if you cannot, I feel that your risks are minimal.  We have filed hundreds, if not thousands, of AC21 cases.  I have not had a single case run into any kind of problem. 

 

 

Sometimes, you can be interviewed.  Does your risk of being interviewed increase because you’ve filed an AC21?

 

 

I personally don’t think so.  I don’t see any indication of that.  But, certainly, I’ve heard people say that that’s what happens.  I don’t feel that’s a major danger.  I don’t think that happens that frequently, but keep that in mind as well. 

 

 

Folks, I hope I was able to give you some useful information.  I know it’s kind of confusing, but we’ll keep talking about it until things become clearer.

 

 

Thank you for listening.  Good luck.

Substantial transcription for video: 

Fraud Allegations in Immigration Law

 

Recorded on 12th July 2012.

 

I wanted to talk to you folks today about an issue that has become problematic in the last four or five years - fraud or misrepresentation.  Very often, I see that the government very casually throws in an implication that you have committed a misrepresentation. Actually, they will come out and say that we find misrepresentation.  You will think that this is a normal, ordinary thing, and you might ignore it.  I have seen people get into so much trouble with that fraud or misrepresentation finding.  Let me talk to you about what can happen with that.

 

First of all, a fraud or misrepresentation finding can lead to criminal prosecution.  You can be prosecuted criminally, if the government so chooses.  I have seen companies being prosecuted for amazingly trivial things. I have seen government start with a 43 count indictment of a company and then walk away with “Failure to report change of address” or something so trivial that it makes you wonder why did the government spends three, four, or five million dollars on  the  prosecution of these kind of cases.  We have provided advice and help to various defense teams all over the country in criminal defense of these kind of cases.  My bottom line approach in these cases is, you’ve got to be extremely careful the moment you see any implication or finding of fraud or misrepresentation.  Speak with counsel or speak with somebody who knows all sides of this picture.  Unfortunately what happens is, if you are only concerned with benefits like an H-1 or an F-1 or an L-1, you probably won’t pay too much attention to ancillary findings other than the fact it has been denied.

 

Let us talk about what can happen if there is a fraud or misrepresentation finding a little bit more in detail.  The worst thing that can happen is a criminal prosecution. You can go to prison over this, make no mistake, if there is in fact a finding that was not rebutted and then there was a subsequent investigation and more evidence was collected.  I will give you this--criminal prosecution and conviction are not as easy as just throwing out a finding and it is surprising how easily USCIS and other agencies toss around that finding, “Oh, this is misrepresentation.”  The moment I see that word, I know it is a buzzword for us to go all out for this issue and make sure that the government has it on the record what our side of story is.

 

So, criminal prosecution is not easy but it can happen.  Be careful.  Deportation, removal, exclusion.  What does that mean?  If  you are in USA  on a visa, F-1 , B-1 , H-1 , L-1  any visa, and they find that there is some fraud or misrepresentation in your past or present, the government can initiate deportation, more accurately, removal from USA, and  you can then  be barred from coming back to USA for up to permanently .  And I am saying that again so that you folks understand. Any attempt to procure a visa or immigration benefit, note that “attempt.”  You do not have to have been successful.  Even in an attempt could lead to a permanent bar from entering USA.

 

 As I recall, there is only one waiver available based upon a family member--immediate family member-- who is a US citizen or permanent resident, but then you have to convince the USCIS that you should be given that waiver and there is extreme and exceptional hardship on your relative.  I recall that is the waiver that is available for these things .Third thing that can happen is denial of sought benefit now or in the future.  So think about this very carefully.  You applied for an H-1. For some reason, they said, “Oh, your degrees are fraudulent,” and I have seen these kind of cases .They thought that the degrees were fraudulent merely because there was no confirmation of certain kinds of things.  For example, you just gave your transcripts.  You did not give your final diploma, and USCIS, after doing some cursory checks, decided that you had not been able to prove your case.  Instead of merely saying that you have not been able to prove your case, they will throw in something very casually saying, “Oh, this is misrepresentation.”

 

Next thing is, you get stuck when you apply for an H-1 again.  They will pull up the record, and they will say you have a misrepresentation and we cannot give you the benefit.  So, in the future, this can come back and haunt you.  Next thing that can happen is, if there is any misrepresentation finding, let’s say you applied for an H1 transfer and they found fraud they can revoke whatever they have given you.  Now remember that when I say that they find fraud, they do not even, this is very sad, but they will just throw in the finding without considering, and I have seen too many cases like this.  It is awful for the government, and I do not think government. Let me rephrase that. I do not think any government officer individually is IQ challenged, but I think, as an organization, the moment we get into a bureaucracy, we are dealing with very unintelligent bureaucracy.  Without considering the consequences of what they are doing, they will throw in a finding of misrepresentation. So your benefits can be revoked, and as I said earlier, you can get a permanent bar from entering USA.

 

So the next question is “When does this come up?” Normally, when a fraud or a misrepresentation finding is made, typically, where do they make this finding, they can do it at the consulate during visa application.  I talked with some individuals yesterday, such an easy case and because of a misunderstanding, it’s become a complete problem.  What was the case? Boy and girl meet, they get married. According to South Indian ceremonies, I do not want to say the exact state, but South Indian ceremonies, and the marriage occurs in a temple.  According to the law of the state where the marriage was entered into, until the marriage is registered, it is not valid.  However, when the lady goes for a K-1 interview (K-1 is for fiancées; if you are married you cannot get a K-1), the consul officer grilled her quite thoroughly and decided that she was lying and that she was already married.  Next thing, they put a permanent bar on her.  Now she is under permanent bar. The husband is scrounging around, trying to get some way of getting her back in.  Of course, she will make it back in this particular circumstance, because there is a bunch of factors that go in her favor, but this is a tough case.  And normally, US citizen spouses, actually, unless there is a unique case, I usually tell people do not even hire a lawyer.  Is this is ethically okay?  I think it is. In my judgment, certain cases don’t need a lawyer.  Typically, spouse of a US citizen is such a plain and easy case.  But look at this example and how badly this got messed up.  So now, during a visa application, you’ve got a bar.

 

What other circumstances?  Remember the Tri Valley University?   A lot of you might remember that.  There were some misrepresentation implications for certain groups of people, not everybody.  They had a lot of problems getting visa stamping again from the consulate.  Second place where it can happen is at the airport.  When you land at the airport, the CBP (Custom and Border Protection) can haul you up there.  I have seen cases where somebody said, “Oh, I am coming in for a visit” and the CBP officer went through the luggage of the individual, and they found letters showing that they were meeting up with some potential employers or they were applying to schools.  Immediately, there is a fraud implication and the next thing is two things can happen.  If they want to be kind, they will let you withdraw your application  for admission and tell you to take the next flight back home without  coming into USA .If they want to throw the book at you, they can ... actually there is a third possibility.  Second is if they levy an exclusion on you, which basically means, we are formally denying you entry into the United States.  Now you are barred for five years from coming back.  But to throw the book at you, they would deny your entry based upon misrepresentation.  Now you have a permanent bar.  So these are not simple matters, ladies and gentlemen.  They can be quite complex.  Please make sure you have competent help if you see any implications or fraud or any chance of fraud in your application.

 

 Then the next thing is you can have a fraud or misrepresentation come up during benefits application.  In H-1, hiring without a project, the government now considers that to be a fraud.   I do not know how at what point of time hiring somebody without a project became a matter of a fraud.  I still think the jurisprudence-- the law in this area--is very poorly developed and poorly managed.  But who wants to take a chance for the   criminal court? Who wants to go in and spend 800,000 dollars, a million dollars, defending yourself if the government wants to take the stand that this is fraud? So do not hire somebody without a project, employers.  That is now considered to be a fraud.  I have seen indictments that said that specifically.

 

Inaccurate Job duties.  An H-1 employee is supposed to be a System Administrator, but they are working as a Software Engineer, developing but not doing any administration.  That can be a problem.  Why?  It can be a problem in depressing wages.  System Administrators are typically, though it could be other way around, paid differently that a Software Engineer.  Actually, if you hire somebody at a lower wage and make do to a higher paid job, that is a problem obviously.  I have seen failure to post LCAs at client sites.  If you have employees working at end client sites, I have seen the government try to make a fraud case out of that, because, partly, I think it is justified.  There is something that we have to look at very carefully, because they can say, “Look when you signed the LCA.  You made a representation to the government, ‘ I have posted this application at the end client site.’” That gets quite complicated. So this was H-1.  There are many examples  I could sit here and talk about for hours.  But I just want to give you kind of a flavor of when these things happen and crop up.

 

Green cards.  I remember a very weird case where, when filing the green card application (the perm application), the employer, who is a fairly good-sized company, signed the application without reading it through.  The 9089 was prepared by lawyers and it was not mentioned that the employee is related to the company president. It was his brother. The next thing is, USCIS denied the I-140, and, on top of that, they said this is misrepresentation, and we are also revoking the labor certification.  When I gave a consultation on the case, I immediately moved in and took certain steps, and I will get to that when I come to the next topic, which is what should you do.  But the point is, government’s contention was that in looking at the ETA 9089 perm application, it says, “I have read this application.”  It specifically says that.  So if you are signing that as an employer or even an employee, you better read and make sure all the material information in there is correct.  I have seen this issue come up a lot during Adjustment of Status.  Where do they come up the most?  Well, mostly lately, it has come up when government says, “Look, you are on H1 and you are authorized to work for an area in California, but you worked in Chicago.”  Here is the employee who is stuck with the fact that they cannot do anything about where the LCA was filed by the employer, but now they have got a fraud implication on their record.  Well, we deal with it, we make matters clear.  We explain the law to the government. But it is still quite hasslesome and bothersome to be in that situation.  Anyhow, go ahead and be careful and watch those whenever you see fraud or misrepresentation come up, just make sure it has been taken care of and properly addressed.

 

When else during Adjustment of Status?  G-325-A.  When you file the G-325-A, which is the biographical statement, government can take--I have a case actually, in which the employee neglected to mention two or three jobs that they had done illegally.  It was definitely an oversight, no question about that, because he disclosed other things.  And if he were going to try to deceive the government, he would have done a lot more than merely omit those two jobs.  So that became a big problem.  They are trying to bar him permanently.  We have a MTR (Motion to Rehear) pending against that.  During naturalization, there is an interesting case--interesting for me, but sad for the people who are involved.  A gentleman ran a company—again, a relatively good-sized company--and somewhere about six or seven years ago, they had submitted a letter from an end client in support of an H1, which the government considered to be fraudulent.  They said they could not verify the letter, and they made, I do not remember if they made an express finding a fraud.  But they did say that they were not able to verify, so there is doubt as to the veracity of the document.  Doubt as to the veracity.  Okay, that does not alert you.   You do not think, “Well, they are not saying they find fraud, but that is what they are saying.  Okay, six or seven years later, they have a lot of approvals for their H-1  after that green card with no problem.  Employees have been doing fine, and the issue never came up.  This gentleman applies for naturalization.  Guess what?  Barred from naturalization.  The government may go after his green card.  Why?  There is a fraud. So this issue comes up in naturalization.

 

It can come up in courts.  Sometimes you are there for unrelated proceedings, for example divorce.  Next thing is, there is a misrepresentation element or an element of fraud that you have not considered, and you are stuck.  The worst case that I have seen come up , which was very unfair and sad is, when an employee on H1 fell out of status for a month or so.  Under the law, if you are out of status for even one day, by operation of law, your visa is considered to be cancelled.  So the Visa stamp that you have on your passport is cancelled.  Very few people know this law.  Of course, as they say, ignorance of law is no excuse but when the law is so complex and so difficult to keep track of, who can know when something has been voided or made invalid by operation of law? Nobody can keep track of that.  It is something that happens quietly, perniciously in the background.  So, when this gentleman applied for Adjustment of Status, his 485, government said, “Your last entry into USA was fraudulent  because you used the VISA that was void by operation of law.”  I do not think he is going to have much trouble ultimately, but he is definitely being dragged around for misrepresentation.  See, I do not mean to imply that the government is always unreasonable, but they can be.  Individual officers can be sometimes be very unreasonable and overzealous in what they feel is the right application of the law. 

 

What should you do?  Look at the left hand side of the screen.  Clarify the record even if you lose the case. You want to make sure your story, your side of the story, is on the record.  I do not care if you lose the case.  So what did we do in that? Remember I talked about the president who signed the 9089 not realizing that he had signed saying that they were not related to each other, the beneficiary and he were brothers.  So what we did was, we immediately filed an appeal, and the appeal got dismissed, but we told our entire story.  We explained what happened.  We went through the entire document trail.  We submitted documents and I think even though the company may not realize it, by doing that, they have now put their own story on the record.  So tomorrow, if this issue ever comes up, whoever at USCIS is reviewing his case, they can see both sides of the picture before they deny any future benefits like naturalization.  Now we have both sides of the stories there. Appeal it, file a motion to reopen, even file a lawsuit.  All of these things you can do.

 

And what else can you do? If nothing else, send out a letter.  Make it clear what the record was.  I believe that should at least provide you a modicum of good defense .Good luck, folks, and it is good talking with you.  I think I want to do a video next time about these I-140 revocations. I am seeing I-140 revocations coming up after 8-10 years of having been approved.  Highly unfair.  Let me get into that next time.  Good talking with you.

EB-2 eligibility

I have Bachelor of science in nursing with 10 years of progressive experience (8 yrs in my home country then more than 2 yrs here in USA), do I qualify for EB2? What are the chances to get approved? If the company will file for concurrent filing of I-140 and I-485; will they give me working permit or EAD within 60 days though I-140 under EB2 category is still pending?

If your job requires BS + 5 years experience and you meet the requirements, EB2 is a possibility. Assuming you are born in a country for which the EB2 priority dates are current, you should get an EAD while the 140 and AOS are still pending.

Unless the context shows otherwise, all answers here were provided by Rajiv and were compiled and reported by our editorial team from comments and blog on immigration.com

Add new comment

Getting F-1 while I-485/AOS is pending

Trying to get an F-1 while an AOS/I-485 is pending has been a recurring theme in our community. Last year in May/June we had spent two hours talking about this theme in our community conference calls. A lot of people wanted to do their MBA and were not able to wait for their green cards to join school.

Generally speaking when you have exhibited immigrant intent, getting an F-1 becomes difficult. On top of that, USCIS has said that F-1 is not compatible with a simultaneous I-485. But USCIS has never told us what happens if do file for an F-1 while an I-485 is pending.

Pages

Subscribe to Adjustment of Status