Category Archives: Blog

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The First Steps toward an Immigrant Visa: Labor Certification and Filing a Petition

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image There are four main ways to obtain U.S. permanent resident status.  The easiest is through a close family relationship, usually a U.S. citizen or permanent resident. Employment and investment-based sponsorship is another. The third way is through refugee, asylum, or cancellation of removal. Finally, the Diversity Visa (DV) lottery provides an opportunity for almost all.

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Naturalization is the process by which a permanent resident acquires U.S. citizenship. The general requirements are:

(1) five years continuous residence (three years if married to a US citizen), of which at least half the time must be spent physically in the United States; (2) residence of 90 days in a particular USCIS District prior to filing; (3) ability to read, write, and speak English; (4) knowledge and understanding of U.S. history and government; (5) good moral character; and (6) support for the principles of the U.S. Constitution.

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As the immigration debate heats up, the Department of Homeland Security, through its enforcement division, Immigration and Customs Enforcements (ICE) has undertaken a massive new enforcement effort directed at employers. The focus on enforcement is clearly evidenced by the rising number of high profile worksite raids, audits and investigations. This has resulted in significantly increased administrative, civil penalties and criminal prosecutions resulting from worksite violations. Based on the recent trend, employers should take steps to ensure that their “house” is in order as the government has made it clear that it intends to come “knocking at the door.”

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