Share Your Thoughts

Q Do you expect that an amnesty law will pass this year?

A Not a chance. On July 26, the Senate Judiciary Committee held legislative hearings on two proposals—the McCain-Kennedy bill and the Cornyn-Kyl bill. Although both bills contain guest-worker programs, only under the first bill would guest workers have a chance to become permanent residents. The Bush Administration does not plan to address the immigration issue before 2006.

Q My application for labor certification has been pending since 2003. When will it be approved?

A Our law firm has received several approved labor certifications which were originally submitted in 2002 during the last two weeks. You may have to wait a few months before your application is considered.

Q Is it still possible to obtain a temporary H-1B work visa?
A Yes. There are over 40,000 visas available before the numerical cap is received. However, your chances of obtaining an H-1B visa are better if you apply during August or September. See

Q My case is currently before an immigration judge. How can I avoid being deported from the United States?

A As a former INS Attorney (1976-82), I can assure you that there are a number of ways of avoiding deportation. Depending on your circumstances, you may be eligible to apply for adjustment of status, asylum, cancellation of removal, or for a waiver of deportation. For detailed information on each of these remedies, see

Q I am a physician completing my medical residency in J status. I do not want to return to India when I finish. What do you recommend?

A Approximately 1,000 physicians are sponsored by “interested government agencies” (IGAs) each year for J waivers. A J waiver exempts you from having to return to your country for two years after completing your medical residency or fellowship. If you practice in a medically underserved area in the United States for three years and are sponsored by an IGA, you do not have to return to your country of origin. For more information see

Q Our firm recruits registered nurses from India. What do we need to know about the immigration process?

A On May 11, 2005, President Bush signed a new law that provides for 50,000 green cards for registered nurses (RNs), physical therapists (PTs), and their families. Neither RNs nor PTs need to obtain individual labor certifications under the PERM system. Hospitals should file the new PERM application (form ETA-9089) with the appropriate USCIS Service Center as an attachment to the I-140 immigrant visa petition. The USCIS then forwards the approved I-140 to the National Visa Center for processing. In 12 to 18 months, the RN receives an immigrant visa interview at a U.S. consulate in her home country. For more details, see

Carl Shusterman is a former INS Trial Attorney and a Certified Specialist in Immigration and Nationality Law. He manages a five-attorney practice based in Los Angeles. (213) 623-4592.