Work Visas and Permanent Resident Status

Q: I am here on an H-1B visa. What will the reduction of the H-1B cap mean to me?

A: On Oct. 1, 2003, the H-1B cap fell from 195,000 to 65,000. This limit only applies to new H-1B petitions. Since you are already working in the U.S. in H-1B status, you probably will not be affected by the reduction in the cap.

Q: I am a computer professional. My former employer got a labor certification approved for my job at the beginning of 2003. In February they applied for an I-140/I-485 which is still pending. In May, I was terminated from my job. I’m still looking for a new job. Can I still adjust my status? What if my former employer withdraws my petition?

A: You are covered under the 180-day port-ability rule. Now that it has been over 180 days since your I-485 has been filed, the withdrawal of your petition would not affect your application for adjustment of status. What you need to do is to find a job in the same or a similar occupation, and notify the Immigration Service of this fact.

We recently conducted an online chat on the 180-day portability rule. See
www.immigration.about.com/library/weekly/aa090903b.htm

Q: I applied for asylum. My case was re-ferred to an immigration judge. Last week, the judge denied my asylum application. What should I do now?

A: You have a right to appeal the judge’s decision. You have 30 days from the date of the judge’s decision to submit a Notice of Appeal. If the Board of Immigration Appeals ultimately rejects your appeal, you may appeal your case in federal court. Seewww.shusterman.com/toc-dpt.html

Q: I am a physician. I am doing a medical residency on a J-1 visa. I will finish my residency next June. I would like to remain in the U.S. How can I achieve my goal?

A: You need to find employment in a medi-cally-underserved area. Once you do this, your employer needs to approach the state department of health or a federal agency about sponsoring you for a J waiver. You then need to spend a minimum of three years working for that employer, and to have your employer sponsor you for permanent residence. For more information, see
www.shusterman.com/toc-phys.html

Carl Shusterman is a former INS trial attorney and a specialist in immigration and naturalization law. You can reach him at (213) 623-4592 or www.shusterman.com

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