Immigration, The Political Football

Europeans marvel at the U.S. immigration laws, and shake their head in wonderment at all the forms, classifications, Visas and cards. It’s no wonder why they view the U.S. system with a touch of amusement, as most of them just pack and leave a country to go live in another one, if the spirit moves them.

In the U.S., the rules and regulations are much like a never-ending maze, causing foreign nationals to seek the specific expertise of an immigration and Visa attorney; just to make sense of the process. There is no way they are able to move to the U.S., get a job and live here, without following specific protocol.

This is rather ironical when you consider immigration provides diversity and population growth, something the nation prides itself on. What happened to the spirit behind the words etched on the Statue of Liberty?

What happened is the whisper of politics, the fact it is no longer a good option for the U.S. to have totally open borders. The global economy will just not support that kind of massive influx. It is becoming more and more critical to focus on the home fires. That, however, raises a touchy issue – who is allowed to come to the U.S. and work? There are no easy answers to that question either.

Right or wrong, what has happened is there are two factions of immigrants in the U.S. today; those who came here without availing themselves of the legal methods to do so, and those who did go the legal route, but still can’t get a Visa. This, of course, causes no end of angst for professionals and executives who need to be in the U.S. due to the nature of their work, or if they have been transferred with multi-national companies.

One would think it would be easy to obtain the special H-1B or the L-1 Visa, but applying for them isn’t the problem. The rules and conditions, however, are so convoluted and contrary that it requires a highly specialized H-1B attorney to thread through all the paperwork. The H-1B Visa lets foreign nationals with degrees and credentials work in the U.S., so long as they have an employer sponsoring them. It’s not quite as easy as that, but that is how the process begins.

The L-1 Visa is generally for those with specialized knowledge (managers, executives) who have been abroad working for a non-U.S. company and who now want to transfer to a U.S. subsidiary of the parent company. While this may sound fairly straightforward on the surface, the conditions and regulations may change without notice. This is one of the major reasons why immigration law is so specialized and those attorneys who handle cases need to know this area of law intimately.

While immigration law isn’t likely to become easier to understand in the near future, there are attorneys who make it their life’s passion to strive to assist those wanting to call the United States home.