The Immigration Blog

About an Ever-Confusing American System

Temporary Pause? Court Temporarily Halts Certain Trump Immigration Orders

Last week, Baurkot & Baurkot reported of the White House Executive Orders that restricted the ability of individuals across the globe to enter the United States. On Tuesday, February 3, 2017, the United States District Court for the Western District of Washington entered an order temporarily halting the implementation of several provisions of the Executive Order. The order takes an approach that extends its reach across the United States. The Order is, however, only temporary.

The Court order provides that the United States Government:

  • must not stop the entry of ALL immigrants and ALL non-immigrants from Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen (note that Customs & Border Protection still has broad, discretionary authority to deny entry at any point of entry);
  • must stop prioritizing refugee claims made by individuals on the basis of religion for those who are of the minority religion of their home country; and
  • must resume the United States Refugee Admissions Program.

This Order is temporary—a pause, at most. Further, it does little to quell the great and growing uncertainty with respect to the American Immigration system. The White House responded in assuring an aggressive, quick, and proactive response and has already vowed to seek review of the District Court Order before the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. Given this, what is to occur next may very well occur shortly.

With the continued uncertainty of the American Immigration system, rest assured that the Attorneys at Baurkot & Baurkot are prepared and stand at the forefront of the debate, discussion, representation, and litigation. The Baurkot Immigration Team is continually monitoring developments and making necessary adjustments to ensure all clients—present and future—are protected.

Stay Tuned. This is only a short, short pause.

To read the Federal District Court temporary restraining order, please click here. To discuss your options, contact Baurkot & Baurkot.

New Immigration Fees Take Effect Today.

Effective today, December 23, 2016, filing fees for numerous requests for immigration benefits before United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) increased.

USCIS has confirmed that any application or petition bearing a preally-immigration-fees-up-againostmark of December 22, 2016 or earlier, no matter when it is ultimately received for filing, will be accepted with the old fees.

For informational purposes only, the following link has a comparison of the of fees before and after December 23, 2016.

To download, click on the following:

USCIS Fee Comparison



Baurkot & Baurkot: Pennsylvania’s Leading Immigration Law and Deportation Defense Firm.

Baurkot & Baurkot is Pennsylvania’s Leading Immigration Firm that serves individuals, families, corporations, small-businesses, non-profits, religious organizations, foreign investors, foreign students, visitors to the United States and more with all immigration matters.  Watch this video of Immigration Attorney Raymond Lahoud to learn more.

Baurkot & Baurkot: Where Your Immigration Matters.

Serving Cities Across Pennsylvania, including Easton, Allentown, Bethlehem, Scranton, Reading, Philadelphia, Lebanon, York, Harrisburg, Lancaster, Hazleton, Nazareth, West Chester, Upper Darby, Darby, Bensalem, Lower Marion, Abington, Bristol, Levittown, Wilkes Barre, and beyond.

Inmigrantes: El Conocimiento es Poder, ¡Protega Sus Derechos!

Que no cunda el pánico. Mantenerse informado.

A lo largo de la campaña presidencial de 2016, el Presidente Electo Donald Trump prometió acabar con la inmigración, deportar a millones de inmigrantes indocumentados, construir un muro a lo largo de la frontera U.S.-México, fin del 2012 Acción diferida para la Infancia llegadas (Daca), y cambiar las prioridades de deportación. Aunque el sitio web de la campaña del Presidente Electo Trump apoyar estas ideas, la oportunidad y el alcance de los cambios a las políticas actuales no son claras. Hay incertidumbre en el sistema de inmigración estadounidense.

No espere hasta el último minuto. A medida que más información se conoce, puede tomar medidas ahora para protegerse mediante la comprensión de sus derechos y aprender la verdad. Para ello, es importante que usted hable con un abogado de inmigración que conoce la ley de inmigración y sus complejidades. Hay mucho que perder.

¿Preguntas? Preocupaciones? Contacto Baurkot y Baurkot al (484) 544-0022 para hablar con un abogado de inmigración, líderes de hoy. Consulta gratis.

Baurkot y Baurkot es la mejor firma de la ley de inmigración que sirve Allentown, Bethlehem, Easton, York, Philadelphia, Scranton, Hazleton, y más allá.

Immigrants: Knowledge is Power, Protect Your Rights!

Don’t Panic, Get Informed.

Throughout the 2016 presidential campaign, President-Elect Donald Trump pledged to crack down on immigration, deport millions of undocumented immigrants, build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border, end the 2012 Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), and change deportation enforcement priorities. Although President-Elect Trump’s campaign website support these ideas, the timing and scope of any changes to current policies are unclear. There is uncertainty in the American Immigration System.

Do not wait until the last minute.  As more information is known, you can take steps now to protect yourself by understanding your rights and learning the truth. To do so, it is important that you speaking with an immigration attorney that knows immigration law and its complexities. There is too much to lose.

Questions?  Concerns?  Contact Baurkot & Baurkot at (484) 544-0022 to speak to a leading Immigration Law and Deportation Defense Attorney today.  Free Consultation.

Is There a Link Between Immigration and Unemployment?

There is frequently controversy regarding the effects that immigration might have on unemployment rates, especially when a large section of the population is struggling financially. News of corporations seeking H‑1B visas erroneously advances the idea that employers actively recruit foreign workers rather than hire native-born ones. However, there is no link between immigration rates and unemployment patterns. This is due to job market demographics and the benefits immigrants bring to communities.

Different job markets

Immigrants and native-born workers are not usually competing in the same job markets. They offer different education levels and skills. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, foreign workers were more likely than native-born employees to work in service occupations, including transportation, natural resources, maintenance and construction. Native-born workers faced a greater likelihood of employment in management, professional and sales positions. There is no competition for positions in this scenario.

The earnings disparity between foreign and native-born workers is very wide. In 2015, the average weekly wage for foreign-born workers was $681, which is significantly less than the $837 average for their native-born colleagues. This is likely due to the differences in service occupations versus managerial or professional ones, and further confirms the lack of competition between foreign-born and native-born employees.

Looking at this alone, immigrants do not compete with most native-born workers for jobs. However, there have been concerns about work availability for working class minorities when immigrants move into their communities.

Jobs not “stolen”

Minority unemployment is often the major issue in these discussions. Even with H-1B visas, companies are not allowed to recruit exclusively among foreign workers or offer those workers a lower salary than would be received by a native-born employee. This visa category also affects only the highly educated, a demographic with low unemployment in the United States. However, in communities where there are primarily service jobs, there is concern that working-class immigrants push out native-born workers with similar skills.

Still, even this conclusion is not backed by the evidence. An Immigration Policy Center Special Report reveals that areas with higher immigration from Latin American countries experience lower poverty and unemployment rates. The same report indicates that immigrants did not displace African American workers, but complemented them. Positions that became available simply could not be filled at the current population level. Immigration helped in these cases.

There are also effects that create jobs. Additional workers spending money in the United States increases opportunities and often require companies (especially retailers) to hire additional employees. Immigrants are also more likely than native-born residents to start their own businesses and employ additional workers—foreign and native-born alike.

Immigrants and their potential employers need to secure the correct visas in order to continue working and living in United States. This process can be challenging and time-consuming. If you require assistance in obtaining an immigrant visa, contact the skilled Pennsylvania immigration attorneys at Baurkot & Baurkot today to schedule a consultation.

Establishing an Employer-Employee Relationship Is Essential for H-1B Visa Purposes

More companies are using the H-1B visa to hire and retain foreign workers. It allows workers to maintain their permanent residence outside the United States while continuing employment here. However, H-1B visas are capped at 65,000 per fiscal year, which makes them very competitive and difficult to secure. One area where an H-1B visa application might fail is in establishing an employer-employee relationship between the worker and the company offering the job. Here is how to prove this connection and increase the chances of visa approval.

Right to control

A presence on the payroll is not enough to show your foreign worker is an employee. The standard most important to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) is the “right to control.” This refers to the employer’s influence in the means and manner of the work performed by the employee.

While there is no single decisive element, some factors USCIS will consider include:

  • Employee benefits provided
  • The right to hire, fire and pay the worker
  • Tools and instruments provided to help the worker perform employment duties
  • The existence and frequency of performance evaluations
  • Whether the end product is linked to the worker or the company
  • A company’s control on the schedule and hours of the worker
  • Whether the worker reports to a manager or supervisor

These standards eliminate independent contractors and workers hired through third-party placement agencies from H-1B visa consideration. If a worker invoices for work separately, uses his or her own computer or other tools and sets work hours independent from a company’s preferences, that worker is unlikely to receive H-1B worker status because there is not enough “control” by the employer.

However, a worker who performs duties off-site is not automatically disqualified. If there is a system where the worker checks in and reports progress, there is still the possibility of an employer-employee relationship.

Needed documentation

For this determination to work in your favor, you need good documentation. Examples that work well in the application process include:

  • Job descriptions that describe duties, hours, and expectations in detail
  • Signed employment agreements that outline the details in the job description
  • Letter with an offer of employment, including salary and benefits
  • Any agreements that control off-site work or an authorized third-party workplace
  • Written performance review processes
  • Organizational charts showing the identity of the worker’s supervisor

If you are initially granted a H-1B visa for an employee, you will need to maintain these records if you plan on extending it. Also, keep payroll summaries and time sheets that show that you continue to influence pay and hours.

Securing H-1B visas can be challenging, and you will likely benefit from legal assistance. Contact the experienced and highly skilled Pennsylvania immigration attorneys at Baurkot & Baurkot, who have knowledge of non-immigrant visa processes, to set up a consultation regarding your application and any questions you may have.

ETA Form 9089 and Its Role in the Hiring of Foreign Workers

If you wish to live and work in the United States, one of the easiest ways to make that happen is through employer sponsorship. This starts with ETA Form 9089. Your employer will need to fill this out and submit it before you can secure your work visa. Here is a general overview of how these matters are handled. 

What is Form 9089?

ETA Form 9089 is the Application for Permanent Employment Certification, which is available through the U.S. Department of Labor. It is always completed and filed by the employer seeking to employ the foreign worker.

Once completed, the form contains basic information like the name of the worker, his or her address, the employer’s contact information and other details. It also includes details that could derail the visa approval. Sections F, G, H and I discuss wages and recruitment. There is also Section J, which shows how the foreign worker is qualified for the position. 

Thoroughness and caution required

If there is a place where an employer can make a big mistake, it is in the wage and recruitment section. Basically, employers cannot bring in a foreign worker if U.S. workers are left unconsidered or as a means to forgo market wages. The information in Sections F, G, H and I in Form 9089 help assess that situation.

That is why accuracy on the form is of the utmost importance. Employers need to keep records of recruitments and double check dates and facts on the form. If you are an employee waiting for authorization, make sure you keep any documentation in your control, as well, in case it comes in handy if your employer must appeal.

Also, employers are advised to research prevailing wages in their field very thoroughly, since misrepresenting it can result in a denial. If there is a dispute over the wage information, that research will be instrumental in settling it and allowing the visa process to move forward.

It can take several months before an employer hears back on the application, and if it is denied, there is an appeal process. This can take several more months before the visa is approved and the foreign worker can start in his or her new position.

If you are an employer looking to hire a foreign professional or an employee awaiting a resolution, a knowledgeable Pennsylvania corporate immigration attorney at Baurkot & Baurkot can assist you with matters related to Form 9089. Contact us today for a consultation.

Employment-Based Immigration Depends on Your Job

If you are looking to immigrate to the United States for employment purposes, some professions are preferred over others. Often called employment-based preferences, these are the positions for which an employment visa is most likely to get approved. Here is an overview of this hierarchy and how it can work for you.

Priority workers always come first

The U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Consular Affairs releases a visa bulletin each month. In this document, it explains the percentages of visa categories that are accepted and their order of priority. It also reviews educational requirements and procedural updates.

Content in the bulletin includes employment-based preferences. It starts by discussing the E1 visa, which is always at the top of the list. These workers include people with “extraordinary ability” in the arts, education, sciences, business or athletics. Professional athletes fall under this visa, as do multinational executives and well-known researchers and professors of the Nobel Prize variety. This type of visa, if you qualify, is easy to secure and often immediate.

The second priority, the E2 visa, is for skilled workers, professionals and other workers. This may include very well-educated people who do not quite meet the level of the E1. If you have an advanced degree and show gifted abilities, you can likely qualify for this visa and can secure it quickly.

Skilled workers and professionals who fall under the third preference category, E3, have less experience than the E2 and must secure employer sponsorship. Preferences below this category still have a good chance of being granted a visa, but additional steps including forms and sponsorship will also apply.

Employer sponsorship

The clients in these employment-preference visas are frequently employers. Preference visas are often pursued in order to secure the most gifted workers in the world. In professional sports, for example, there is frequently a desire to get a new athlete training with a team as soon as possible, so teams and leagues also pursue legal assistance in immigration matters to make this an easier transition while also following immigration law.

Individuals are also beneficiaries. If you are working for a smaller company that does not have the resources to handle your immigration matters, visiting an attorney with your employment offer and proof of sponsorship is frequently the quickest way to get you into the United States and working sooner.

When you are looking at employment in the United States, speaking with an experienced Pennsylvania corporate immigration attorney will help you get started on the process of securing the correct visa. We work for both companies and individuals to make employment preferences work for you. Contact Baurkot & Baurkot today to get started with this process.

Foreign Entrepreneurs Enjoy Numerous Immigration Options

Foreign entrepreneurs who are considering starting or moving their business within U.S. borders should rest assured that it is not an impossible process. In fact, the U.S. government has created a variety of time-tested pathways that allow foreign entrepreneurs to bring their trade overseas. Whether you are considering permanent or temporary immigration to the United States, it’s important to know the options the government provides.

Immigrant Visas

Immigrant visas for business professionals are provided to those who meet the qualifications for U.S. residency and have a particular set of skills or educational accomplishments. The EB-1 Extraordinary Ability visa allows for those who have demonstrated high potential in the arts, sciences, education, business or athletics to immigrate to the United States. That being said, this visa—like most immigrant visas for foreign entrepreneurs—is only afforded to those who can prove they will continue working in their field once living in the United States.

Other types of immigrant visas include the EB-2 Advanced Degree Professional visa—which is for individuals with the equivalent of advanced U.S. degrees or years of workplace experience—a visa for those with exceptional abilities within their field of work and a visa for those with a job offer from a U.S. employer who have demonstrated either exceptional abilities in their field or have an advanced degree.

Nonimmigrant Visas

If you are looking for temporary residency within the United States, there are several available options that may apply to your situation. In contrast to immigrant visas, nonimmigrant visas typically have strict time frames in which you must conduct your business. These time frames are dependent upon the type of visa you apply for and receive as well as the extent of your business affairs.

While there are variety of nonimmigrant visas that you may apply for, one type of visa within this category is the B-1 Business Visitor visa, which grants business visitors the right to set up the details of their proposed business within the United States. This visa can be used to find office space, conduct meetings and more. Additionally, the F-1 Optional Practical Training visa allows students to work toward starting a business that is related to their studies. Nonimmigrant visas may also be available to those with specialty occupations, extraordinary skills or achievements in their field, valuable business investments or those who are being transferred from a company oversees.

If you are a foreign entrepreneur and are considering trying to obtain an immigrant or nonimmigrant visa to the United States, it’s important to speak with a legal professional who can ensure you’re on the right track. To learn more about how to conduct your business in the United States, consult with a knowledgeable Pennsylvania corporate immigration attorney at Baurkot & Baurkot today.