Immigration law is complex and requires a skilled legal hand for a successful outcome. Saluja Law Offices brings an incredible amount of experience to the immigration law table. Past clients have benefitted from Paul Saluja’s expertise in preparing H-1B, O-1, L-1, and EB-5 petitions. In addition, Mr. Saluja handles other immigration law matters such as assisting with worksite compliance and removal proceedings. Saluja Law Offices can also help West Virginia residents with family-based immigration and naturalization services.
Mr. Saluja is fluent in Punjabi and has a conversational command of Hindi as well.
Comprehensive Immigration Services
At Saluja Law Offices, we offer a wide range of immigration law services, with primary emphasis on the following:
Worksite Compliance – Beginning in 2009, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) instituted new regulations for worksite immigration-related enforcement. The guidelines mandate that DHS will use all available administrative and civil tools at their disposal to deter and penalize illegal employment. According to U.S. statistics, there are over eight-million unauthorized workers in the U.S. labor force. With the government increasing its focus on the enforcement of immigration laws, it is extremely important that employers understand relevant immigration laws, as well as how to navigate the complicated legal landscape that is immigration.
The I-9 form is used to prove that individuals are eligible to work in the United States. Employers must have a completed form for every employee (citizen and non-citizen) within three days of the hire. The employee also has to produce documentation that proves he or she is eligible and the employer has to certify the employee presented those documents. At Saluja Law Offices, we understand the forms, what documentation is acceptable and how to make sure you have what you need to possible criminal penalties and civil fines. We can also guide you through the E-Verify system to verify your employee’s eligibility. E-Verify is administered by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, USCIS, Verification Division, and the Social Security Administration.
If you plan to hire a foreign national to work at your company, there are steps and processes you have to work through. There are several different employment visas that you can apply for, depending on the circumstances.
The following is taken directly from U.S. Department of Homeland Security and lists potential work visas. Saluja Law Offices knows each of these visa paths and can guide you through the process:
- EB-1 – This preference is reserved for persons of extraordinary ability in the sciences, arts, education, business, or athletics; outstanding professors or researchers; and multinational executives and managers. A labor certification is not required for this category.
- EB-2 – This preference is reserved for persons who are members of the professions holding advanced degrees or for persons with exceptional ability in the arts, sciences, or business. A labor certification is required for this category unless an applicant obtains a National Interest Waiver (NIW).
- EB-3 – This preference is reserved for professionals, skilled workers, and other workers. A labor certification is required for this category.
- EB-4 – This preference is reserved for “special immigrants,” which includes certain religious workers, employees of U.S. foreign service posts, retired employees of international organizations, alien minors who are wards of courts in the United States, and other classes of aliens. A labor certification is not required for this category.
- EB-5 – This preference is reserved for business investors who invest $1 million or $500,000 (if the investment is made in a targeted employment area) in a new commercial enterprise that employs at least 10 full-time U.S. workers. A labor certification is not required for this category.
Family Based Immigration
There are two primary categories of family based immigration, including Immediate Relative Immigrant Visas and Family Preference Immigrant Visas. A Family Based Immigration Visa may be the most advantageous, depending on the individual’s situation, as each category has various requirements and stipulations. This area of immigration law is complex, but Saluja Law Offices can help you navigate U.S. regulations.
I-130 Petition – The I-130 Petition is one of the most frequently used forms by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). The I-130, or “Petition for Alien Relative,” allows a permanent U.S. resident or citizen to establish a family relationship with someone who is not a current U.S. citizen. Additionally, this person can indicate their desire to assist the non-citizen in obtaining U.S. citizenship. The action of filing an I-130 petition requires sending the completed form to a facility for processing, and cannot be submitted directly to an immigration office. Due to the complexities of this process, it is often advisable to obtain the aid of an immigration attorney who can help in completing documentation and monitoring the progression through various stages. One final important note is that an approved I-130 petition does not provide an immigrant with the right to come to the U.S. or remain in the U.S. by itself.
An “immediate relative” for immigration purposes is defined as the following:
- Spouses of United States Citizens;
- Children (Unmarried and under 21) of U.S. citizens;
- Parents of U.S. citizens (The Petitioning Citizen must be 21 or older)
There are always visas available for immediate relatives of US citizens. They will not be placed on a wait list.
US citizens and permanent residents can also apply for visas for other family members. These visas are given out based on the annual limits set by the Department of Homeland Security and are based on the following preferences:
- First Preference: Unmarried, adult sons and daughters of U.S. Citizens (adult means 21 or older);
- Second Preference(2A): Spouses of green card holders, unmarried children (under 21) of permanent residents;
- Second Preference (2B): Unmarried adult sons and daughters of permanent residents;
- Third Preference: Married sons and daughters (any age) of U.S. Citizens;
- Fourth Preference: Brothers and sisters of adult U.S. Citizens.
For people who came to the United States illegally, but are working, there are options to defer deportation or legal proceedings and to work legally while you work with the Department of Homeland Security to work out your status. There are deferred actions for children who came to the US and for parents of US citizens who came here illegally. Saluja Law Offices is here to help you navigate these complex petitions while we work on permanent status.
Saluja Law Offices are also prepared to represent immigration clients at all removal proceedings brought by the Department of Homeland Security, including:
- Court Representation
- Bond Hearings
- Analysis of Criminal Activity
- Deportation Defense
- Voluntary Departure
- Cancellation of Removal for Legal Permanent Residents;
- Cancellation of Removal and Adjustment of Status for nonpermanent residents
- Adjustment of Status
- Prosecutorial Discretion
- Immigration Appeals
There are a number of short-term visas available for specific purposes when visiting the United States. The following is a list from the Department of Homeland Security:
- E-1 Treaty Trader and Treaty Investor – The E-1 non-immigrant classification allows a national of a treaty country (a country with which the United States maintains a treaty of commerce and navigation) to be admitted to the United States solely to engage in international trade on his or her own behalf. Certain employees of such a person or of a qualifying organization may also be eligible for this classification.
- F-1 Student Visas
- H-1B Specialty Worker – This visa category applies to people who wish to perform services in a specialty occupation. The job must meet one of the following criteria to qualify as a specialty occupation:
- Bachelor’s or higher degree or its equivalent is normally the minimum entry requirement for the position;
- The degree requirement for the job is common to the industry or the job is so complex or unique that it can be performed only by an individual with a degree;
- The employer normally requires a degree or its equivalent for the position; and
- The nature of the specific duties is so specialized and complex that the knowledge required to perform the duties is usually associated with the attainment of a bachelor’s or higher degree.
To qualify to accept a job offer in a specialty occupation you must meet one of the following criteria:
- Have completed a U.S. bachelor’s or higher degree required by the specific specialty occupation from an accredited college or university
- Hold a foreign degree that is the equivalent to a U.S. bachelor’s or higher degree in the specialty occupation
- Hold an unrestricted state license, registration, or certification which authorizes you to fully practice the specialty occupation and be engaged in that specialty in the state of intended employment
- Have education, training, or progressively responsible experience in the specialty that is equivalent to the completion of such a degree, and have recognition of expertise in the specialty through progressively responsible positions directly related to the specialty.
- H-2A – The H-2A program allows U.S. employers or U.S. agents who meet specific regulatory requirements to bring foreign nationals to the United States to fill temporary agricultural jobs. To Qualify for an H-2A non-immigrant visa classification, the petitioner must:
- Offer a job that is of a temporary or seasonal nature.
- Demonstrate that there are not enough U.S. workers who are able, willing, qualified, and available to do the temporary work.
- Show that employing H-2A workers will not adversely affect the wages and working conditions of similarly employed U.S. workers.
- Generally, submit a single valid temporary labor certification from the U.S. Department of Labor with the H-2A petition.
- H-2B – The H-2B program allows U.S. employers or U.S. agents who meet specific regulatory requirements to bring foreign nationals to the United States to fill temporary nonagricultural jobs. To qualify for an H-2B nonimmigrant classification, the petitioner must establish:
- There are not enough U.S. workers who are able, willing, qualified, and available to do the temporary work.
- Employing H-2B workers will not adversely affect the wages and working conditions of similarly employed U.S. workers.
- Its need for the prospective worker’s services or labor is temporary, regardless of whether the underlying job can be described as temporary. The employer’s need is considered temporary if it is a(n):
- One-time occurrence – A petitioner claiming a one-time occurrence must show that it has: An employment situation that is otherwise permanent, but a temporary event of short duration has created the need for a temporary worker and Not employed workers to perform the service or labor in the past, and will not need workers to perform the services or labor in the future; OR
- Seasonal need – A petitioner claiming a seasonal need must show that the service or labor for which it seeks workers is An employment situation that is otherwise permanent, but a temporary event of short duration has created the need for a temporary worker.
- Not employed workers to perform the service or labor in the past, and will not need workers to perform the services or labor in the future; OR
- Peakload need – A petitioner claiming a peakload need must show that it regularly employs permanent workers to perform the services or labor at the place of employment, needs to temporarily supplement its permanent staff at the place of employment due to a seasonal or short-term demand; and the temporary additions to staff will not become part of the employer’s regular operation. OR
- Intermittent need – A petitioner claiming an intermittent need must show that it has not employed permanent or full-time workers to perform the services or labor; and occasionally or intermittently needs temporary workers to perform services or labor for short periods.
- J-1 Exchange Visitor is authorized for those who intend to participate in an approved program for the purpose of teaching, instructing or lecturing, studying, observing, conducting research, consulting, demonstrating special skills, receiving training, or to receive graduate medical education or training. In carrying out the responsibilities of the Exchange Visitor Program, the Department of State designates public and private entities to act as exchange sponsors. J-1 nonimmigrants are therefore sponsored by an exchange program that is designated as such by the U.S. Department of State. These programs are designed to promote the interchange or persons, knowledge, and skills, in the fields of education, arts, and science.
- J-1 Waiver – The Conrad 30 Waiver program allows J-1 medical doctors to apply for a waiver for the 2-year residence requirement upon completion of the J-1 exchange visitor program. The J-1 medical doctor must:
- Agree to be employed full-time in H-1B nonimmigrant status at a health care facility located in an area designated by U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) as a Health Professional Shortage Area (HPSA), Medically Underserved Area (MUA), or Medically Underserved Population (MUP);
- Obtain a contract from the health care facility located in an area designated by HHS as a HPSA, MUA, or MUP;
- Obtain a “no objection” letter from his or her home country if the home government funded his or her exchange program; and
- Agree to begin employment at the health care facility within 90 days of receipt of the waiver, not the date his or her J-1 visa expires.
- L-1(a) Intra-Company Transferees
- The L-1A nonimmigrant classification enables a U.S. employer to transfer an executive or manager from one of its affiliated foreign offices to one of its offices in the United States. This classification also enables a foreign company which does not yet have an affiliated U.S. office to send an executive or manager to the United States with the purpose of establishing one.
- L-1(b) Intra-Company Transferees
- The L-1B nonimmigrant classification enables a U.S. employer to transfer a professional employee with specialized knowledge relating to the organization’s interests from one of its affiliated foreign offices to one of its offices in the United States. This classification also enables a foreign company which does not yet have an affiliated U.S. office to send a specialized knowledge employee to the United States to help establish one.
- O-1 Extraordinary Ability
The O-1 nonimmigrant visa is for the individual who possesses extraordinary ability in the sciences, arts, education, business, or athletics, or who has a demonstrated record of extraordinary achievement in the motion picture or television industry and has been recognized nationally or internationally for those achievements. The O nonimmigrant classification is commonly referred to as:
- O-1A: individuals with an extraordinary ability in the sciences, education, business, or athletics (not including the arts, motion pictures or television industry);
- O-1B: individuals with an extraordinary ability in the arts or extraordinary achievement in motion picture or television industry;
- O-2: individuals who will accompany an O-1, artist or athlete, to assist in a specific event or performance. For an O-1A, the O-2’s assistance must be an “integral part” of the O-1A’s activity. For an O-1B, the O-2’s assistance must be “essential” to the completion of the O-1B’s production. The O-2 worker has critical skills and experience with the O-1 that cannot be readily performed by a U.S. worker and which are essential to the successful performance of the O-1
- O-3: individuals who are the spouse or children of O-1’s and O-2’s
- R-1 Religious Workers
An R-1 is a foreign national who is coming to the United States temporarily to be employed as a minister or in another religious vocation or occupation at least part time (average of at least 20 hours per week) by:
- A non-profit religious organization in the United States;
- A religious organization that is authorized by a group tax exemption holder to use its group tax exemption; or
- A non-profit religious organization which is affiliated with a religious denomination in the United States.
This visa program is intended for religious workers whose lives are dedicated to religious practices and functions, as distinguished from secular members of the religion. To qualify, the foreign national must have been a member of a religious denomination having a bona fide non-profit religious organization in the United States for at least two years immediately before the filing of the petition.