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Welcome to iStudentCity's Immigration Updates

The laws affecting your ability to live and work in the U.S. - or to settle here permanently - are constantly changing. The INS, the U.S. Congress, the President... there are a lot of players to keep track of, and the rulebook is thick and confusing. Here, we make it simple, with updated information every time something important happens in key areas like the green card and the H1-B visa program. Naturally, you should always consult an expert for more information on how any of this news may affect you.

H-1B FAQ from U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services

Extension of Six-Year H1-B Limit
Under certain circumstances, H1-B status may be extended past six years. One case in which this might apply is this: if your I-140 or I-485 has been pending for at least a year, you can petition for an H1-B extension which will be granted for one year at a time until your I-140 or I-485 application is settled.

H1-B Workers Switch Jobs More Easily
Furthermore, those who are already on H1-B status may start working for new employers (and getting paid for it) immediately upon filing a new H1-B petition - and this applies retroactively. It is not necessary to wait for approval.

I-140 Workers Can Leave Sponsoring Employers
Employer-sponsored immigrants (on an I-140) have previously been forced to remain with their initial sponsoring employer until they are permanent residents. Now they may move to a new employer 180 days after they file their I-485 (application for adjustment of status). The new job must be similar to the inital sponsoring job.

Are You from China or India?
And have you been having trouble because you are from China or India? These two countries are always far over their quotas, and so many applicants from them have had to wait far too long for the chance to work in the U.S. Now, employment-based visas (like the EB-1) that are not used by workers from other countries may be re-assigned to Indian and Chinese applicants.

The Child Citizenship Act
Another recently-signed law of interest is the Child Citizenship Act of 2000, which makes it relatively simple to obtain citizenship for children who are permanent U.S. residents with at least one caretaker who is already a citizen, even if the child was born overseas. Other cases that may be made simpler include attempts to naturalize a child who is currently living abroad.

Immigration Aspects of Recent Extensions to the Violence Against Women Act
President Clinton signed a bill extending the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) into law this October. This is a wide-ranging and progressive bill which will have many beneficial effects. Note that this bill applies to men, women, and children equally. The aim of the bill is to protect and assist the many people (mostly women and children) who fall victim to slave trafficking each year - especially those smuggled into the U.S. for labor, adoption-for-profit, or prostitution. So far as immigration is concerned, here are some highlights.

A significant provision is the creation of the new T visa. Five thousand T visas will be available each year. To be eligible, applicants must demonstrate that they would suffer "extreme hardship" if returned to their home countries. T visa holders may also be able to apply for permanent residence.

Some victims of spousal or child abuse would be eligible to become permanent residents, but have difficulty because the person abusing them is the U.S. citizen who makes them eligible. Now, they may apply for citizenship without needing the cooperation of their abusers. It may be possible for some to apply even if they divorce their abusers and remarry. To apply, the form I-360 must be filed, supported by proof of relationship and proof of abuse. It is no longer, in such cases, to supply proof of "extreme hardship" if forced to leave the U.S. Several grounds for the inadmissability of of later I-485 (adjustment of status) applications will be waived.

Another new (nonimmigrant) visa has been created new - the U visa which is intended for those who have been the victims of various crimes and may be able to assist in the investigation of those or related crimes. The crimes in question involve cruelty and violence, and include domestic violence and slavery. The U visa includes work authorization and may be able to pursue permanent resident status, though this is not guaranteed.

iStudentCity Immigration Center News

Coming soon! H1-B Legal Service.
Applying for an H1-B? Get connected with the finest immigration lawyer in town. And you can take advantage of your iStudentCity membership to receive a discount on H1-B legal services.

Coming soon! Hard-Core Help with Immigration Issues.
Do you have an immigration issue that is beyond the scope of our Immigration pages? If so, don't worry! We've got you covered with a special iStudentCity feature: Ask the Legal Advisor.

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