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Taking chances

By J.G. Azarcon, Esq.
With the economic downturn worldwide, more people will likely take chances abroad looking for work. If you have relatives in the Philippines who are planning to gamble with their future in the U.S., they must fully understand the uncertainty of starting a new life in America. Even in the best of times, the immigration laws pose big hurdles to people’s dreams.
Tourists who entertain the idea of finding employment immediately face a dilemma. Employers require a valid work authorization from the Immigration Service. To obtain work authorization, the alien needs an employer to petition for an immigration status that allow employment. Many employers do not want to go through with the immigration process.
To be authorized to work, the alien must have either a permanent resident status or a holder of a non-immigrant visa that allows employment. A permanent resident status can be obtained either through a petition by a relative or an employer. Non-immigrant visas with work authorization are typically obtained through a petition by an employer.
A tourist who is single may adjust to permanent residence if he or she enters into a bonafide marriage to a U.S. citizen. Marriage to a permanent resident takes a much longer time to obtain a green card.
If the tourist is lucky enough to get a job offer in a foreign embassy or international organization like the U.N., World Bank or IMF before the expiration of his/her authorized stay, he can commence employment without even exiting the U.S. The employer will arrange for the change of status.
Private employment is complicated. Non-immigrant working visa, H-1 or H-2B takes time to process. H-1 is a visa for aliens who come to the US who work on a job than can only be performed by a baccalaureate degree holder. The immigration service accepts H-1 petitions on the first calendar day of April. H-2B is for temporary jobs that do not require college degrees and can typically be completed in one year. Because of quota limitations, the filing of a petition by an employer is not a guarantee for an approval by the Immigration Service.
Because the authorized stay for tourists are limited, it may be necessary for the tourist to go back home to avoid overstaying and wait for the result of the petition. If the petition is approved, he can re-enter the U.S. with a new visa that allows employment.
If the tourist decides to remain in the U.S. and overstay, he cannot benefit from the approved employers petition unless he exits the U.S. and submits for an interview at the U.S. Embassy in his home country. If he overstayed for more than six months, he will be barred from the U.S. for three years. If he overstays for at least one year, he will be barred from the U.S. for ten years.
So there you go. If your cousin, friend, brother or sisters want to come to the U.S. and explore possibilities, tell them not to quit their jobs or sell everything for an uncertain adventure.

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