2008.04.24 09:48

Immigration: A Special Road to Permanent Residency in the US

Special immigration options exist for highly qualified scientists. I thought this track was almost impossible, but seems like there more people aiming for it than I expected. I figured it's something worth looking into.

Science Magazine ran some articles on it a few years ago.

Overview.
Click here

These three articles cover more on each category.
http://sciencecareers.sciencemag.org/career_development/previous_issues/articles/1190/extraordinary_aliens
http://sciencecareers.sciencemag.org/career_development/previous_issues/articles/1470/premium_imports
http://sciencecareers.sciencemag.org/career_development/previous_issues/articles/1400/flag_waivers

The current USCIS (formerly INS) page has slightly different categorization. Seems like EB-1 and EB-2 include what sceince magazine refers to.

Click here
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2008.04.09 10:05

Immigration: Change in OPT rule and H-1B

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security announced an interim rule change in F-1 optional practical training (OPT). There are two main changes.

1. Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) majors, with job offer from companies meeting the criterion, can stay in the US and work for 29 months, 17 months more than the previous 12 month limit.

2. Students may not accrue an aggregate of more than 90 days of unemployment during any post-completion OPT carried out under the initial post-completion OPT authorization. Previously, students could stay in the US for 12 months of OPT as long as they could prove that they are seeking jobs in the US.

Details:
http://www.bu.edu/isso/news/2008/OPT29MonthRule.html
http://www.uscis.gov/files/article/OPT_FAQ_4apr08.pdf
http://www.dhs.gov/xnews/releases/pr_1207334008610.shtm
http://www.dhs.gov/xlibrary/assets/press_opt_ifr.pdf

News articles:
http://www.dailyprincetonian.com/2008/04/09/20802/
http://www.news.com/8301-10784_3-9912959-7.html
http://www.infoworld.com/article/08/04/08/DHS-to-provide-backdoor-increase-to-H-1B-visas_1.html

This seems to be a response to the current H-1B situation. The additional quota for 20,000 work visas for immigrants with a US advanced degree has also been filled for H-1B visas for Oct. 2008.

http://www.nytimes.com/2008/04/09/us/09brfs-QUOTALIMITFO_BRF.htm
http://blogs.wsj.com/washwire/2008/04/08/us-shuts-window-for-h1b-applications/
http://www.reuters.com/article/domesticNews/idUSN0838276620080408?pageNumber=1&virtualBrandChannel=0

Under the interim OPT rule, F-1 student can get two chances to apply for H-1B. This change will remove some pressure from students who are graduating this year and companies that won't get H-1B approvals for their new employees. But a change in H-1B process, or even in Green Card process will be more desirable.
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