New Look to Green Cards & EAD Cards  

USCIS will start issuing redesigned cards with enhanced graphics to applicants.  The new cards will start being issued on May 1, 2017.

These redesigns use enhanced graphics and fraud-resistant security features to create cards that are highly secure and more tamper-resistant to prevent document tampering, counterfeiting and fraud; than the ones currently in use.

The Redesigned Cards

The new Green Cards and EADs will:

  • Display the individual’s photos on both sides;
  • Show a unique graphic image and color palette:
  • Green Cards will have an image of the Statue of Liberty and a predominately green palette;
  • EAD cards will have an image of a bald eagle and a predominately red palette;
  • Have embedded holographic images; and
  • No longer display the individual’s signature.

Also, Green Cards will no longer have an optical stripe on the back.

How To Tell If Your Card Is Valid

Some Green Cards and EADs issued after May 1, 2017, may still display the existing design format as USCIS will continue using existing card stock until current supplies are depleted. Both the existing and the new Green Cards and EADs will remain valid until the expiration date shown on the card.

Certain EADs held by individuals with Temporary Protected Status (TPS) and other designated categories have been automatically extended beyond the validity date on the card.

Employers, please note that both the older version and the new cards are acceptable for Form I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification, E-Verify, and Systematic Alien Verification for Entitlements (SAVE).

Some older Green Cards do not have an expiration date.  These older Green Cards without an expiration date remain valid.

Individuals who have Green Cards without an expiration date may want to consider applying for a replacement card bearing an expiration date. Obtaining the replacement card will reduce the likelihood of fraud or tampering if the card is ever lost or stolen.

Nalini S Mahadevan, JD, MBA ▪ nsm@mlolaw.us ▪ Office: 314.932.7111 & 314.402.2024

Disclaimer:  Not meant as legal advice! For information purposes only.

 

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SLU Law Entrepreneurs Forge Paths to Success — excerpt from Saint Louis Brief, vol. 3, issue 1

Click on either image to view in full size.

Click here for the full version of the SLU Law Magazine.

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Marketing My Business Part II

Today many businesses have multiple social media outlets: Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, blogs. I have read that to make my updates easier, I must link all my social media so that one post to one media is published to all the other media outlets.

For instance, this post will go out to my Facebook, Twitter and Linkedin profiles. Do I want this? Are all the audiences for these outlets the same?

This is a question I did not ask myself before last week.  This week I am talking to my class, law practice management about marketing business. I had a speaker to talk about social media ethics. Craig Moore spoke about using Facebook and Twitter to connect with clients.

This got me thinking: why speak about the same topics on all the social media feeds? So now my plan is to explain my thinking on social media platforms, such as Twitter and Facebook in greater depth on this blog.

I have decided to speak on different topics on Facebook and Twitter because the audiences are different. Linkedin is more corporate, while Facebook is a social website; Twitter is instantaneous.

Decide for yourself. Differentiate to stand out.

See you in my next blog.

Nalini S Mahadevan, JD, MBA

Attorney at Law

www.lawyersyoucantalkto.com

Copyright 2011. All rights reserved.

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Should lawyers have a business plan?

Today, I was interviewed by Helen Gunnarsson who writes for the Illinois Bar Journal. She asked a very good question–do lawyers need a business plan?

I asked my law practice management class at St. Louis University Law School to end the class with a presentation of a business plan for their future practice. I think business plans give a lawyer a base on which to practice; we are not in isolation anymore. There is tremendous competition for the same legal dollars from everywhere, within the city, state, multi-jurisdictional firms, large volume document processors and traditional law firms.

This competition demands that we deliver legal services for a lower price; even large corporate clients have become value conscious, which means that the little gal or guy better measure up and perform. So what does this signify for us, the little guys and gals? To measure up and deliver value measured legal services, we need to identify our target client and ethically market to that client.

Lawyers are not just business-people, they also have to practice and deliver within the bounds of the rules of ethics. Just because we find that our best client is usually at the emergency room in a hospital or in an ambulance, does not imply we can accost the prospect there to convert them into clients!

Having a strategic plan also requires that we must use social media and have a website, but market ourselves within the limits of our state licenses. I use my strategic plan to identify my market, define where the prospect is located and target my best marketing skills and media to that client. Hence my strategic plan must have a plan for using social media and my current clients. You need both because the law is not yet a commodity, although some parts of it are heading in that direction. I deliver quality services to my current clients who refer other clients to me.

I have a plan on how I use my Linkedin, Facebook and blog accounts. The audience and message on these media are highly focused and the fact that your marketing plan needs to match your audience.

See you in my next blog.

Nalini S Mahadevan, JD, MBA

Attorney at Law

www.lawyersyoucantalkto.com

Copyright 2011. All rights reserved.

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Entrepreneurs Can Use Immigrant Visas to Create US Jobs

Last year, USCIS suddenly decided that an H-1b could not be self-employed anymore, reversing years of policy. The White House has now reversed itself and is re-instating H-1bs for the self-employed, especially if they create jobs.

USCIS Director Alejandro Mayorkas today outlined a series of policy, operational, and outreach efforts to fuel the nation’s economy and stimulate investment by attracting foreign entrepreneurial talent of exceptional ability or who otherwise can create jobs, form startup companies, and invest capital in areas of high unemployment.

“The United States must continue to attract the best and brightest from around the world to invest their talents, skills, and ideas to grow our economy and create American jobs,” said Secretary Napolitano. “Today’s announcements will help our nation fully realize the potential of existing immigration laws.”

“Current immigration laws support foreign talent who will invest their capital, create new jobs for American workers, and dedicate their exceptional talent to the growth of our nation’s economy,” said Director Mayorkas. “USCIS is dedicated to ensuring that the potential of our immigration laws is fully realized, and the initiatives we announce today are an important step forward.”

These actions mark the six-month anniversary of Startup America, a White House-led initiative to reduce barriers and accelerate growth for America’s job-creating entrepreneurs. They have also been one key focus of the President’s Council on Jobs and Competitiveness, which has recommended taking action to help ensure that America can out-innovate and out-compete the world in a global economy.

USCIS has published a Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) document on its website clarifying that entrepreneurs may obtain an employment-based second preference (EB-2) immigrant visa if they satisfy the existing requirements, and also may qualify for a National Interest Waiver under the EB-2 immigrant visa category if they can demonstrate that their business endeavors will be in the interest of the United States. USCIS will complement these FAQs with internal training on the unique characteristics of entrepreneurial enterprises and startup companies and incorporate input from the upcoming stakeholder engagements detailed below.

The EB-2 visa classification includes foreign workers with advanced degrees and individuals of exceptional ability in the arts, sciences, or business. Generally, an EB-2 visa petition requires a job offer and a Department of Labor certification. These requirements can be waived under existing law if the petitioner demonstrates that approval of the EB-2 visa petition would be in the national interest of the United States.

In response to stakeholder feedback, USCIS has also updated existing FAQs to clarify that an H-1b beneficiary who is the sole owner of the petitioning company may establish a valid employeremployee relationship for the purposes of qualifying for an H-1b nonimmigrant visa – which is used by U.S. businesses to employ foreign workers in specialty occupations that require theoretical or technical expertise in specialized fields, such as science, engineering, and computer programming.

The EB-5 immigrant investor program is also being further enhanced by transforming the intake and review process. In May, USCIS proposed fundamental enhancements to streamline the EB-5 process which include: extending the availability of premium processing for certain EB-5 applications and petitions; implementing direct lines of communication between the applicants and USCIS; and providing applicants with the opportunity for an interview before a USCIS panel of experts to resolve outstanding issues in an application. After reviewing stakeholder feedback on the proposal, USCIS is developing a phased plan to roll out these enhancements and is poised to begin implementing the first of these enhancements within 30 days.

Created by Congress in 1990, the program stimulates the U.S. economy through capital investment and resulting job creation by immigrant investors. As of June 30, 2011, it is estimated that the program has resulted in more than $1.5 billion in capital investments and created at least 34,000 jobs.

USCIS has also announced the expansion of its Premium Processing Service to immigrant petitions for multinational executives and managers (often referred to as “E13”). The Premium Processing Service allows employers to expedite processing of their petitions, absent evidentiary deficiencies, fraud or national security concerns.

Finally, USCIS is launching a new series of engagement opportunities for entrepreneurs and startup companies. These opportunities will focus on soliciting input from stakeholders on how USCIS can address the unique circumstances of entrepreneurs, new businesses and startup companies through its policies and regulations in the employment-based arena. For detailed information on USCIS‘s public meetings, please visit www.uscis.gov/outreach.

See you in my next blog.

Nalini S Mahadevan, JD, MBA

Attorney at Law

www.lawyersyoucantalkto.com

Copyright 2011. All rights reserved.

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Startups File H1B Visas

1. Introduction
Filing H-1b applications for a startup company can be challenging, but it is also a very creative exercise. I have found filing defensively reduces the chances of an RFE (request for evidence) from USCIS, which sometimes can take as long as an original filing to complete and mail.

2. Difficulties Start-Up Face When Filing H-1Bs
New companies have a hard time proving their existence as an organization. Very often, when you start filing for a new company, they have never dealt with immigration issues in the past; there is a steep learning curve caused by a delayed awareness for the need for technical support workers. New companies have no idea of the complexity and time delays experienced at Department of Labor (DOL) and USCIS, so the first task of the attorney is to educate the company hierarchy. The company needs to appoint one person to disseminate information; that person should also be privy to sensitive investor and financial, as well as technical information, about the company. New companies often do not have hierarchy or an organization chart. These need to be created. Websites describing the company’s process, as well as demonstrating the requirements of the jobs that the company wants to fill, are also useful. If the company advertises on online job search engines detailing job requirements, training and experience are a definite plus.

3. Documentation and Evidentiary Support
Apart from the usual DOL documentation, the new start up has to demonstrate that they are an entity registered with the State and Federal government. As far as filing taxes, quarterly returns and employee annual and quarterly returns are also needed. While it is not necessary to disclose the names and social security numbers of employees, it adds to the case if at least initials of names and last 4 digits are disclosed, along with salary and title of position in a payroll summary. Documentary evidence to demonstrate complexity of the job to be filled can be established by advertisements on online job search engines, press releases, technical screens for potential candidates, as well as detailed job requirements with specific tasks. An organizational chart specifying the supervisor’s ability to hire and fire, which means a description of the supervisor’s job description is very key. Of the usual documentation of educational, experience and other visa related questions need to be answered.

4. Answering the Request for Evidence
My brief remains that properly documented, which means defensively, an initial application should not trigger an RFE. Our task remains to represent the employer petitioner, while making it easier for the adjudicating officer to make a decision to approve our application.

5. Whether or Not to Do Premium Processing
I have often heard that premium processing triggers an RFE. What I have also learnt is that if there is a document list that demonstrates ample, targeted evidence qualifying the employer, the beneficiary and that the job requirements adequately meet statutory needs, we are out of RFE territory. Then the only RFE would be a one liner, which can be quickly answered by sending a fax and shortening the wait time for the approval.

6. Conclusion
Defensively document your client’s application to prevent the issue of an RFE and obtain an approval in record time.

See you in my next blog.

Nalini S Mahadevan, JD, MBA

Attorney at Law

www.lawyersyoucantalkto.com

Copyright 2011. All rights reserved.

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