USCIS Enters the Digital Age

In an effort to modernize and systemize immigration policy, USCIS recently launched the USCIS Policy Manual Page. The Policy Manual page will be split into three phases: the first phase is information on USCIS Citizenship and Naturalization policies — following phases will encompass further updates to different areas of immigration law.

USCIS’s new Policy Manual will, at some point, take the place of the current Adjudicator’s Field Manual (AFM). The rejuvenated Policy Manual will digitally streamline most aspects of immigration policy, including policy updates, immigration forms, updated and extended table of contents, and URLs to INA and CFR sections. USCIS will also supply dates for when updates have occurred on the Policy Manual page, which can be found here.

USCIS is making progress towards e-filing and digitizing its data and adjudications. Last May, USCIS introduced its Electronic Immigration System (ELIS) program. The system was created to enable immigration benefit seekers and legal representatives to create an account to file for benefits, and extend visas, online. The program is now moving towards welcoming other visa processes.

Today, immigration law is like a piece of Swiss cheese: if the body of the cheese represents the law, the larger holes are filled in with regulations and the small holes with memos from USCIS Directors. This still leaves some situations unaddressed or ripe for litigation and denials.

The Takeaway

Currently, all the resources for naturalization, laws, regulations, memos and AFM, have been consolidated in the policy manual. We hope highly complex areas, such as H1B visa and L visa filings and adjudications can be consolidated in the policy manual, offering the filer the assurance that all the legal resources related to the filing have been exhausted. This will lend transparency to adjudications and certainty to the law. Dare I dream?

See you in my next blog.

Nalini S Mahadevan, JD, MBA
Immigration Attorney
Lowenbaum Partnership, LLC
St. Louis, Missouri

The information is not meant to create a client-attorney relationship. This blog is for informational purposes only, and is not a substitute for legal advice. Situations may differ based on the facts.

Tara Mahadevan

Copyright 2013. All rights reserved.

Post Footer automatically generated by Add Post Footer Plugin for wordpress.

Social Share Toolbar
Facebooktwittergoogle_pluslinkedinrssyoutubeby feather

Google+

My daughter sent me an invitation to Google+. At first glance it seems to be a mixture of Facebook and LinkedIn, and you can post updates like twitter. I added photos from Picasa and made them public. I separated my friends into acquaintances and close friends with whom I hang out with every weekend. I also separated other ‘friend’ groups, and my family to ‘near and dear’ and extended family.  resumably I can send targeted comments and have different sharing settings.

Google+ says it is a work in progress and that like gmail, it is being rolled out slowly. I was able to upload my pictures from Picasa and photos from my album very easily. But I was a little wary of sharing my Picasa photos or making them public.

Get this: I can video conference with 10 friends on Google+. It is called ‘Hangout’. All my google services are being loosely connected together in one spot. I discovered one of my friends had 42 friends already and her friends became my friends! No asking permission.

I also added topics of interest (Sparks) to my profile. Easy! Just searched and voila, added! Now I get streams of info on topics such as gardening, immigration law and news.

The groups called circles means more privacy than Facebook, where everything I say is sent to my friends and friends of friends. So I would manage the circles very carefully. I never forget that the internet is forever.

See you in my next blog.

Nalini S Mahadevan, JD, MBA

Attorney at Law

www.lawyersyoucantalkto.com

Copyright 2011. All rights reserved.

Post Footer automatically generated by Add Post Footer Plugin for wordpress.

Social Share Toolbar
Facebooktwittergoogle_pluslinkedinrssyoutubeby feather

Enjoying Your Life

I guess you could ask me why I am writing about enjoying life rather than about some legal topic that I usually blog about. I have realized that I need to enjoy my life in order to enjoy coming to work everyday and dealing with clients’ problems. So how do I enjoy life?  Friends online and in real life; exercise and the outdoors. This weekend I went to Forest Park in St. Louis, Missouri. I rented a paddle boat, the kind you paddle with your feet. It is a lot harder than it looks! The day was beautiful, the fountains were spewing water everywhere, and the wind carried the spay with it! As I watched, four wedding parties came and went, took pictures with their friends, jumped in the air for an action shot. It took me about an hour and twenty dollars, but it was invigorating and renewing. Just the thing I needed to face Monday.

Fall colors at Creve Coeur Lake Park, Creve Coeur, Missouri

Forest Park Lake, St. Louis, Missouri

See you in my next post.

Nalini S Mahadevan, JD, MBA

Attorney at Law

www.lawyersyoucantalkto.com

Copyright 2010.  All rights reserved.

Post Footer automatically generated by Add Post Footer Plugin for wordpress.

Social Share Toolbar
Facebooktwittergoogle_pluslinkedinrssyoutubeby feather

Hiring Employees

So now you are in business and of course can’t do everything yourself. You want to hire someone, but are not sure that you need a full-time or part-time person. First step, decide the list of tasks to be accomplished by the new employee, and the amount of training time you need to bring the new employee up to speed. After all, you want someone to complete the job the way you do business. As a small business owner, I have found that CraigsList is a good place to start. I needed an attorney to research a memorandum of law and another to assist me in completing applications and filings to court and immigration. To reduce the training time and learning curve, I decided to look for 3rd year law students. One I found on CraigsList; the other I found the old fashioned way, referred by a friend. From past experience, I have found that candidates needed some legal training to accomplish the tasks that I needed to delegate. Some may not agree with me, but in my opinion, as a lawyer, there is no correlation between class rankings and the ability and smarts to do the job. Having employed both lawyers and non-lawyers, I have found that the ability to problem solve and interact with clients and staff is key. Organizational skills, follow through on tasks and ownership of the tasks, are all essential traits. So back to the paperwork to hire a new employee.

Start by filling the W-4 for state and federal. State W-4 forms are found on the State Department of Revenue website; federal W-4 forms are found at http://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/fw4.pdf. The purpose is to help you as the employer withhold the correct income tax from your employee‘s paycheck. I am an immigration attorney, so I always think of non-citizens; if you employ a non-resident alien, then use Supplemental Form W-4 Instructions for Nonresident Aliens, before completing the W-4. If you are a federal contractor or a state contractor, you may be required to maintain Forms I-9 for your employees. All states do not mandate Forms I-9.

See you in my next post.

Nalini S Mahadevan, JD, MBA

Attorney at Law

www.lawyersyoucantalkto.com

Copyright 2010.  All rights reserved.

Post Footer automatically generated by Add Post Footer Plugin for wordpress.

Social Share Toolbar
Facebooktwittergoogle_pluslinkedinrssyoutubeby feather

My website is alive!

Well after writing about a million words and editing and even more editing, adding ftp access, tailoring my google calendar to show only busy times and not my entire schedule (disaster!), my website is finally online, albeit in beta mode. This mode allows the techies to fix any glitches and glaring errors, while still being live on the internet. I sent the url to a few dozen friends, not expecting them to actually read my site, (after all what are family and friends for except to agree with yours truly?) but 3 of them did and pointed out the single mistake on my site!  Very observant.

Go to http://www.lawyersyoucantalkto.com–my website has 12 pages and lots of details of my practice areas. I firmly believe that an informed consumer is a good client. If your potential client knows what you do, and gleans some understanding and knowledge of your product, they are more willing to sign on the bottom line. A website should also showcase your expertise and areas of interest. The idea is to promote your website on page rankings, called SEO, search engine optimization. A rather complex way in which visitors find your website on google, yahoo, ask.com, etc. I am on Facebook, Twitter and of course this blog (FTB, for short). I have linked my FTB to my website and this blog to my Linkedin page. My next project is my Facebook page. I haven’t done much to it. Wish me luck!

See you in my next post.

Nalini S Mahadevan, JD, MBA

Attorney at Law

www.lawyersyoucantalkto.com

Copyright 2010.  All rights reserved.

Post Footer automatically generated by Add Post Footer Plugin for wordpress.

Social Share Toolbar
Facebooktwittergoogle_pluslinkedinrssyoutubeby feather

Creating Your Website

This time my post is going to be short and sweet. It is evident that attention spans are brief these days! 

I hired an internet marketer to develop and publish my site. It was supposed to be up today, but of course I did not know that the ‘ftp’ devils were lurking! If your designer does not have ‘ftp’ access to your site, they cannot upload the beautiful pages the designer and internet marketer have created for you. I use Yahoo! as my domain host. Go to small business site on Yahoo!, click on ‘Business Control Panel’, choose ‘web hosting control panel’, then ‘password’ tab; create a new user for the web designer to upload the pages she has created for your website and then voila!!! Your pages are published to your domain. I thought I was going to practice law, but along the way I learned to be a web techie, an internet surfer and all around geek.

See you in my next post.

Nalini S Mahadevan, JD, MBA

Attorney at Law

www.lawyersyoucantalkto.com

Copyright 2010.  All rights reserved.

Post Footer automatically generated by Add Post Footer Plugin for wordpress.

Social Share Toolbar
Facebooktwittergoogle_pluslinkedinrssyoutubeby feather