AZTech, Integra Technologies, AndWill, and Wireclass Update VI: Operation Bad Apple.

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We have been able to review some of the government documents relating to the DHS investigation of these companies. Needless to say, the documents are eye-opening.  The government investigation into the OPT scandal is entitled Operation Bad Apple. But unfortunately, DHS considers not only the people behind AZTech, Integra, Wireclass and AndWill as the “bad apples,” but the F-1 students who were associated with them as well. Lest there be any doubt, the DHS documentation makes clear: these OPT sponsors were “shell companies”. These companies produced “fraudulent employment letters for F-1 students on OPT, STEM OPT, and CPT.” They used “virtual offices” and are not “legitimately operating businesses.”  In retrospect, we all know that. But the broad brush which DHS paints the students – as knowing participants in fraud – is alarming. There does not appear to be any gray area. Per DHS, the students did not work for these…

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Consular Refusals and Lawyers Who Do Not Provide Legal Support for Visa Interviews

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As is well-known, most employment and family cases involve a two-step process: 1) the submission of a petition to USCIS for approval; and 2) the completion of a visa interview at a US consulate or embassy outside the United States.  So why is it that many lawyers do not provide legal support for the visa interview? This issue has become more acute as consular officers have become more aggressive in questioning the bona fides of the underlying petition.  While they are not supposed to readjudicate the approval – substitute their opinion for USCIS’ – they can find “new, material” information to justify the referral of the petition back to USCIS for revocation.  This aggressive questioning has become more pronounced since the issuance of the President’s Executive Order to protect US workers. In light of the executive order, the Department of State updated its guidance to consular officers in adjudicating nonimmigrant…

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Immigrant Waivers – New Hope for the Refused?

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Previously, USCIS overseas offices had responsibility for reviewing I-601 immigrant waiver applications. This led to inconsistent adjudications among various overseas offices and extreme variations in processing times.  We first discussed the patent unfairness of this system on this blog back in November 2011.  To remedy these problems, in June 2012 USCIS centralized the processing of I-601 waivers at the Nebraska Service Center in the United States.  The impact can now be seen, and should give those who had been previously denied by a USCIS overseas office hope. As noted in our 2011 blog, the approval rates at certain USCIS overseas offices were dismal at best.  For example, in Accra, Ghana, which had jurisdiction and reviewed waiver applications from numerous countries in Africa, its approval rate in 2010 was 22%.  The Rome USCIS Office had an approval rate of 25%.  Moscow and Athens hovered around 40%.  Contrast that with the approval…

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Bait-and-Switch, USCIS-Style

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The below article by White & Associates was recently published on the Immigrant Lawyer’s Weekly website – http://discuss.ilw.com/content.php?2396-Article-Bait-and-Switch-USCIS-Style-by-Kenneth-White Bait-and-Switch, USCIS – Style1 by  Kenneth White Reader Quiz: What is the difference between these two regulations? Executive capacity means an assignment within an organization in which the employee primarily: ( 1 ) Directs the management of the organization or a major component or function of the organization; ( 2 ) Establishes the goals and policies of the organization, component, or function; ( 3 ) Exercises wide latitude in discretionary decision-making; and ( 4 ) Receives only general supervision or direction from higher level executives, the board of directors, or stockholders of the organization. Executive capacity means an assignment within an organization in which the employee primarily: (A) Directs the management of the organization or a major component or function of the organization; (B) Establishes the goals and policies of the organization, component, or function; (C) Exercises wide latitude in discretionary…

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