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Immigration US

40+ Facts About United States Employment Immigration Rules

The United States remains the dream working destination of many professionals from different parts of the world. If you have plans of coming to the US for employment reasons, here are important facts you should know:

  1. Under the 180-day portability rule, your approved I-140 may still remain valid if you change employers during an employment-based green card application process if your I-485 has been pending for at least 180 days. The portability provision enables some nonimmigrant workers to change to a different job without the risk of being “out of status.” (Source: USCIS)
  1. If you have a pending Form I-485 for Adjustment of Status application and you are working with an Employment Authorization Document (EAD), even if you are certain that your green card would be ready before your work permit expiration, to be on the safe side, it is advisable to still go ahead and apply for its renewal. (Source: USCIS)
  1. The 180-day rule under the AC21 Act is determined by the receipt date of your petition. The counting usually starts from the date your Form I-485 was received by the USCIS, and not the date when USCIS generated the receipt of notice. The receipt date refers to the date the application was received at the mailroom; NOT the date the application was mailed, and NOT the date the receipt of notice was issued. The portability provision enables some nonimmigrant workers to change to a different job without the risk of being “out of status.”
  1. One of the major requirements for porting (changing) from one employer to another during a green card application is to have the same or similar occupational classification. However, if the jobs are not exactly the same, your green card application may still be processed if the differences are minor.
  1. You may use an Employment Authorization Document (EAD) to request for change of employers under AC21 portability rule or let your employer file an H-1B extension on your behalf if you are an H-1B holder. 
  1. You can change jobs multiple times using AC21. For instance, you left Company A that filed your I-140 after your I-485 has been pending for at least 180 days and moved to Company B under the AC21 rule. After working with Company B for some time, you just realized it isn’t the best place for you. You are permitted to move on to Company C under the same rule.  The most important thing is that the job descriptions for each of those companies are the same or similar. 
  1. You may still apply for EB-2 National Interest Waiver even if you have a pending PERM labor certification application. In other words, if you have applied for other subcategories in the Employment-Based Second Preference (EB-2) or Employment-Based Third Preference (EB-3) and your PERM application is pending with Department of Labor (DOL). But thereafter, you decide to give the EB-2 National Interest Waiver (NIW) a try, you can go ahead and file the EB-2 NIW petition despite still having a pending PERM with DOL. 
  1. The Employment-Based First Preference (EB-1) green card has 3 subcategories, namely EB-1A for professionals with extraordinary achievements in their fields, EB-1B for outstanding researchers and professors, and EB-1C for executives and managers. The EB-1 is the most prestigious green card category that offers a wide range of benefits which include faster and flexible application process. This is because it does not require the PERM labor certification process, and also allows applicants who meet the eligibility criteria for EB-1A to sponsor their petitions without the need for a job offer from a U.S. employer. 
  1. To be eligible to act as a petitioning employer for Multinational for executive and manager (EB-1C) subcategory, the sponsor must be a multinational U.S. organization with a subsidiary, branch, or affiliate in a foreign country, and must have been operating a business in the U.S. for at least a year before filing a petition for the foreign employee. 
  1. If you are seeking a PERM-based employment green card, your green card priority date is the date the Department of Labor (DOL) received your labor certification application. 
  1. If you are seeking NIW (National Interest Waiver) or Employment-Based First Preference EB-1 green card, your green card is the date USCIS received your I-140 petition. 
  1. It is permitted for a petitioner to file multiple employment-based green card applications for the same person in different categories, such as (EB-1, EB-2, EB-3) at the same time. This can be with the same employer or with multiple employers. 
  1. In most cases, the priority date for EB-1 applicants remains current, meaning they won’t have to wait in the green card wait line before filing an adjustment of status. 
  1. The Employment-Based First Preference for Extraordinary Ability (EB-1A) green card has 10 eligibility criteria, and an applicant is expected to meet at least 3 out of the 10. 
  1. The Employment-Based First Preference for Outstanding Researchers and Professors (EB-1B) has 6 eligibility requirements, and applicants are expected to meet at least 2 to demonstrate they are an outstanding professor or researcher. 
  1. To qualify for Multinational Executive and Manager (EB-1C), the beneficiary must have worked as a manager or executive in a foreign branch of the U.S. affiliated company sponsoring the petition for at least 3 years leading to their application. 
  1. The H-1B was created in 1990 following the expansion of the 1965 Immigration and Nationality Act (INA). 
  1. U.S. employers are allowed to employ H-1B professionals to work in the U.S. when they cannot find qualified American workers for the job position. 
  1. An H-1B visa holder can only work for the employer that sponsored their visa or the visa will be revoked. In other words, if Employer A sponsored your H-1B visa petition, after receiving the visa, you cannot use it to work for employer B. If you get a job offer from Employer B, Employer B must file a fresh petition for you. 
  2. For an employer to obtain an H-1B visa for a foreign professional, the employer must file a Labor Condition Application (LCA), and submit Form I-129, Petition for Nonimmigrant Worker after the approval of the LCA. If the I-129 is approved, the foreign national will be issued an H-1B visa. 
  3. Establishment of employer-employee relationship is one of the most important aspects of the H-1B visa application. Employer-employee relationship indicates that there is enough proof that the employer will or has the ability to hire, pay, fire, and supervise the H-1B employee. In other words, the employer is in control of the work of the employee. 
  4. The annual H-1B visa quota is 85,000 in total. Out of the 85,0000, 65,000 are issued to foreign professionals with a bachelor’s degree or equivalent while the remaining 20,000 goes to applicants with an advanced degree. 
  5. Dependents (spouse and dependent children) of H-1B visa holders can obtain H-4 visa. An H-4 visa holder may apply for and get a work permit to allow them to work in the U.S. 
  6. You may upgrade or port from one green card category waiting line to another with a shorter waiting time. For example, moving from EB-2 to EB-1 green card queue. This can be possible if after staying in the EB-2 waiting line, you later acquire skills, education, and/or experience that meet the EB-1 requirements and get a new job position that meets the EB-1 requirements. In this case, your employer will only need to file a fresh Form I-140 petition along with the newly acquired supporting evidence, for EB-1 on your behalf. With that, you would be able to expedite your green card process so long the new category has a shorter waiting time. 
  7. To obtain an H-1B visa for their prospective foreign employees, employers must undergo an electronic registration process to register the employees. After the registration, the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will select the eligible candidates. After the selection, employers can then proceed to process the H-1B application for only the selected individuals. 
  8. If your H-1B employment is terminated by your employer, you may have a 60-day grace period to remain in the U.S. to find another employer who is willing to offer you a job and sponsor your visa application. If at the end of the grace period, you cannot find employment, you will have to leave the U.S. or risk being flagged for being out of status and unlawful presence. 
  9. The H-1B visa for a specialty occupation requires theoretical and practical expertise in different fields, such as I.T., finance, accounting, medicine, mathematics, and science, etc. The job offer must also meet one of the following requirements to qualify as a specialty occupation: The minimum entry requirement for the position is a Bachelor’s degree or higher degree or its equivalent. The required degree is so common in the industry, or the job is so unique that it can be done only by a degree holder. The employer normally requires at least a degree or its equivalent for the job position. The nature of the job tasks is so specialized that required expertise to carry them out is usually associated with the attainment of a minimum of bachelor’s degree 
  10. If your H-1B status expires and your employer doesn’t file an extension, you will have only 10 days to leave the United States, except you have another qualifying status that allows you to stay. As far as H-1B visa is concerned, one has to be working and earning wages from their employer in order to maintain lawful status. 
  11. The U.S. employers hiring H-1B workers are required by the Department of Labor (DOL) to provide evidence showing their ability and readiness to pay the prevailing wage or actual wage. This is because employers are not allowed to pay below a certain wage, depending on the industry, place of employment, and other related factors. 
  12. In some work visa applications, employers are required to pay their employees the prevailing wage. Prevailing wage, according to the Department of Labor, is the “he average salary paid to similarly employed employees in a specific job in the area of intended employment.” This may be determined by using the collective union contract, which contains wage rate applicable to that profession. In a job not covered by a union contract, the weighted average of salaries paid to other employees in similar employment in the geographic location can be used to determine the prevailing wage. 
  13. In some work visa applications, employers are required to pay their employees the “actual wage”. Actual Wage, according to the U.S. Department of Labor is the wage rate paid by an employer to those with qualifications and experience similar to the H-1B employee’s experience and qualifications for the specific job in question at the place of employment. 
  14. The H-1B petition can only be filed by your prospective employer. H-1B visa beneficiary cannot self-sponsor his or her own petition. However, there is an exception to this, whereby an H-1B petition is filed using a U.S. organization owned by the visa beneficiary. This, however, is usually subjected to much more scrutiny by the USCIS. 
  15. A visa cap is the annual numerical limitation indicating the number of visas that can be granted in a year under that particular category. The H-1B is one of the visas with this regulation. 
  16. The H-1B application process has a timeframe for employers to submit petitions on behalf of their prospective employees. The H-1B annual window opens every first working day in April and will remain open until either when 80,000 petitions have been collected by the USCIS or when 7 days have passed. Whichever one comes first out of the two will be the end of submission for that year. 
  17. H-1B transfer means moving from one employer to another. To be eligible for a transfer, you are required to be physically present in the U.S. Your new employer will need to submit an H-1B transfer petition to the USCIS. Once the new employer has submitted the petition and received a Notice of Action receipt (I-797C), you can start working on your new job. 
  1. The L-1 Intracompany Transferee Visa is an employment-based classification, which allows U.S-based organizations to transfer a foreign professional employees from related foreign offices to the U.S. For a foreign employee to qualify for this visa, they must have worked in the capacity of executive or manager for the foreign parent, branch, or subsidiary of the U.S. organization for at least one of the last three years. In most cases, an L-1 petition is filed for a single beneficiary. 
  1. The L-1 blanket visa program allows U.S.-based organizations to petition the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) to bring many foreign employees to the United States quickly and on short notice. It is a single visa petition that practically eliminates the need to file separate L-1 petitions for each of the qualified employees. Once the L-1 blanket visa petition is approved, each transferring employee may file an application for an L-1 visa directly at the U. S. embassy or consulate. 
  1. To qualify for L-1A for employees holding executive capacity, you must demonstrate that you have the ability to make decisions of wide latitude within the company without much supervision from a higher authority. In other words, your job position allows you to direct the affairs of the company or a component within the company. The L-1 Intracompany Transferee Visa is an employment-based classification, which allows U.S-based organizations to transfer a foreign professional employees from related foreign offices to the United States. 
  1. To qualify for L-1B for employees holding a managerial capacity, you will need to demonstrate that you are holding a position that affords you the ability to manage the organization by controlling and supervising the works of other professional employees in the organization, or a department, subdivision, function, or component of the company. The L-1 Intracompany Transferee Visa is an employment-based classification, which allows U.S-based organizations to transfer foreign professional employees from related foreign offices to the United States. 
  1. Every L-1 visa beneficiary is initial 3 years validity even when the validity for the L-1 blanket may expire before end date of the job in the U.S. If you enter on an L-1 blanket visa, and your visa is to expire while you are still in the United States, your organization (petitioner) will need to request for an extension of the L-1 blanket petition or file an individual L-1 petition to support your continued stay in the U.S.  The L-1 Intracompany Transferee Visa is an employment-based classification, which allows U.S-based organizations to transfer foreign professional employees from related foreign offices to the United States. 
  1. Employers are allowed to transfer their foreign employees from one of their organizations with L-1 blanket approval to another that also has L-1 blanket approval as long as  the employee will be carrying out the same job duties. If the job duties will be different, the employer will have to request a new approval from the USCIS by filing a new I-129s on behalf of the employee.  The L-1 Intracompany Transferee Visa is an employment-based visa, which allows U.S-based organizations to transfer foreign professional employees from related foreign offices to the United State 
  1. You can request renewal of your Employment Authorization Document (EAD) any time starting from 180 days before the expiration of the current one. You may file and complete your I-765 for Employment Authorization Document (EAD) renewal application online or download the application form and complete it by hand. 
  1. An Employment Authorization Document (EAD) is not issued on a permanent basis; you will need to renew it after a certain period of time. 
Categories
Immigration US

40+ Facts About United States Immigration Rules For Family Members

Do you have family in the US and you plan to join them? Or you’re a US citizen who wants to bring in your family members from outside the country? If yes, then you should check out these interesting facts about US family immigration rules.

  1. If you apply for a marriage-based green card from outside the U.S., you cannot use the concurrent filing, whether your spouse is a citizen or lawful permanent resident. The Form I-130 filed by your spouse must first receive approval before you can apply for an immigrant (permanent) visa at a U.S. embassy or consulate near to you. You can then travel to the U.S. after a successful visa application process. “Concurrent filing” means submitting both Form I-130 and Form I-485 petitions to USCIS at the same time. (Source: USCIS)
  2. If you live in the United States and your spouse sponsoring your green card application is a U.S. citizen, you may file both your I-130 and I-485 at the same time when applying for a marriage-based green card. (Source: USCIS)
  3. A United States citizen may file the K-1 visa for their foreign fiancé(e) to enter the U.S., get married, and possibly reside permanently in the U.S. after the wedding. If the petition is approved, the foreign fiancée(e) will travel to the U.S., get married to their U.S. citizen fiancé(e) within 90 days of arrival. After the wedding, the U.S. citizen may file a marriage-based green card petition on behalf of the foreign fiancé(e) who is now a married spouse. (Source: Travel.state.gov)
  4. When processing a U.S. marriage-based green card, if you had previously been married, you must provide proof showing that the previous marriage to your ex-spouse has been terminated by legal means. Examples of such proofs include divorce/annulment documents or death certificates. (Source: People’s Law Library)
  5. If you were married before becoming a permanent resident, and your spouse did not accompany you to the U.S., your spouse may be eligible for following-to-join benefits. Following-to-join is a process that helps you expedite the green card process for your spouse. You will NOT need to file a separate Form I-131 for your spouse. You will only need to notify the concerned U.S. consulate that you are now a permanent resident and would like to bring your spouse to the U.S. via following-to-join option. Its benefits lie in the fact that your spouse will bypass the I-130 process and will not have to wait for a visa number to become available. (Source: OIS)
  6. If you were a permanent resident when you filed a green card application for your spouse, but you have now acquired U.S. citizenship while the green card application for your spouse is still pending, you may upgrade the earlier-filed petition from F2 (family second preference) to immediate relative (I.R.) category to expedite the process. You can do this by sending proofs of your citizenship to the National Visa Center. In general, marriage-based green card filed under the I.R. category is processed much faster than F2 category. (Source: USCIS)
  7. After marrying a U.S. citizen or a permanent resident, you don’t have to wait for a particular period before you can apply for a green card. As soon as you become legally married, you can start your green card process, regardless of your location. (Source: USembassy.gov)
  8. If you are applying for a family-based green card, your priority date is the date USCIS received your I-130 petition. The date establishes your position on the green card waiting line. It determines how long you will have to wait before you can be issued a green card. (Source: Travel.state.gov)
  9. Merely living together will not qualify as marriage for immigration purposes. In other words, if you are to seek any immigration-related benefits on the basis of your marriage to a U.S. citizen or permanent resident, you must prove that a bona fide marriage exists and you meet the definition for a spouse in the context of the U.S. immigration law. According to U.S. Department of State, “a spouse is a legally wedded wife or husband. (Source: Travel.state.gov)
  10. If your marriage-based permanent residency status is conditional, you may still be eligible to remove conditions on your status after leaving your spouse, if you entered into the marriage in good faith and you or your child experienced extreme hardship or battery at the hands of your spouse. (Source: USCIS)
  11. As a green card petitioner, you must be at least 18 years of age and have a residence in the United States before you can be eligible to sign the Affidavit of Support Form. A green card petitioner is a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident seeking to sponsor a green card application for his or her foreign national relative. (Source: USA.gov)
  12. If you are a U.S. citizen and you have a pending I-130 filed on behalf of your spouse living in a foreign country, you may file the K-3 visa to bring your spouse to the U.S. in the interim. If the K-3 visa application is approved, your spouse will be able to travel down and join you in the U.S. while the I-130 is still pending. (Source: Travel.state.gov)
  13. If you are in a “common-law” marriage, you may be qualified for a marriage-based visa, depending on the position of the law in the country where the common-law marriage took place. Common-law marriage refers to non-ceremonial marriage, informal marriage, or marriage by repute and habit, in which a couple may be considered legally married, despite not having a formally registered, formalized union based on any civil or religious marriage dictates.  (Source: USCIS)
  14. Approval of the I-130 petition doesn’t make a beneficiary a lawful permanent resident; it only establishes that a qualifying relationship exists between a beneficiary and a petitioner. You are not a permanent resident until you have completed all the green card procedures and are granted permanent resident status by USCIS. (Source: USCIS)
  15. Anyone born in the United States or one of its territories is a citizen. Also, someone who is born to a U.S. citizen parent is a citizen. Caveat: Children born to diplomats and other recognized government officials from foreign countries won’t receive citizenship even if they were born on American soil. (Source: Travel.state.gov).
  16. If you had removed conditions on your and obtained a permanent resident card (sponsored by your divorced spouse) before a divorce happened, the divorce should not in any way affect your lawful permanent resident status, provided the marriage was entered into in good faith. (Source: USCIS)
  17. You may still be eligible to remove conditions on your conditional permanent resident status if your spouse is deceased, provided you entered into the marriage in good faith. (Source: USA.gov)
  18. If you enter the U.S. on a K-3 visa, you may stay in that status for up to 2 years or until I-130 has been approved and you can then apply for green cards. If after that period, USCIS has still not approved the I-130, then you are permitted to file an extension of the K-3 status. (Source: USCIS)
  19. You are permitted to work on a K-3 visa if you apply for and receive an employment authorization document (EAD) visa Form I-765. (Source: USCIS)
  20. In a polygamous marriage, only the first spouse may qualify as a spouse eligible for a marriage visa. For instance, if you have more than one spouse, you can only seek immigration-related benefits, such as a green card petition for and/or with the first spouse. (Source: Travel.state.gov)
  21. When petitioning for a family-based green card, the petitioner (U.S. citizen or permanent resident) is required to file Form I-864, Affidavit of Support to demonstrate they can support the beneficiary financially with a threshold of at least 125% of HHS poverty guidelines. (Source: USCIS)
  22. The main requirements for K-3 visa eligibility are: you are legally married to a U.S. citizen, you have a pending I-130 petition filed by your spouse on your behalf, and you are residing outside the U.S. (Source: Travel.state.gov)
  23. When petitioning for a K-1 visa, the U.S. citizen is required to file Form I-134 Affidavit of Support to demonstrate that they can support the fiancé(e) financially with a threshold of at 100% of the HHS Federal Poverty Guidelines. The K-1 visa is for U.S. citizens who wish to bring their foreign fiancé(e)s to the U.S. so they can get married after the arrival of the foreign fiancé(e). (Source: HHS)
  24. Petitioners of family-based green card applications must have a certain level of income to prove they are financially capable of supporting the beneficiary of the application. As a green card petitioner, if your income is below the required minimum, you may add the cash value of the assets belonging to your household or have a qualified joint sponsor may to help you meet the green card sponsorship income requirements. A joint sponsor is someone who has agreed to join the petitioner and is sharing some of the financial responsibilities required for the application. To qualify for a joint sponsor, the person must be a U.S. citizen, be at least 18 years old, be living in the U.S., and have an annual income of no less than 125% of the federal poverty level. (Source: USCIS)
  25. Petitioners of family-based green card applications must have a certain level of income to prove they are financially capable of supporting the beneficiary of the application. If you live in Hawaii or Alaska, where the cost of living is higher, the required minimum amount for green card sponsorship income requirements will be higher than other U.S. states. (Source: Travel.state.gov)
  26. If you received a marriage-based permanent residency when your marriage was less than 2 years old, your permanent resident status is “conditional.” A conditional green card means you have not been granted a full-fledged permanent residency, and your status is subject to review. It is like being under probation. You will have to apply to remove the conditions within 90 days leading to the expiration of the 2-year resident status. Conditions on a permanent resident status will be removed if the applicant can prove they have complied with all the regulations attached to their status during the 2-year period. (Source: USCIS)
  27. If a divorce occurs before the 2-year period of your conditional residence, the foreign-born spouse may file Form I-751 to apply for a “good faith marriage waiver.” Under the general requirements, applicants are to apply for the removal of conditions jointly with their spouse who sponsored their green card application. However, if there has been a divorce within the 2-year period, the applicant can process the removal of conditions alone by filing the waivers. If they can prove that they entered the marriage in good faith and not for immigration benefits, the conditions would be removed, and they would get their permanent resident card with 10-year validity and without conditions. (Source: USCIS)
  28. Some family-based green card categories are quota-based (meaning there is a specific number of visas that can be issued annually under that category. (Source: Travel.state.gov)
  29. Family First Preference green card (F1) for unmarried sons and daughters of U.S. citizens and their minor children has an annual numeric limitation of 23,400. (Source: Travel.state.gov)
  30. Family Second Preference green card (F2) for minor children, spouses, and unmarried daughters and sons (who are 21 years and above) of lawful permanent residents has annual numeric limitation is 114,200. 77% of the green cards in this category are for the minor children and spouses (F2A), while the remaining quota is allocated to unmarried daughters and sons (F2B). (Source: IAS Services)
  31. If you are a widow or widower of a U.S. citizen, you may be eligible for a family green card if you were legally married to the deceased citizen and can prove that you entered the marriage in good faith, and not solely to get an immigration benefit. You will need to self-sponsor your green card application by filling Form I-360, Petition for Amerasian, Widow(er). If your spouse had filed an I-130 on your behalf before his or her death, it will be considered as if you had filed Form I-360. (Source: USCIS)
  32. Family Third Preference green card (F3) for married sons and daughters (of any age) of U.S. citizens, and their minor children has an annual numeric limit of 23,400. (Source: Travel.state.gov)
  33. Under the United States federal Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), you may be eligible for a green card if you are a victim of extreme cruelty or battery committed by your parent or spouse who is a U.S. citizen or permanent resident. This will require you to self-petition under VAWA by filing a Form I-369 without your abusive family member’s consent or knowledge. (Source: USCIS)
  34. Family Fourth Preference green card (F4) for brothers and sisters of U.S. citizens, and their minor children and spouses, provided the U.S. citizen sponsor is at least 21 years old. It has an annual numeric limit of 65,000 (Source: Travel.state.gov)
  35. The United States immigration law Section 202 prescribes that the per-country limit for preference immigrants is set at 7% of the total annual family-sponsored and employment-based preference limits, i.e., 25,620. This is why applicants from countries with more than the annual quota applications sometimes stay long on the green card queue as a result of backlogs. Examples are green card applicants from India, Philippines, and Mexico. The law also prohibits any single country from getting more than 7% of the total number of visas issued in a single year.  (Source: Travel.state.gov)
  36. If you are a U.S. citizen, you may petition for a green card for your parents, stepparents or adoptive parents. (Source: USCIS)
  37. Petitioners of family-based green card applications must have a certain level of income to prove they are financially capable of supporting the beneficiary of the application. Income requirements for a green card sponsorship are calculated using the number of members of a household. The more household members a petitioner has, the higher is the required minimum amount. (Source: ECFR.gov)
  38. Family reunification has been a key U.S. immigration policy since the 1800s. In the 1920s, the law was changed to require national origins quotas, drastically reducing levels of immigration into the United States. (Source: USA.gov)
  39. In 1965, Congress passed the Immigration and Nationality Act, which brought some changes to the employment-based immigration quotas and national origins quotas and made it more favorable to family reunification immigration. The INA granted 74% of all permanent (immigrant) visas to family reunification categories. (Source: History.com)
  40. In recent years, Mexico, China, the Philippines, India and the Dominican Republic have sent the largest number of immigrants based on family reunification. (Source: Migrationdataportal.org)
  41. Each year, the U.S. government issues 480,000 family-based visas. (ILCM.org)
  42. To ensure that all family-based visas are not given to immediate relatives of U.S. citizens, Congress puts a minimum number (usually 226,000) that must be allocated through other family-based preference categories. These family preferences include unmarried adult children of United States citizens, spouses and children under 21 and unmarried adult children of permanent residents, married children of U.S. citizens, as well as brothers and sisters of adult U.S. citizens. (Source: Travel.state.org)
  43. U.S. citizens and legal permanent residents cannot sponsor extended family members such as grandparents, cousins, or uncles for green card application. (Source: Immigrationforum.org)
  44. Family-based  currently makes up two-thirds of all lawful permanent immigration. Each year, the number of family members requesting lawful permanent resident status exceeds the total number of family visas set by the 1965 (Source: Immigration and Nationality Act (INA)). 
  45. The immigrant visa queue has increased to about 4 million persons who qualify for family-based immigrant visas but who must continue to wait. As of January 2019, some immigrant visa petitions for relatives from the Philippines and Mexico have been waiting for 23-24 years. (Source: FWD.us)
Categories
UK

Tips for Choosing the Right Course for 2023 Master’s Intake in the UK

So you’ve decided to be among the 2023 master’s students in the UK? That’s a good choice, considering the United Kingdom has some of the best universities in the world.

However, if you’re reading this, it means you’re having difficulty selecting the right course to study. Here are the top tips that can help you make a choice easily.

1. Consider your interests

Although it may seem redundant, it’s important to consider your interest, which may be the most challenging. Your motivation, grades, and the number of professors who recommend you will increase according to how strongly you connect with your chosen course.

Still, it’s also conceivable that, despite its potential attraction, your course of study may not help you get a decent job. Hence, you should know that certain fields are less lucrative than others. 

2. Find out the university’s requirements

Just because you get a Bachelor’s degree from a certain institution does not guarantee acceptance into its Master’s degree program in the UK. Many schools consider factors including your GPA, work experience, why you want to get a Master’s degree, and your technical and soft abilities.

It would be counterproductive to drop out on a technicality, so ensure you prepare enough and grasp the kind of applicant the institution is seeking. You might also benefit from hearing other students’ first-hand accounts of acceptance and enrollment. 

3. Consider your future plans

Whatever professional route you’ve decided to take, or even if you currently have a job, you should know that your present or future superiors may have certain requirements for you to meet. 

Choose things that will stretch you and help you in the long run. Even if they make you uncomfortable and look hard at first since there’s where you’ll study the most in-depth ideas, another language, or sophisticated computer skills: at your chosen institution. 

4. Consider your finances

Right now, money, tuition, and basic living expenses are all major concerns. In particular, costs like lodging, reading material, food in a can, and entertainment should all be researched in advance to avoid unpleasant surprises. 

5. Consider the university’s capacity 

There is no denying the benefits associated with enrolling at a well-known educational institution. But you have to work harder to get in, or else you must battle to the death with other master’s applicants. 

Teachers, student groups, and accomplished former students often contribute to a school’s reputation for excellence. Of course, all of this information is available on the school’s webpage.

Also, keep an eye out for the university’s resources; something as simple as free printing or access to required materials may mean the world to a student. Find out about the school’s library, computer labs, and other study aids so you can plan accordingly. 

6. Determine whether your prior experience and education will be accepted.

There is a good chance that this is one of the most pressing issues we can discuss now. Many graduates choose to continue their education in another country, so they naturally want to know that their degree will be recognized wherever they go.

Suppose you are an African student interested in studying in the UK, for example. In that case, you should verify the institution’s accreditation before enrolling. In addition, some Master’s degree programs include prerequisite courses. 

7. Consider your extracurricular activities with the needs of your Master’s. 

You should consider your surroundings seriously before enrolling in a university in the UK. Is there a hip vibe on campus, or am I missing out? When do you expect festivals to be held in the city?

How cool and interesting are the other students? Do you feel comfortable traveling throughout the country? How secure am I, specifically? These are all valid questions. 

Since you won’t be a full-time student at the university and have a life outside of classes and seminars, the availability of extracurricular activities is an important factor to consider while weighing the benefits and drawbacks of studying a UK Master’s degree course. 

8. Learn about the perks your school offers 

Courses and seminars are pretty much a sure thing, but what about the rest of what they provide? For example, are you eligible for a grant or loan? Is it possible to get the same degree cheaper by studying in a different country? 

And how about internships, practices, and finding a job after graduation: does this institution work with big names, and can it give me a push in the direction I want to go? Universities provide various extracurricular activities, organizations, and programs that you should investigate to see if any of them spark your interest and keep you motivated.

Bottom Line

Choosing the right course for a master’s degree program in the UK can be challenging, but it doesn’t have to be. If you plan and prepare yourself, it’ll be smooth sailing. Hopefully, the above tips can help you decide which course to study.

Categories
Africa UK

Is UK Masters Still Worth it for African Students?

The UK has long been a preferred study destination for students all over Africa. From Nigeria to Ghana to South Africa, students troop to the UK every year to attend some of the best schools in the world.

A lot of students who travel to the UK do so to study undergraduate courses. However, a large percentage also travel to study postgraduate courses. This begs the question, is the UK Master’s still worth it for African students?

After finishing their undergraduate courses in the UK, some African students prefer to return to their home country to get a postgraduate degree. Nevertheless, having your Masters in the UK can be helpful in different ways. We will look at those in this article.

Why Choose the UK for Postgraduate Study?

A UK study visa is a dream come true for many African students. It’s easy to understand why many choose the UK for study, whether postgraduate or undergraduate. Our focus here, however, is on postgraduate study.

One of the reasons why African students choose the UK for postgraduate study is the many available options. You can study for a master’s degree, but there’s more. You can also undertake postgraduate research, a postgraduate diploma, a postgraduate certificate, and postgraduate professional development.

Furthermore, it’s not news that the UK has some of the best universities in the world. In the western European country, you can have your master’s in renowned institutions like the University of Oxford, University of Cambridge, University College London, Imperial College London, and The University of Edinburgh, to name a few.

The university you attend will have a major influence on whether your master’s in the UK is worth it or not. In particular, it’ll play a key role when you start applying for jobs post-graduation.

The reason is simple. The higher-ranked universities have more equipped learning facilities and experienced instructors. Typically, you’ll expect such universities to be expensive, which is true.

Furthermore, choosing the UK for postgraduate studies gives you the chance to explore the historical country. You get to explore historic cities like London, Oxford, York, and Manchester, among others.

UK postgraduate studies last for one year, which is more than enough time to explore. In addition, you can bring your family along as dependents on your graduate visa.

Are African Students Eligible To Work in the UK After Completing Their Masters?

After you graduate with your Master’s degree, you can stay in the UK for a while to look for work. This option is open to African students as well as other international students.

If you studied for a master’s degree, you can apply to stay in the UK for two years. However, if you studied for a PhD, you can apply to stay in the country for up to three years.

During this time, you can search for jobs and work. If you successfully get a job, you can apply for a skilled worker visa once the two or three-year period elapses. With this, you’ve started your journey towards becoming a UK permanent resident or even a citizen.

It’s another reason why many African students opt to study for their master’s in the UK instead of other countries. The UK skilled worker visa is valid for three to five years, depending on your industry.

You can apply and extend your UK Skilled Worker Visa as many times as you want. The UK Home Office will approve your extension so long as you still have your employment.

However, you can easily apply for indefinite leave to remain after staying in the UK for five years rather than extending your visa. Indefinite leave to remain (ILR) makes you a UK permanent resident, and you can work without restrictions forever.

What Are Job Opportunities After Studying in the UK?

The UK is a hub for a plethora of jobs. The country boasts of London, which acted as the economic centre of the EU, when the UK was still a part of the union. As a result, irrespective of your discipline, you should find job opportunities in the UK after graduation.

However, most of the current job opportunities you’ll find in the UK are tech jobs. The country is striving to become a global leader in digital technological advancement. This is evident with the introduction of the Global Talent Visa, among others.

Furthermore, according to data from Glassdoor, some of the top employers of master’s graduates in the UK are tech companies. This includes companies like Microsoft, Salesforce, Google, Accenture, and PwC.

Jobs in the United Kingdom tend to pay much above average because the country clearly values highly educated people. In the United Kingdom, getting a master’s degree is not only commendable; it can also lead to well-paying jobs.

Postgraduates earn 18% more on average than their graduate-level peers, and they are also more likely to work in their field of study. A minimum starting salary of £21,000 can be expected in the United Kingdom for those with a Master of Science degree.

Bottom Line – Should Africans Still Go to the UK for a Master’s Degree?

To conclude, the UK is undoubtedly still one of the best overseas countries for African students to take their masters. The country boasts top universities, quality learning facilities, cultural cities, and most importantly, job opportunities after graduating.

Furthermore, if you plan to migrate to the UK permanently, travelling to study your master’s in the country will set you on the right path. You can easily apply for a work visa after graduating. Afterwards, you can apply to become a permanent resident.

Categories
Canada Immigration

Canada Start-Up Visa: How Can You Get It?

The Canada Start-up visa is an entrepreneur route that seeks to attract foreign-born business owners. In particular, business owners with the expertise to launch new businesses in the country. These businesses must be capable of producing local job opportunities and be globally competitive.

Does it sound like a good idea to you? If so, read on to know more about the visa and how you can get it.

Canada Start-Up Visa Eligibility

To participate in the Start-up Visa Program, applicants must satisfy the following criteria:

  • Have an innovative business idea
  • Have a letter of support from a designated organization
  • Be fluent in English or French
  • Have sufficient funds with which to settle in the country.

Qualifying Business Requirement

You have a qualified business if it satisfies the requirements listed below:

  • You own 10% or more of the voting rights linked to all shares of the company. The shares must be issued at the time you receive a commitment from a designated body.
  • Together, you and the sponsoring organization control more than half of the company’s voting power.
  • You actively and continuously run this company from inside Canada at the time you get permanent residency. 
  • Canada plays a critical role in the company’s activities. 
  • This company was formed in Canada.

Letter Of Support Requirement

You need a support letter from an authorized designated body willing to invest in and help fund potential new ventures. 

You must get in touch with the appropriate body to learn how to solicit aid. Next, convince the group that your business plan is worthwhile. Finally, you’ll get a letter of endorsement from them.

To propose a concept to a company, you must research what steps are required. The needs of a given business will vary. You could, for instance, need to deliver a formal presentation of your company idea or submit a comprehensive business plan. 

A letter of support will be sent to you if you reach an agreement with the group. You must attach this letter with your visa application. This is the evidence required to show that your company plan has merit. 

The sponsoring organization will send a certificate of commitment directly to Canadian immigration. Your letter of recommendation and the organization’s commitment certificate will determine your application’s final score.

A final judgment on your application cannot be made without more information about your company, so you should prepare to provide it if necessary.

If you don’t send the letter of support or meet all requirements, Canadian immigration will not consider your application.

Language Requirements

It will be to your advantage to be able to communicate and operate in English, French, or both in Canada.  Canadian immigration will not consider your start-up visa application without the results of a language test taken from a recognized testing center. 

You need at least a CLB 5 in either English or French in speaking, writing, reading, and listening. Your Canadian start-up visa will be void if you do not possess the required level of language proficiency.

Funds Requirement

No new immigrant to Canada on a start-up visa will get financial assistance from the government. Therefore, you must demonstrate that you and your dependents can financially sustain yourself after you arrive in Canada.

You must have the money in your account. You can’t borrow from other people. How much you’ll need will depend on how many dependents you bring along.

It ranges from  $13,310 for one person to as high as $35,224 for seven people. An additional dependent after seven will ccost$3,586.

Application Procedure

Follow the below steps to apply for a Canadian Start-up Visa:

Get the application package

Included in the startup visa application package are a detailed how-to manual and a list of required documents. You must complete Canada’s Standard Application Form IMM 0008 online.

You should print a copy of the approved application after validation. In addition, complete the application form by printing all pages, including the barcode page. Your completed form must have a barcode. Also, be sure to put your signature and the date where required.

Complete the document checklist

In the application package, you’ll find a checklist with documents you have to submit. Cross-check the document checklist and provide all documents as required.

You should place your documents in an envelope and seal them with the signed checklist. All paperwork, attachments, signatures, language test results, and proof of payment must also be included.

Without these, Canadian immigration won’t process your application, and it’ll be returned. Also, you must provide accurate and thorough responses.

If you omitted or provided misleading information on your application, immigration will decline your start-up visa application. In addition, they may place you on a five-year ban on future applications to enter Canada.

Pay your application Fees

Right of Permanent Residence Fee (RPRF), biometrics, third-party fees, and application processing fees are typical Canada startup visa fees.

When submitting an application, you will likely be required to pay a biometrics cost. If you don’t, you may have to wait. With the biometrics charge, you may have your fingerprints taken and a digital picture taken. 

Canadian immigration will send you a letter reminding you to submit your biometrics and instructing you on where to do so. You’ll need to show this letter when you eventually submit your biometrics.

Biometric information is required and may only be provided in person. If this is a service that is provided, it is recommended that you schedule an appointment. Seek a nearby drop-off location.

Depending on your situation, you may need help from a third party, like a doctor or hospital, which may cost money.

Submit your application

If multiple business partners are applying at a time, Canadian Immigration will only begin processing after receiving all applications. However, a separate application is required from each potential business partner. You shouldn’t pack your application materials into a single envelope. 

Complete applications include responses to all questions on the application. Hence, you must complete and sign all applications and paperwork. Also, submit your application with the required supporting materials and a copy of your payment receipt. 

Canadian immigration will return your application if any necessary information is missing. If there are any mistakes, please correct them and resubmit. 

You must send your completed application to the address in the application packet you reveive. Don’t send it to any other visa office or processing center. It may get lost.

Submit your biometrics

You must submit biometrics if you’re 14 to 79 and seeking permanent residence via the start-up visa route. Even if you’ve already provided your biometrics and they’re still OK. 

You’ll also need to pay the biometrics charge when submitting, and you must do this immediately after getting the letter from Canadian Immigration. In particular, you will have 30 days to respond once you get this letter.

Canadian Start-up Visa Processing time

The Canadian start-up visa can take up to 32 months to process. Therefore, you must begin your application as soon as you can.

Your application will be delayed if there are concerns about crime or security or if more background checks are needed.

For example, if your family status is unclear because of a pending divorce, an unfinished adoption, or unresolved child custody issues. Canadian Immigration will need to verify the information you gave them with other immigration offices in Canada or abroad. 

Once the visa office has begun processing your application, you can track its progress from your application portal.

Canada Start-up Visa Medical Examination

Before entering Canada, you will need to undergo a medical examination. Everyone in your immediate family, including those who aren’t traveling with you, must have their own. 

Your application will be denied if your health threatens public health or safety in Canada. Likewise, if you would put too much stress on Canada’s health and social services. 

After you send your application to the visa office, you will get a letter informing you how to schedule the required medical exam.

Canada Start-up Visa Police Clearance

A criminal record might prevent you from entering Canada. Also, anyone who could compromise national security is not allowed to come to Canada.

Therefore, when applying for Canadian immigration, you and any family members aged 18 or older will be required to produce police certifications to the visa office.

When you turn 18, you’ll need to receive a police certificate from every nation or territory you’ve resided for at least six months straight. To avoid delays, you should get the police certifications you need as soon as possible.

Canada Startup Visa Verdict

Your application will likely be successful if you are eligible and have enough money to sustain yourself and your family upon arrival in Canada. Also, you should pass the medical test and police clearance. 

Canadian Immigration will get in touch with you if more information is necessary. Perhaps they need a supplementary interview or more documents.

If your application is accepted, you will be asked to submit your passport to the visa office so that your permanent residence visa may be issued.

Getting Permanent Residence

If your application is accepted, you’ll get a green card, allowing you to stay in the country permanently. Your Certificate of Permanent Residence (COPR) and entrance visa are included in the Canadian Start-up visa. 

Information about you, including a picture, will be included in your COPR. Make sure you check and confirm that it is accurate. The information on your ID card and passport should match exactly. If otherwise, you must inform Candian Immigration via your account if there is an error on your COPR. 

Both your COPR and your visa are required upon entry into Canada. Remember to put in some time before your COPR runs out since we won’t be extending it.

Entering Canada

To enter Canada, you must use ArriveCAN to submit the needed travel documentation if you’re outside the country. An agent from the Canada Border Services Agency will be waiting to welcome you when you arrive in the country. 

You should bring the following with you when you arrive: 

  • Legal identification for international travel, such as a passport
  • Proof of permanent residence and a valid visa (COPR). The customs official will verify that your Canadian visa is valid upon entry and that you are entering the country before or on the expiration date.
  • Proof of funds that you can sustain yourself and your family in Canada. 

If you provide the Canadian border patrol with incorrect information or cannot prove you satisfy the requirements to enter Canada, you will be denied entry. On the other hand, the official will let you into Canada as a permanent resident if you match the criteria.

The process also includes verifying your Canadian postal address, where Immigration will send your permanent residence card. You must inform them of any address changes you make within 180 days of your arrival in Canada.