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Law Office of Joseph C. Grasmick --Business Immigration--
Established in 1979

Grasmick's U.S. Business Immigration News for Canadians-1997 Archives, Oct.-Dec.

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May 1998 be Happy and Prosperous!

(December 31, 1997)

The Law Office of Joseph C. Grasmick wishes you the best year ever: 1998. We hope 1997 has been as good to you as it has been to us.

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We're Moving

(December 31, 1997)

We are pleased to announce our move to Buffalo NY's historic Olympic Towers effective January 1, 1998. Here is my new address for your records:

Joseph C. Grasmick
Olympic Towers
300 Pearl Street Suite 200
Buffalo, NY 14202 USA

Tel: 716.842.3000
Fax: 716.842.3105
jgrasmick@grasmick.com www.grasmick.com

After five years in the Cyclorama Building, our lease has expired. We are now moving into the downtown core, closer to the Federal Building and the INS office. Olympic Towers is also known as "the YMCA building."

Local architects E. B. Green & W. S. Wicks designed the YMCA building during the City's greatest period of urban expansion. The 1902 building features a 10- story Flemish Renaissance tower. The tower is a distinguishing feature of Buffalo's skyline. It is the most elegant YMCA building in the United States and was only the second in the country to offer living accommodations. An award-winning renovation produced unusually beautiful and functional Class A space. The building---in the downtown core---attracts some of N. America's leading business and professional tenants.

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Year 2000 National Interest Opportunities

(December 31, 1997)

The "Year 2000" crisis provides opportunities for skilled computer specialists. Federal agencies have been mandated to make computer corrections as a high national priority.

According to the December 11 Buffalo News:

Federal officials are turning up the pressure on more than a dozen government agencies to avoid collapse of vital computer systems at the turn of the century, USA TODAY has learned. The Office Management and Budget next week will announce new initiatives requiring delinquent agencies to spend hundreds of millions of dollars earmarked for other technology projects to address the Year 2000 computer bug.

"Anytime you redirect an agency's money you get their attention" says Sally Katzen, the OMB official In charge of the federal effort.

The glitch comes from generations of computer programs being written to recognize dates only in the 1900s. Unless Fixed on Jan 1, 2000, many computers will read the year as 1900, creating errors in calculations and system failures.

The challenge will be to show the INS that your presence is of permanent national interest. Your lawyer will need to show that after the crisis is solved, your continuing presence is still needed to fulfill a national interest goal.

Forum participants have long recognized the potential. Search the Forum on the word "2000".

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Update: New Immigration Paperwork for Canadians

(December 31, 1997)

In September, the Globe and Mail reported on a new law which would require Canadians to file formal entry and exit documents for travel to the United States, All Canadians, including those with green cards and tourists would have to register at the border and log their departure with U.S. customs officials as early as next September. By 1999, all Canadians travelling to the United States also will be required to have a "smart card" encoded with hand-print and passport information.

I predicted that this will not happen. There is tremendous opposition to this little known provision in the law. It would bring border towns to their knees.

Sure enough, we Buffalonians are now in a certified uproar. Per our mayor Masiello: "This would virtually cease any economic development which the City of Buffalo hoped to obtain from the NAFTA agreement." Per Congressman LaFalce: "The impact on Western New York 'would be especially profound (with studies showing) lines waiting to cross the Peace Bridge 30 miles long during peak hours.'" During a recent hearing conducted by Reps. Quinn and LaFalce, "opponents of the measure called it everything from "devastating" to a "disaster in the making" for Canadian and American trucking and tourism industries." Per Congressman Quinn: ". . .the push to implement [this law] comes from members of Congress from Texas and the Southwest that he said don't understand the difference between their borders with Mexico and the Northeast's relationship with Canada. Members from those states are trying to stem the tide of Mexicans and Latin Americans into their areas in search of work.

Status: the law has been delayed until October 1999 for further study. House and Senate leaders are expected to reevaluate the legislation in January.

This information and quotes are from the December 11 Buffalo News.

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National Interest Green Cards for Computer Defenses

(December 15, 1997)

If your company provides computer security, consider using Canadians for unfilled positions. The Buffalo News reports a development that will increase opportunities for the quick National Interest Waiver Green Cards. See our FAQ-Frequently Asked Questions page for information about these applications.

I expect that demand for computer security specialists will increase dramatically. According to the News a presidential commission recommends increasing the $250 million the federal government spends on research to $1 billion. The money would be used to develop new high-tech measures to detect and repulse potential attacks and a joint government-industry agency to exchange information between corporate users and U.S. intelligence agencies.

The President's Commission on Critical Infrastructure Protection reports:

The United States' dependence on computers for its security, economy and way of life makes the country increasingly vulnerable to attacks on computers that could easily wipe out communications and power grids . . . computer attacks on crucial systems - and more specifically on points where different infrastructures connect---endangers national security, economic security and networks "that underpin our way of life" . . . government and private industry must dramatically increase their awareness of "cyber" threats.

This type of quote makes good material for insertion into National Interest Waiver petitions.

Here is the impact on you, the reader:

  • There is good demand for these jobs in an already tight market.
  • This development makes for good immigration potential. Many permits depend on scarcity of U.S. workers and national needs.
  • This report makes good material to attach to the applications.

It is getting harder to win Waiver approvals, especially in the Eastern/Vermont INS region. You should have experienced legal counsel prepare the paperwork. Maximize your chance of success.

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Technician, Pilot and Systems Analyst---Approved on the Spot

(December 15, 1997)

Here are the results of our last three border applications:

1. TN-Systems Analyst.

We received a quick approval for our client---a leading CD-ROM games manufacturer. INS is getting tough on TN Systems Analyst. ("You are really a programmer"; "Your degree isn't in computers."; "Your work experience came before you got the degree.") There is a perception at the border that many applicants are really low level programmers and do not qualify. Your legal counsel should prepare paperwork to overcome these doubts. The paperwork should clearly show that your academic and employment history qualify you under NAFTA. Your lawyer should also convince INS that the U.S. job will track one of the Dictionary of Occupational Titles descriptions for systems analyst.

2. TN-Civil Engineering Technician.

In this case our client came to us after having been turned away at a remote border for insufficient documentation. This makes our work challenging. Overcoming an initial determination is difficult (see the next articles) but with the employer's cooperation we showed clear qualification for the category. As with systems analysts, INS is scrutinizing scientific technicians. This is because there is no fixed academic or employment requirement for technicians. Many INS examiners feel that people are incorrectly using this category as a "catch all" when they the applicant does not qualify for other TN categories . . .especially people without college degrees. It takes a good deal of legal work to convince the Service that you "possess theoretical knowledge of discipline, and solve practical problems in the discipline, or apply principles of the discipline to basic or applied research." (See this requirement on our TN page.)

3. L-1B-Pilot.

All pilots do not qualify for L-1Bs. We needed to show that our pilots qualified as having a very special proprietary knowledge of in-house technical operations---again, after getting the case post-denial.

We thank these and other clients for the trust, confidence and cooperation you showed us by allowing us to handle your immigration matters.

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"Turned Away at the Border!"

(December 15, 1997)

New Strictness

The last article alluded to an increase in border denials. This is indeed happening.

INS has always turned away people at the border. We have had a Webpage about this for years: FAQ: Stopped at the CANADA/U.S.A. Border-What to Do? Nevertheless, after several years of operating in "the spirit of NAFTA", I detect a new strictness. This is commensurate with public opinion. Although Canadians are not singled out, there is a solid public reluctance to allow liberal immigration. An H-1 isn't the answer---I also see this attitude at the regional adjudication centers, not just at the border.

Here is a sample of recent calls and Forum postings from disappointed job seekers:

  • scientific technician-didn't have bachelor's degree yet, no technical diploma
  • management consultants-too numerous to mention
  • nurse supervisor-"You're management not nursing."
  • civil engineer-Applied for an L-1, but there was no requisite corporate relationship. Then, tried as a TN scientific technician at another border. "Last time you said you were a manager, now you changed your story."

One Bite of the Apple? Denials Harder to Reverse

Do not go to the border ill prepared. It is getting harder to get an approval after a denial. The experienced INS examiners at certain ports are becoming reluctant to second-guess their counterparts at other ports. This is true even where the denials are clearly wrong. Remember that the same computers link all the ports. A record of denial at one port is retrievable immediately at all other ports.

Many people apply for TN status without legal representation. Many succeed. Nevertheless, this Website is not a "how to do it" legal guide. You do not have enough information to do your own legal work. (A good immigration law library spans several CD-ROMs.)

If you have been denied, we can help. We are always straightforward with the examiners so they do not feel you are "sneaking in". We can prepare and present new paperwork with new substantive information, justifying a reversal. We can apply for a different visa or TN category---which may be easier than the one you were using. Refer to the FAQ question "Do I Need a Lawyer".

Better yet, have us prepare your application the first time. As the next article attests it's more important than ever to get it right the first time. Failure can devastate your personal and business life.

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Business Travelers Barred 5 Years

»Analysis« (December 15, 1997)

You may have another bite of the apple, but the second bite can be poisoned! As I warned you in January (New Law Hits Canadians-January 5, 1997) the consequence of failed entries can be considerable:

Not Even Disneyland

Charlotte Rose Leaming is a 37-year-old Canadian citizen who works in Canada for C.F. Fresh, an American produce company. She checks the quality of fruit that Canadian growers sell to her company. In June, Ms. Leaming tried to enter the United States near Oroville, Wash., as she had done many times before, to meet a Washington apple grower. She was turned away by an agent who thought she needed a work visa to enter. She had never needed one before. She asked colleagues to fax her a letter stating that she was coming in for a meeting, and the next day tried to cross again at a nearby Night Hawk, Wash., only to find herself facing the same agent. She was then barred for five years.

"It does limit my future with my present employer, and my possibility for advancement," Ms. Leaming said, noting that her ability to travel is severely restricted by being unable to enter or even land in the United States aboard a plane bound overseas. "And," she added, "I guess I won't be taking my 5-year-old stepdaughter to Disneyland for the next five years." (NY Times November 14, 1997)

A Lifetime Bar.

This bar can turn into a lifetime bar!

Two weeks ago a designer called me from Canada asking me to help him get into the U.S. again. Like Charlotte Leaming, he was also turned away and barred for five years. I was dismayed when he read the "codes" on his exclusion notice---he will not be able to come into the U.S. for the rest of his life!

Like Ms. Leaming, the designer asked his employer for additional paperwork but made a fatal mistake. Instead of using the fax, he used e-mail . . .and signed the employer's name to the e-mail. "Fraud" said the INS. Fraud creates a permanent bar.

Sweeping New Powers.

These on-the-spot exclusions are one result of a new law that gives immigration agents sweeping powers to exclude non-citizens summarily. Until now, only judges had these powers. Normally there is no appeal.

According to the Times:

The new procedures were part of last year's comprehensive immigration reform, which was pushed through Congress with the intent to control illegal immigration and reclaim control of the United States' borders. But in the hands of thousands of individual agents with minimal training and supervision, critics say, families are being separated, individuals' ability to work is being restricted and lives are being disrupted without warning, and in some cases, seemingly without cause.

The new procedure, called "expedited removal," allows an immigration agent, after a brief examination, to bar an alien from the United States for five years. The only review in most cases is done by the agent's supervisor. The idea was to clamp down on rampant immigration fraud. Tens of thousands of aliens frequently use bogus credentials, either bought illegally or doctored, to conceal their true identities.

Canadians Hit Hard

Canadians are not singled out and actually form a small part of the total. According to the Times more than 1,200 people a week worldwide have been stopped while trying to enter the United. (About one-third were given the chance to turn back on their own. Except for a small amount of asylum seekers the rest were barred for at least five years.)

Nevertheless, this has a heavier impact on Canadians. Canadians have the privilege of coming into the U.S. without passport visas. This privilege can turn into a detriment since their cases have not been pre-screened before the border appearance. Furthermore the same people who give out the NAFTA carrots also wield the mighty enforcement stick of the law.

What Can You Do?

Make sure your B-1 Temporary Visitor qualifications are up to snuff. If you've been denied entry, don't try again without calling me. Better yet, call me before your first try.

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No More Southern Border TN's?

(December 15, 1997)

There is more trouble brewing, this time on our Southern borders. It is imperative you set up the border interview so there will be no surprises. Otherwise you may be stuck in Mexico.

Some examiners at the Mexico/U.S. ports of entry are advising Canadians that they will not grant border TN's---especially if the person already has a TN. This directly contrasts with the law. It is also a large inconvenience to many Canadians who rely on Southern borders for NAFTA service.

Here are the INS regulations, promulgated through standard rule-making procedures. These regulations are binding on the government:

(e)-- Classification of citizens of Canada as TN professionals under the NAFTA-- (1)-- General. Under section 214(e) of the Act, a citizen of Canada who seeks temporary entry as a business person to engage in business activities at a professional level may be admitted to the United States in accordance with the NAFTA.

(2)-- Application for admission. A citizen of Canada seeking admission under this section shall make application for admission with an immigration officer at a United States Class A port of entry, at a United States airport handling international traffic, or at a United States pre-clearance/pre-flight station. No prior petition, labor certification, or prior approval shall be required.

I can understand the difficulty the Southern border examiners face. They have little experience deciding complex NAFTA questions, since Mexican TN-2s are not eligible for border service. Nevertheless, you should be interested in the rationale for violating the regulations. Show your lawyer these rules. The cite: [8 C.F.R § 214.6(e)]

As always, our office conducts strategies in accordance with the law. We will assure that an adjudication made on behalf of our client is in conformity with the law

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New Tools for You on This Website

(December 15, 1997)

Use this Website to leverage your job seeking or job filling power. Hiring the right person improves profitability---and creates employment for others. Sending resumes to U.S. employers maximizes the chance of professional growth.

Here are new resources at your disposition:

  • Postcard depicting this Website. Help and inform others. Distribute to employers as interview "thank you" notes. Give to job seeking-Canadians you counsel. Distribute to your employees to assure they conform to immigration rules. I will send you single copies. Order in quantity from Webcards. (Ask me for a Copyright release.)
  • Photographs of key immigration permits. These help you concoct a mental picture of the complex immigration world.
    Tell an employer, job candidate or colleague about this site. recommend-it.com Logo
  • Recommend-ItÔ service. Help and inform others via the convenient Recommend-ItÔ service. This service sends an automatic e-mail summary of this site, along with your personal message. Use it to help educate colleagues, job seekers or potential employers. Look for the links on our popular pages.
  • Canada-U.S. Business Immigration Forum. Are you missing the new information on the Forum? The forum attracts an incredible amount of experience and expertise. The topics contain almost 2000 messages---hundreds added in the last thirty days. Try searching for your job title. Discuss your particular problem with others in the same straits. Share tips. Get early warning of new opportunities and problems. (Much of the news on this page first surfaced on the Forum.)

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New Canadian Consulate Buffalo Website

(December 15, 1997)

The Canadian Consulate General in Buffalo New York just announced http://www.canadianconsulatebuf.org --- a bilingual site with information, services and links to over 200 federal and provincial Canadian Government Departments. (It's worth a visit, if only to see what they do with a maple leaf!)

http://www.canadianconsulatebuf.org can help you find:

  • Useful telephone and fax numbers;
  • requirements for licensing agreements and technology transfers;
  • information for new Canadian exporters to the U.S.;
  • guidelines for immigrant applications to Canada;
  • procedures for claims of citizenship;
  • backgrounders on academic institutions and programs;
  • fact sheets produced by the Canadian Embassy on current Canada-US issues; and
  • daily news briefs from Canada's leading newspapers.

The trade section of this Consulate provides valuable services to our clients as they enter the U.S. market. We heartily recommend the resources at this Website and at the Consulate. See my on-line Rolodex for contact, names and addresses of all Canadian Consulates in the U.S.

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Handbook 10th Edition Available

(December 15, 1997)

You can now acquire the 10th edition of the Canada-U.S. Business Immigration Handbook. I have been the author since 1991. It is published by Carswell---the largest law book publisher in Canada.

This edition contains new information about:

  • the visa lottery
  • labor certification rules
  • new law as it affects Canadians
  • twists on TN's; L-1s
  • tax, by our own forum tax topic guru, Mark Serbinski

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Call for Handbook Articles

(December 15, 1997)

Speaking of the Handbook, there are some publishing opportunities available. Here are some suggestions for interested experts:

  • Professional Licensing
  • Customs
  • Obtaining Mortgage and Credit
  • Employment Law for Canadians Working in the U.S.
  • U.S. Security Clearances for Canadians

Please contact me if you would like to contribute in your area of expertise.

Some of North America's leading business and legal experts already contribute. Handbook subscribers constitute a "Who's Who" in Canada to U.S. human resources. The book furnishes Carswell with the highest renewal rate of any business publication.

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Last Five TN Approvals

(October 18, 1997)

Here is a list of the latest TN applications we filed for our clients. All were approved on the spot. These clients are now working for their U.S. employers:

1. Management Consultant

This management consultant specializes in public relations crisis planning for a large North American company. Management Consultant applications are quite challenging since INS scrutinizes them carefully.

2. Management Consultant

Another management consultant client guides an Asian/Canadian manufacturer in establishing a foothold in the U.S. This case required special efforts: showing that the university degree (law) relates to the management consulting contract.

3. Mathematician

This client needs work permission to fulfill a government contract. The contract requires conversion of sensitive agency research into a format usable by the private sector. He had previously been turned away at the border because his university degrees are not from Canada. The examiner was unfamiliar with the credentials. We ordered a credentials evaluation to show that the degree was equivalent to its U.S. counterpart.

4. Economist

This economist had reached the H-1 six year cap. Much was at stake. We needed to carefully track the Dictionary of Occupational Titles description for "economist" to maximize the chances of success. The approval allows him to continue his specialization in the international trading department of a large investment firm.

5. Engineer

This transportation engineer had a Green Card application on file. We needed to show that he had the requisite "dual temporary/permanent" intent.

Many thanks to these TN employee and employer clients who allowed us to achieve this success. Let me know if you would like to be on this list of satisfied clients.

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Happy New Year! INS Giving H-1B's Again

(October 18, 1997)

The INS fiscal New Year triggered the release of 65,000 new H-1B visas.

As reported here earlier, INS reached the annual H-1B limit before their fiscal year expired on August 31. The INS had to put all H-1 applications "on hold." INS is now approving new H-1B's and releasing those on hold.

Sources report a few bugs in the process. There is a backlog, with increased and indefinite processing times.

My suggestions:

  • If you have an H-1 on file, you or your lawyer should check the status immediately.
  • Now is a good time to review your eligibility for a TN. Try the Visa Selector to identify you options. There is no annual limit on the number of TN-1's and approval is on the spot. Avoid the uncertainty.

Stay tuned for a repeat of the H-1 shortage. It will probably come sooner this year.

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National Interest Waiver Crackdown?

(October 18, 1997)

At least one INS Region is becoming increasingly strict in deciding National Interest Waiver Green Card applications. If you are contemplating an application, file now.

The effort is worth it. The National Interest Waiver cuts years of wait from the Green Card process. See the FAQ for information. The FAQ and our Forum also furnish information to help employees and employers decide if the time is right. (Employer support is half the battle.)

This is a new trend. Would cases described in the next article be approved today?

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More on National Interest Waivers: Approvals

(October 18, 1997)

Nowithstanding increased scrutiny, the National Interest Waiver Green Card is still viable.

Here is a list of four recent approvals. I adapt this from American Immigration Lawyers Association information prepared by AILA member Sheela Murthy.

1. Software Engineer

The Software Engineer (Information Management Systems) has a Masters in Business Management and a B.S. in Mathematics. Contributions to the establishment of an information system for the National Institutes of Health in order to process federal research grants for medical research is invaluable to the development of new bio-medical research in the U.S. The national interest: research and development in the field of information systems design, its applications in medical research and funding management and dissemination, and the ensuing benefits to federal funding systems, medical research, health, and the economy.

2. Transportation Engineer

This New Jersey Transportation Engineer specializes in intelligent transportation systems research and development. The engineer has two Masters degrees, one in Civil Engineering and one in Technology, and a B.S. in Civil Engineering. Contributions to the development and dissemination of cutting edge research in the fields of intelligent transportation systems research and development is invaluable to the development of new transportation technologies in the U.S. National interest arguments included widespread and vital economic benefits, vast potential benefits through the beneficiarys application of telecommunications as an alternative non-transportation strategy in reducing the existing/forecasted traffic congestion, as well as reducing noise and air pollution, fuel consumption and traffic delays in the U.S.

3. Medical Informatics Researcher

A Medical Researcher, who specializes in Medical Informatics, has two fellowships in Medical Informatics, a diploma in Radiation Medicine, and a B.S. in Medicine. The person's contributions to the development and dissemination of cutting edge research in the fields of Radiation, Nuclear Medicine and Medical Informatics is invaluable to the medical, research and teaching communities in the U.S. The Petition was in the national interest based on research and development benefits to national education, health, ecology and the economy.

4. Material Science Engineer

The Material Science Engineer specializes in advanced aircraft coating systems research, has a Ph.D in Material Science and Engineering, an M.S. in Metals Science and Engineering, and a B.S. in Metallurgical Engineering. Research into solving how corrosion occurs in aircraft aluminum alloys and how chromate compounds prevent its occurrence relates to the development of superior aircraft coating systems. The national interest is contributions to national defense, health, ecology and the economy.

Our office has applications in the works for these professions:

  • facilities manager
  • aerospace engineer
  • elecrical safety engineer
  • mining engineer
  • Vice President

Register above for automatic notification of the results. Better yet, contact me and put your job on the list!

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My Rolodex is Yours

(October 18, 1997)

"Build a good Rolodex. Contacts make all the difference."
---John M. Capozzi, "Why Climb The Corporate Ladder When You Can Take The Elevator?"

I share my Rolodex on this site. In fact, when I need to find a Canada/U.S. business expert I go right to that page myself. That list contains some of the good people I have worked with for almost twenty years. Set a bookmark and you will have a ready file of experts on tap. You can have the same resource I use daily to assist my Canadian/U.S. business clients. I invite you to review the enhancements:

  • New categories, eg: Customs
  • More links----e-mail and Web.
  • New tables reduce scrolling. Experts are easier to find, select and contact.

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©1998 Law Office of Joseph C. Grasmick
Law Office of Joseph C. Grasmick, Business Immigration
Olympic Towers 300 Pearl Street Suite 200
Buffalo, New York 14202 USA
Tel: 716/842-3100 Fax: 716/842-3105 jgrasmick@grasmick.com

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