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

Grasmick's U.S. Business Immigration News for Canadians 1998 Archives, July-Dec.

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Introduction by Joseph C. Grasmick

Business ImmigrationPhotograph of Joseph C. Grasmick


TEL: 716.842.3100
FAX: 716.842.3105

Dear Readers:

This page contains developments too new to include in the Canada-U.S. Business Immigration Handbook or FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions). Register and have a virtual subscription to this newsletter.

Astute managers outhire the competition. To do this look beyond the border. The qualified candidate may not live in the United States. Canada---with compatible education and business---is a productive source for hard-to-fill positions.

There is a wealth of special immigration opportunities for Canadians. This Web page looks at the dynamic nature of these opportunities. It also provides information to support our clients.

Here are a few hints: 1) Register this page to take advantage of fleeting opportunities. Heed warnings before it's too late. 2) If you enjoy the excerpts from readers' letters try the Forum. 3) If you can no longer find an article you saw earlier check our archives. Links to archives are on the contents, above. You can also retrieve archived articles with the search engine.

We often include reader feedback---one of our best sources of news. When we include this information, we often change identifying facts for confidentiality.

Thank you for your visits!


Joseph C. Grasmick

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Congress Delays Fierce Border Controls Until 2001

Congress delayed the Section 110 border controls at land border ports until March 30, 2001. What a relief!

As reported here earlier (Fierce New Border Controls, June 22, 1998) Section 110 of the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996 requires the Immigration and Naturalization Service to develop and implement an automated system of entry and exit controls. These new formalities would apply to every non-U.S. citizen coming into and leaving the United States. Section 110 will cause interminable traffic congestion and back-ups at the borders.

Prudent members of Congress such as John LaFalce led this opposition. This law will have a serious and negative impact on trade, tourism, and the U.S. economy. Section 110 will be a burden to U.S. citizens and visitors alike. I hope Congress eventually repeals the law completely.

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Must College Major Match TN Job Title?

(November 1, 1998)

Must a person's college major match a particular TN job title?

Not always. Consider the outcome on a sliding scale: the closer the match the better the chance of success. Here are possible outcomes:

  1. A clear match furnishes the least problems. Barring exceptional circumstances you will get the approval. E.g.: a civil engineer applies for the TN Engineer category.
  2. Some relationship between the major and the TN job title results in a toss-up. The application could go either way. E.g.: An engineer attempts the Systems Analyst TN category.
  3. No relationship produces a low chance of success. Barring exceptional circumstances an approval will not happen. E.g.: a political science major tries to become a TN Systems Analyst.

How to Improve Your Chances

When the linkage is weak, here are some strategies:

  • Link your job description to the TN category. Make the link a three way match---not just a two way match. Show how your degree, the TN category and the potential job description all relate one to another. If there is an employment experience requirement, link this experience to the mix.
  • Show course concentrations in the academic program. Even though the major is not related, show substantial coursework in the required subjects.
  • Get a credentials evaluation. Show that a course by course analysis of your transcript yields the required major---even if the diploma does not state the major.

An immigration lawyer's skills are particularly useful to:

  • Assess your chances of success,
  • draft employer's letter of support---showing linkages,
  • use knowledge of actual practice at ports of entry by each INS examiner to maximize chances of success, and
  • obtain a credentials evaluation from an evaluator recognized by the INS.

Consider other immigration strategies if you cannot show linkages:

  • Use another TN category that does not require academics. Examples include the TN Management Consultant and the TN Scientific Technician. Employers can contact me to help choose the right slot.
  • Use another immigration permit which does not require academics. Examples include the L-1 and the E-2.

Is the H-1 the Answer?

While you should evaluate eligibility for the H-1, the TN better serves most Canadians. H-1 permits also require specific bachelor's degrees and tight relationships between the degree and the job. See the H-1 page for exceptional "work experience substitute for degree" rules.

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How IT Companies Exploit NAFTA

»Analysis« (November 1, 1998)

Alice Plante---a free-lance writer for CNN and ComputerWorld---recently interviewed me. Her job was to find the relationship between NAFTA immigration and IT companies. Here is the text of the interview:

1. Can you tell me about the services you provide that specifically address helping Canadian nationals legally accept IT positions in the United States? (ComputerWorld is very focused on the "IT angle", as you probably know.)

My law practice is dedicated to Canadians working in the US. I represent Canadian companies sending workers to the U.S. and U.S. companies hiring Canadians. The preponderance -- if not the majority -- of people I help are in the IT Professions.

Knowledge is the Ammunition

Specifically I prepare immigration applications to allow people to work in the US. Actually, most of my work is in "putting the deal together". It is a people job. It is a teaching job. I spend most my time on the phone or exchanging email. This means getting the employer and the employee on the same song sheet. It also means working with various actors in the employer's organization.

There is an interesting dynamic because the manager is the one most willing to help the candidate.

These actors include legal counsel and HR managers who must implement corporate policy. It also includes the prospective candidate's new manager who will be helped or hurt the most by the candidate's presence or absence. There is an interesting dynamic because the manager is the one most willing to help the candidate. At the same time, the HR and legal folks are the ones with the most information on how to bring this about. They also wield the authority. I try to channel the manager's enthusiasm and provide the ammunition he or she needs to get the employee on board. This ammunition is knowledge.

My practice is national, paperless and entirely Internet based. I had a head start, with a website in March 1995---the first law firm in Western New York. I use the Internet to "put the deal together" as mentioned above. Then, I shuffle the INS required "paper" electronically between the lawyers helping the various parties and me. This is a lot easier now. In the "olden days", 1995-1997, many folks with hiring authority did not use e-mail. I had to use a "fax to e-mail" link or ask them to use their child's computer at night, to expedite the case. Initial consultations are virtually eliminated, since the time-consuming basic education is done by the website. I always take pride in knowing that many executives and lawyers sent me their first e-mail!

2. How much activity do you see in this area (U.S. firms recruiting IT professionals from Canada?)

What helped, is that most of my clients are in the IT professions and comfortable with using the Internet. There is much activity in this area.

Are Companies Hiring More Canadians Now?

3. How does current activity compare to levels in previous years?

I think the level is about the same as last year but much higher than years before. NAFTA immigration provisions work hand in hand with facilitating the flow across the border.

4. How has NAFTA changed the level of activity?

I do not know if NAFTA is the cause but it's certainly helps.

The main contribution of NAFTA is speed.

The main contribution of NAFTA is speed. Timing is the most important consideration to our clients. Getting the employee on board quickly is what everybody wants. NAFTA allows for on the spot work permits, which we can obtain for our clients at the Peace Bridge. Otherwise applicants must wait a long time -- much longer than employers are willing to wait. This gives Canadians an edge over citizens of other countries who must often wait months for their work permit. What employer can wait three or four months to fill a contract?

If you need more information about the technical immigration aspects of NAFTA timing, review the L-1,TN-1, and BridgeWeb page on my site.

Employers Need Information

5. What are the biggest challenges facing U.S. employers who wish to hire Canadian nationals for IT work?

The biggest challenge facing U.S. employers is the lack of experience and knowledge in tapping international labor markets. American employers should include Canadian provinces in their recruitment universe. Ironically it may be easier for an Ontario based Canadian to take job in nearby Rochester NY but psychologically the employer may favor an underqualified Los Angeles based resident. We Americans are quite used to looking only within our own borders. Even with a hundred percent Canadian client base I would be hard pressed to tell you how much postage it takes to put on a letter to Canada! I still like to think that "35" degrees is cold.

The biggest challenge facing U.S. employers is the lack of experience and knowledge in tapping international labor markets.

But now, there are new challenges! First pick up any business magazine. The weak point in the U.S. economy is lack of qualified people to fill positions. Even lawyers are now again in demand! Companies cannot raise prices to increase profits because of low inflation. Additional gains in productivity are hard to come by. The only way left to improve profits is to fill those vacant positions. This is true in the economy generally not just the IT Professions.

The second challenge is that shortages of U.S. IT workers are especially acute.

Finally there is overall globalization of our economy. For these reasons we can no longer limit ourselves to U.S. employment markets. The savvy employer who will succeed will have the ability to tap Canadian employment markets. Canadians, with similar culture, education and business backgrounds, are up and running. Furthermore they can provide the expertise to help a U.S. employer tap into the Canadian market. Employers can draw up logical geographical regions, crossing international borders, using the same employee to service both.

At the same time there is an incredible ignorance of the immigration rules on the part of U.S. employers. Employers either feel that it used to easy or too hard.

There is only one acronym that strikes more fear in the heart of American employers than the " IRS" -- that is the " INS".

First, "two hard": More than one judge has said that immigration rules are second only to tax in terms of complexity. There is only one acronym that strikes more fear in the heart of American employers than the " IRS" -- that is the " INS". This is especially true if an employer has ever had a bad experience with immigration rules. For these reasons this first group of employers are afraid. Employers who have had a previous bad experience are gun shy. Simply put U.S. employers are not taking advantage of simplified NAFTA procedures for Canadians.

Second, the "too easy" group: because of the ease which Canadian Americans cross the northern border with a "smile a wave" this group feels that immigration is not even an issue. They feel the work permits are the same as easy tourist procedures. Canada is but a 51st State. They feel there is no need for professional legal assistance. The perception is that crossing the border is no more difficult than applying for driver's license. Employers who proceed correctly may than get advance legal advice revealing the unforeseen need for a work permit. By the time they get this advice they are already desperate for the candidate's presence. Worse yet, some employers will proceed without advice. These employers and their employees often get snagged at the border. Once this happens they forever fall into the first category: "too hard"

Canadian's Face Big Hurdles

6. What are the challenges facing Canadian nationals seeking IT work in the States?

Canadian nationals seeking IT work have to deal with all this. First they have to make themselves part of the prospective employers recruitment universe. Then, they have to convince the employee to hire them and have to educate the employer! (See the book Spin Selling which talks about the education function in providing a product where various decision-makers have to make the decision.) This is probably the main function of our WebSite. Employees will often print out pages to give employers. They have to figure out into which category they fit. They then have to provide information to the employer so that the employer is not afraid of immigration rules.

They have to do all of this within a brief time frame because in hiring, "timing is everything". By the time an employer advertises for positions it is already too late. The position needs to have been filled weeks ago.

Trailing Spouses

Working spouses is the "HR issue of the 90s".

Another barrier is working spouses. NAFTA does not yet give automatic work permission to spouses and family members. Working spouses is the "HR issue of the 90s". Look at the "Immigration" topic of our Forum for a sampling of this frustration. There are two other websites dedicated to just this issue! Linda Deck has devoted her life to the issue. She wrote a book on the topic. It would be nice to interview her, but you will have some competition she has a full schedule of media interviews, as you can see from her post! Also look at the question about working spouses on the FAQ for technical details.

Does Money Motivate Canadians?

7. What is the primary motivation for Canadians to relocate to the U.S.? Money? Opportunity?

The primary motivation for Canadians relocating to the U.S. is probably much the same as that for Americans deciding to move to another State. In the IT professions people tend to migrate toward the high-tech centers such as San Jose CA and Boston MA. There are also niche markets requiring geographical moves to certain areas of the country. For example year 2000 considerations draw IT specialist to financial centers. Banks are good customers for year 2000 remediation efforts. Another niche is call centers, which are located in "low wage" areas of the country.

Another big incentive is the weather. Both Americans and Canadians like to follow the sun. Over 12% of Canadians, who get permanent green cards, do so in Florida.

My clients move to the U.S. both temporarily and permanently. Many go back Canada after a stint in the US. Many stay. The clients who go back to Canada are usually those who followed economic rather than life-style incentives.

Secret to Successful North American Deals

8. How do U.S. employers and Canadian nationals "find" each other? Job fairs? Headhunters? Classified ads? The Web?

My clients usually find each other through recruiters or personal contacts. If somebody is using our services the candidate is usually high-level and a member of a small professional universe. Word-of-mouth is very important. This word-of-mouth also includes Internet communication. I guess that many other employers and employees find each other through classified ads, the Internet and job fairs. I would also guess that these people do the immigration work themselves. In these cases employers would hire people who can file clearly approvable routine ("cookie cutter") immigration applications and would not hire people falling in "gray areas" of immigration law.

I hope this information helps you. I also suggest that you review some sections of the WebSite which directly respond to your questions. Look at the FAQespecially the questions concerning "why should we hire a Canadian" and "my employer feels a green card is a passport to leave..." Also look at the employment topic of our Forum which deals with these very issues. John Chettleburgh is the Topic administrator. He is one of the few people I know with such a high level of Canada to U.S. IT clientele. Mark Serbinski is also the authority on the financial aspects of a Canada to U.S. move. He is the administrator of our "Tax and Financial" Forum.

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Firearms Safety is a National Interest

(November 1, 1998)

The INS approved a fast-track Green Card for a firearms instructor. The National Interest Waiver applicant had a Masters degree in Physical Education. Exceptional ability was demonstrated by experience: (1) nine years' as a firearms instructor; (2) as a witness before the House of Commons Special Committee on Firearms in Canada; and, (3) numerous instructor certifications. She authored of five books and numerous articles on firearms, hunting, and shooting. She also organized and provided firearms safety programs to hundreds of people in Florida and was a volunteer Hunter Education Instructor for the State of Florida.

The applicant's immigration lawyer demonstrated "national interest" by: (1) a Florida law which states that it is "a matter of public policy and fact that it is necessary to promote firearms safety"; (2) a federal law for the Promotion of Rifle Practice and Firearms Safety; and (3) articles in journals that show the high personal and monetary cost of firearms accidental injury and deaths, and that firearms safety training could reduce such accidents. Letters of support were provided by a Florida legislative representative, a hunter education officer for Florida Game and Fish, a police department captain, the presidents of the United States Practical Shooting Association and Florida Shooting Sports Association, and other firearms experts.

The lawyer also focused on applicant's volunteer work including teaching and writing about firearms safety.

(Courtesy of The American Immigration Lawyers Association and David Etherington)

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Chemist Wins Quick Green Card

(November 1, 1998)

The following is an approved national interest waiver for a chemist with an undergraduate degree in pharmacy, a masters degree in Analytic Chemistry and two years professional experience as a chemist for a flavor manufacturer. The Chemist successfully avoided the time consuming individual labor certification.

This chemist was sponsored by a flavor manufacturer. The product development chemist had an undergraduate degree in pharmacy, a masters degree in Analytic Chemistry, and two years professional experience as a chemist.

Documentation included letters of recommendation from a former professor documenting the outstanding nature of the applicants research capabilities, and from an expert in the flavor industry who testified as to the importance of applicants work to major consumer product manufacturers, as well as the uniqueness of her combination of professional skills and abilities.

Because of the company's non-disclosure policy, the applicant had only a handful of relevant publications published prior to obtaining her masters degree. Documentation of national interest came from the executive director of an industry research council authenticating the size of the flavor market and the importance of applicants contributions to the U.S. flavor industry and to the U.S. economy. A university professor emphasized the significant advantages to U.S. corporations planning to do business in China of hiring Chinese-born staff. Several magazine articles were included. These articles showed the growing consumer preference for brand-name food products in China. They also predicted dramatic growth in consumer demand in the U.S. for certain flavors. Finally, a U.S. senator requested full consideration of the petition.

It was argued that without the applicants participation, foreign production of key flavors would remain in disarray. The supply of uniform and high quality flavors would not be able to meet the needs of U.S. manufacturers of consumer products. The U.S. would lose its advantage in the contest to capture consumer loyalties in developing economies.

(Courtesy of James P. Eyster and the American Immigration Lawyers Association)

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One Hand Gives L-1----Other Takes it Back

(November 1, 1998)

Make sure your L-1 application is bulletproof. Even you get by at the airport, you may be surprised. You could find a rejection notice in the mail!

Here is a question and answer during a meeting of members of the American Immigration Lawyers Association and the Adjudications office of the INS:

AILA Question: In several cases, NSC has tried to readjudicate, revoke or otherwise ask applicants to refile L1 petitions after their admissions by PFI along the Canadian border. Please clarify the PFI operations to NSC.

INS Answer: Where there is substantial reason to believe the applicant for admission is not entitled or no longer entitled to the L-1 status, or that a substantial change in business organization has occurred, the actions you described are appropriate. The information contained in the question suggests that the NSC is attempting to regularize the status of L-1 beneficiaries where there have been problems. INS will be glad to respond to case specific issues and problems. It is recommended that petitioners or counsel direct inquiries first to the Service Center.

Managers are invited to have us review their L-1 petitions before filing.

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Vancouver and Blaine Reject Photocopies

(November 1, 1998)

The long trip to the border may become longer. Make sure your lawyer ascertains current practice at the port of entry adjudicating your NAFTA application. Idiosyncracies abound.

Here is an example: Canadians appearing at Blaine or Vancouver can be turned away if all documents are not originals. Here is a question and answer during a meeting of members of the American Immigration Lawyers Association and the Adjudications office of the INS:

AILA Question: Our members have reported that Ports of Vancouver and Blaine routinely demand original documents for all TN applicants. Please clarify to these ports that this is not an INS standing policy.

INS Answer: Port of entry inspectors/examiners have the discretion to require originals for valid reasons including local conditions where fraudulent use of documentation has been encountered. INS will advise the District Director in Seattle of this report and to review practices in Vancouver and Blaine to assure that bona fide TN applicants can present their applications with the least burden.

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High Tech Green Card Opportunities

»Analysis« (October 10, 1998)

Opportunities abound for fast-track national interest waiver green cards. If you work on any of these issues, consult with employer to see if we can get an application started. Put me in touch with your employer if you think this would help. If you are an employer, call me to see how to keep a valued employee on your staff. It may shave years off the Green card wait.

NIWs are especially attractive. One national immigration expert predicts an additional 8-10 month backlog coming in individual labor certifications. Individual labor certification Green Cards can now take years.

Global Warming

The Miami Herald Monday, June 8, 1998:

Each of the first five months of 1998 smashed century-old records for warmth around the globe, according to a report released Monday by the federal government's top forecasters. Vice President Al Gore said the record heat and a winter of strong storms and bizarre weather linked to El Niño are signs that global warming has begun.

``This El Niño gives us a taste of the extreme, erratic weather our children and grandchildren can expect more of unless we reverse the trend of global warming,'' Gore said. He called on Congress to approve the Clinton administration's climate change initiative. It would provide $6.3 billion over five years for research and tax incentives aimed at curbing emissions of ``greenhouse gases -- released by the combustion of coal and oil. The effort faces strong opposition from industries that depend on fossil fuels.

Educational Internet Applications

Gore continues discussing national problems quoted in a recent article in USA Today. He points out that getting the Internet into schools is of the highest national interest. (It follows that IT specialists involved in any way with educational Internet applications should take a look at the NIW.)

According to USA Today Vice President Gore announced that school districts in all 50 states will receive 423 million dollars this year in federal funds. These months are to buy computers, train teachers how to use them and link schools to the Internet. Moreover the grant marks the second year of a five year billion dollar program called the Technology Challenge Literacy Fund. The goal of the fund is to connect every classroom to the information superhighway by year 2000.

Potential national interest waiver applicants should always pay attention to these announcements. In fact ordinarily announcements like this would come from the Education department. In this case the White House is spotlighting the program because of the administration's special focus on education and Vice President Gore's interest in cyberspace.

Here is related news of a recently approved National Interest Waiver for a PhD Education:

The Vermont Service Center recently approved a National Interest Waiver for a Ph.D. student in Education. The research was part of the employee's research for his Ph.D. thesis. His thesis was to create an econometric model to predict the academic performance of students in math and science. The model could also break down individual areas of weakness for each individual student. Once these areas were identified, the teacher could then focus on those areas to assist the student. The alien was conducting a scientific study at a charter school in Bridgeport, Connecticut to see if the predictor could improve the performance of inner city high school students. The results had not been compiled when the case was approved. The use of the predictor in this school was particularly important, for it fit the schools philosophy of smaller class size and more personal attention from teachers on each student. The employee had a Masters of Science in Economics and Cybernetics, which is the equivalent of Econometrics in the U.S. He has been published numerous times in various foreign journals on economics and mathematics. Supporting letters included letters from the principal of the charter school, and from the Connecticut State Department of Education. Also, two professors of education attested to the importance of the study on improving math and science education, while two other professors of economics attested to this aliens ability to carry out the study. All of the above was linked to the Clinton Administrations Goal 2000 for improving high school education in math and science.

Department of Energy Seeks New Technology

According to the Buffalo News, the U.S. Department of Energy has introduced programs designed to fund advances in automotive technologies. This includes production of highly fuel efficient, low-emission and fuel-flexible cars and trucks.

Potential topics of interest include alternative fuel, batteries, compression ignition, direct ignition, fly wheel energy storage, fuel cells and vehicle systems.

We could make a good national interest waiver argument for a client involved in any of these technologies. See www.ipd.anl.gov/carat/prog.htm and www.nytdc.org for more information.

Fight cyber crime -- get a green card

Top law enforcement officials from the world's major industrial nations are working on international strategies for combating the growing problem of computer crime. These crimes include the transmission of child pornography through the Internet, money laundering and fraud. Attorney General Janet Reno herself posted a session on computer crime with her international counterparts. Here is a particularly quotable statement by Ms. Reno:

Every day, more criminals buying new ways to exploit the technologies upon which so many people now read by. This is a growing problem for law-enforcement around the world, and particularly in the industrialized nations.

Computer Security

Counteracting computer security threats commands Executive Branch priority.

In a recent speech President Clinton advocated a "national information-protection plan. He envisions cooperation between the public and private sectors to combat cyber attacks. Per Newsweek (June 1, The Secret Hacker Wars) he fears "that clever hackers for foreign governments or terrorists could wreak havoc, shutting down power grids, cleaning out banks and blinding air-traffic control."

This problem is agency-wide. One recent example shows the current opportunities. ZDNet revealed on May 29 1998 that Department of Energy web security is under fire. An internal review of unclassified computer systems in major DOE facilities found major security lapses. These lapses included classified and sensitive nuclear weapons information open to anyone with Internet access. MSNBC reports DOE administrators are scrambling to implement a "contamination clean-up."

Energy deregulation

The U.S. Department of Energy forecasts that electricity rates nationwide eventually will drop 20 percent because of deregulation. Lower income people and retirees on fixed incomes will be clear winners according to the energy department. Lower income people are especially favored in many national interest waiver criteria.

Energy conservation touches on many areas of the national interest: more affordable housing for lower income people, improvement in the balance of tray and job creation from less foreign energy dependencies, and improvement to the environment through cleaner sources of energy.

New Robot Technology

Business Week (March 30, 1998) discusses a crucial need for people involved with mobile robots and these functions:

  • Inspection and repair of nuclear power stations
  • Maintaining nuclear reactors in naval ships and submarines
  • Checking underground storage tanks and pipelines for leaks
  • Site surveys and cleanups of hazardous-waste dumps
  • Detecting and disposing of bombs and other terrorist weapons
  • Deep-sea research and maintenance of offshore oil rigs
  • Exploring the surface of planets and mining minerals on asteroids
  • Constructing the space stations and a base on the moon

Y2K Justifying Permanent NIW

Are U.S. Y2K opportunities only short-term, not worthy of a long-term move from Canada (and green card)? It looks like this may be a long-term national project. According to Business Week (March 30 1998 "Exterminating the Millennium Bug"):

If you think fixing the Year 2000 bug is routine, talk to Mary Libens, chief "Y2K" troubleshooter at Medical Mutual of Ohio.. .Through it all, a string of unpleasant surprises in the repair process, called remediation, have left Mutual's Y2K team awestruck at the task's scope. "The job is orders of magnitude bigger than expected," Libens admits...The majority of big corporations like Mutual have spent much of the past 40 years adding new computers and software willy-nilly to their data centers, building up great Augean stables of information and a tangle of jerry-built routines. With Y2K, for the first time they will be forced to sift through these diverse systems. The programs they devise to remedy the date bugs---like any software---will be imperfect causing new glitches...As the clock ticks, programs slapped together will produce increasingly less satisfactory results. The problems, says Libens "are overwhelmingly huge." Libens perseveres, because she knows Mutual will make it through. But what of the large companies that are just getting started? In a recent survey of 450 businesses in North America, the Information Technology Assn. in Arlington, Va., found that 45% of them are still studying their systems and have yet to start fixing them. A year from now, they'll be hitting the kinds of hitches and delays that Mutual has been living with for four years.

Speedier Internet

Per Tech Web News

Speaking at a conference on global economic issues, Vice President Al Gore called Tuesday for a "rapidly evolving" policy to get advanced Internet services in place. The vice president appeared at the 1998 Economic Strategy Institute's International Economic and Trade Policy Conference in Washington, D.C.

The 1996 Telecommunications Act directed the government to assure advanced telecommunications services would be available to all Americans as soon as possible.

Preserving Digital Data

20% of NASA's 1976 Viking mission data has been lost. POW, MIA and casualty records from the Vietnam War can no longer be read by Defense Dept. records. Penn State Univ can only read 14 of 3000 computer files containing student records.

Business Week (April 20, 1998 From Dust to Digits) reports this urgent situation---and the Federal Government's concern. At issue: media is turning out to be fragile.

BW provides examples of Federal Government concerns that could involve your NIW application:

  • The FDA reports that pharmaceutical companies lose drug testing data backing up claims of long-term product safety.
  • National Archives requires technical documentation about how records being submitted e created.
  • The Securities and Exchange Commission (and other regulators) won't take digital filings from companies they oversee unless they are in certain formats.
  • Various government agencies are looking into establishing durability standards for digital media. The task force includes representatives of Kodak, IBM and archivists at leading museums and universities. They have agreed on a digital longevity test aimed at increasing the life span of CD-ROMS and other types of digital media.
  • NORSAM Technologies in Los Alamos NM has technology which permanently stores historical documents
  • Cobblestone Software in Lexington Mass uses paper to print out complex patterns of dots and dashes representing digitized files.

Are your or your company working on any such projects?

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Y2K Expert Is Management Consultant

(October 10, 1998)

One of our latest TN-1 approvals was for an IT expert in the banking industry. The bank urgently needed this Canadian to oversee the year 2000 efforts. As with many IT specialists, our clients had no academic credentials whatsoever. On the other hand, he had almost 20 years of experience.

The challenge was showing our client qualifies under the TN-1 management consultant category. This category is under fire at the border. There is a perception that it has been abused. INS carefully scrutinizes all applications.

We were successful here because simply our client was a management consultant. He coordinates work of other computer systems analysts and programmers. His work focused on the interface between the technical computer work and management considerations of the bank. We personally walked our client through the border procedures and received his permit on this spot---in minutes.

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Immigration Relieves IT Shortage

(October 10, 1998)

The IT industry faces a crisis: a profound shortage of executive level management talent. This, according to Marco Antonio Muñoz of Heidrick & Struggles' International Technology Practice.

The employer's financial support for candidates' work visa and green card can go a long way to help meet this need. According to Mr. Muñoz:

There are simply not enough skilled business leaders to take advantage of the growing number of opportunities in information technology. . .The tremendous growth of the industry, rapid changes in technology and the marketplace, and the proliferation of start-up companies, fueled in part by the tremendous pace of electronic commerce, are among the factors that create unprecedented demand.

Immigration assistance can help fulfill Mr. Muñoz' recommendations:

  • Implement creative and flexible recruiting methods.
  • Develop flexible and creative compensation programs for the leaders who can take companies forward and add to shareholder value.
  • Develop. . .retention programs. If a company is to invest the time and effort to identify and recruit a top leader. . .[t]he incoming executive must be given a chance to be successful.

Successful employers will look beyond the border to recruit the most qualified candidate. It is easy to add Canadian provinces to your recruitment universe. This increases your chance of quick success. Once armed with the facts our clients find that the costs of providing an immigration work permit are small when compared to the employee's bottom line contribution. Immigration benefits are a highly leveraged part of a compensation package. There are other solid reasons for expanding your recruitment into Canada.

Once hired, employers should consider retaining the employee by supporting a permanent green card application. The green card is a valuable fringe benefit that employers can confer on employees. Although it may seem expensive, the perceived and actual benefits to you greatly exceed the expense to the employer. The green card gives tremendous advantages to both employer and employee.

Ohio State economic development agrees:

Officials say workers with green-card status are under less stress and are more productive, and that such permanent standing aids employers in long-term planning and reduces their paperwork with the federal government. (From The Greater Columbus Business First)

In the last few weeks two of our client employers successfully filled high-level positions with Canadians. The employees were producing within a matter of days, using the quick TN border procedures. Crucial to attracting these candidates was full promise and support of fast-track green card applications.

Even when not part of the original contract, consider offering your Canadian employee green card benefits. In this economical environment employee replacement costs can be devastating. A recent study published in Business Week reports that the preponderance of companies interviewed attached costs of from $10,000-$30,000+ to replace an employee that cannot be retained. Chances are that if you do not provide this security the employee will find someone who will.

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NYSEG Helps Companies Expand

(October 10, 1998)

Will you be doing business in upstate New York? According to Toby Wollin of the NYSEG Economic Development, his organization can do this for you:

  • Site and building search ("we have a comprehensive data base") including customized site maps with all physical and utility features,
  • vendor and subcontractor search,
  • community information, including demographics, labor skills and availability, labor costs, colleges and universities and their programs, K-12 analysis etc.,
  • competitive analysis ("we regularly do analyses on competing sites, both in New York State and out of state, again with cost of living, taxes, labor costs and availability and so on"),
  • liaison services with state and local agencies including information on all state and local incentive programs,
  • personalized guided tours and interviews with local HR personnel ("many prospective employers like to talk to local recruiters to 'take the temperature' of the area"),
  • export promotion program, where our specialist analyzes readiness to export, appropriate country(ies) and matches the company up with an export management company, to get the prospective exporter out there quickly ("this is very different than most programs, where companies must 'go to school' to learn the ropes, jump through a lot of hoops and perhaps never get to export. This gets their products out there relatively quickly".)

Do not overlook this valuable resource. NYSEG Economic Development provides complete site selection and expansion services for companies (US and outside) interested in their 44-county territory in Upstate New York ("our service area covers from Northern Westchester up through Plattsburgh, suburban Albany to suburban Buffalo -- we don't get the urban centers, though -- the biggest city we have is Binghamton"). If you are going to this geographical area contact Toby. Find other resources on my Rolodex.

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Software Engineer Earns Fast-track Green Card

(October 10, 1998)

Our readers in the IT profession will be pleased by this news: INS just approved a National Interest Waiver Green Card petition for a Software Engineer.

Winning an NIW approval can cut years off the Green Card wait. (See more at the FAQ.) The engineer specializes in Software Optimization Technology, has a Ph.D. in Computational Mechanics, an M.S. in Structural Engineering, and a B.S. in Civil Engineering. The petition showed that contributions to the development and dissemination of cutting edge research in the field of software engineering and development would be invaluable to the advancement of software optimization in the U.S. Arguments emphasized the person's work in computer systems, parallel processing and software together. The application package proved benefits to the communications, defense, and industrial manufacturing industries. Work was argued to be in the national interest due to government interest and funding of his work. Vast projected economic benefits will flow from the software applications.

Other Lucky Professionals

Here are some other recent "super Green Card" approvals:

Elementary School Teacher; Biochemical Environmental Engineer who specializes in the decontamination of hazardous biochemical materials, has a Ph.D. degree in Chemical Engineering, and M.S. in Mechanical Engineering, and a B.S. in Chemical Engineering; Medical Researcher who specializes in oncology and human genetics, has a Ph.D. in Molecular Biology, a B.S. in Genetics, post-doctoral training in oncology and is currently completing a Ph.D. fellowship in Urology and Oncology; Multimedia Information Systems Professor who specializes in multimedia information systems, has a Ph.D., M.S., and a B.S. in Computer Science; Endocrinologist who specializes in diabetes and thrombosis diagnosis and treatment, has a degree in Medicine and Surgery and has completed her residency in Internal Medicine at the University of Connecticut Health Center; Material Science Engineer and Researcher who specializes in conductive composites, has a Ph.D., an M.S., and a B.S. in Chemical Engineering. (Courtesy of Sheela Murthy and the American Immigration Lawyers Association.)

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Our Engineer Client Wins NIW

(October 10, 1998)

We just received another of our very own approvals under the National Interest Waiver. The approval resulted in an expedited green card for our client. All were pleased---especially the employee's spouse!

This fast-track approval was quite timely for our engineer client. He was reaching the final few months available on H-1 status. The approval was especially well received: the engineer's spouse had been unable to work during the many years on derivative H-4 status. (See the FAQ question re: working spouses for more infirmation)

This client is an engineer and employing company that manufacture and export equipment used in the mining and petroleum industry. Particularly crucial to the approval was our showing that the engineer increased U.S. exports to one of the big emerging markets---one of the high in national priorities of the Commerce Department. We were able to obtain a letter from a federal government agency supporting the application---another crucial step.

We are grateful to the remarkable degree of cooperation we received from the employer which facilitated this success.

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Recruiters Face Intractable Employers

(July 2, 1998)

Why should we hire a Canadian?

Recruiters play an increasingly important role in putting the Canadian together with the U.S. job. As things tighten in certain employment markets, recruiters are essential.

They must answer this question: Why should the employer be troubled with immigration procedures? The following e-mail exchange shows how even these skilled matchmakers are challenged:

Thank you Joe, for all your assistance:

We will see what we can do about our client but it seems that they want to start seeing other resumes. It's to bad. He is a good candidate. If you have any suggestions of what we can do please share them with me.

Thank you.

Share this information with your recruiter or client. recommend-it.com Logo


Successful recruiters must answer the question. Here is how to do it: (Incidently if you are not a recruiter, pass this information along to yours via our Inform Others button.)


Thank you for your message. I appreciate the update. I'm sorry that this placement does not look good.

A Recruiters Guide. Getting information to employers is one of the challenges I face daily. My WebSite is designed to serve this function. Over the past few quarters more and more businesses are using the Internet. In the meantime, we have to rely on employees carrying our message to the prospective employer.

Why a "no". . . You actually have an advantage I do not always have. You actually have access to someone in the company. Nevertheless, the same phenomenon is present. You do not have access to the people who can make the crucial decision and who need to have the correct information.

. . . when it should be "yes"? I do not need to remind you that it is your client employer who loses as well. In fact, in dollar amounts, your client loses many times more than you lose. In this extremely competitive labor market the employer who fills the vacancy with the best candidate wins. This goes directly to the employer's bottom-line. Because of current low inflation, companies cannot improve profits by raising prices. Additional productivity gains based on present employee production levels are difficult to attain. Companies nationwide are reversing the restructuring trends and vigorously competing for the few available skilled workers.

Which Employers Hire Canadians? We need to communicate this to employers. The key factors seems to be how badly the employer wishes to hire the employee. If the position will go unfilled otherwise, employers are more receptive to our information. Another factor may be the presence of this information concerning immigration rules. For example, if employer has had a bad experience with a non-Canadian H-1, the employer may be expecting the same. The employer may not be aware of the TN Permit which we can obtain for our clients on the spot at the border.

Here are some random thoughts: Perhaps you could find a more flexible employer and still place your job applicant. If he is a good candidate chances are there will be another employer willing to hire him. Look at our Frequently Asked Questions page for the question concerning why an employer should hire a Canadian. Use this information as you please. Ideally, get it to the decision-makers in your client organization.

Cast Light into the Darkness. Although this suggestion is prospective in nature, circulate the information to your clients. Educate them in advance. Then, when the ideal Canadian applicants surface the client will be pre-disposed to accept him or her. The question on the FAQ concerning why to hire a Canadian is also prepared in an easy print version. You may wish to reproduce this for your present and future client companies.

Also, circulate the materials to your prospective hires. They will be making direct contact with the employer. In fact, they will be bypassing the human resource and legal counsel to deal correctly with the manager they will be working with. There is nobody who will be a more vigorous champion of the employee than the manager who will be directly helped by the new hire. Our goal should be to prepare this "champion" to be armed with information to take to the HR or legal departments.

As we discussed on the telephone there is a very good book Spin Selling. I have purchased multiple copies for employees and clients. It describes the very issue we face -- marketing services with direct contact with a fraction of the decision-makers. We must prepare those contacts to take our message into the political structure of the client company.

Look Inside Your Own Organization. Finally, as I have found in my business and family, is much easier to change our own behavior than to change the behavior of others. You may wish to educate your own staff on the issues. Start by circulating this email to anyone you know. Using the convenient "Inform Others" button on our WebSite, show others our WebSite. This way, your organization will be "singing from the same songsheet" from the receptionist on up.

If this information does not help in this specific case, I hope it helps you in the future. Please call when another opportunity arises.

Best regards,


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