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Articles on Immigration

GaramChai.com >> Immigration >> Article

Social Security Number Delays and Employment Authorization By Ashwin Sharma, Esq.

An individual who has applied for a Social Security Number but is subject to administrative delays by USCIS/SSA may lawfully begin working until he or she receives the SSN, as long as they can produce other documents evincing work eligibility (See Form I-9 for a listing).  The following excerpts and supporting documents are provided for further information. 

"Do I need to have a number before I start working?
We do not require you to have a Social Security number before you start to work, but the Internal Revenue Service requires employers to report wages using the Social Security number. While you wait for your Social Security number, your employer can use a letter from us stating that you applied for a number."


- From Social Security Administration SSA Publication No. 05-10107 - April 2003

In fact, it is an I-9 violation for a US employer to specifically require an SSN prior to the employee starting work. 

See also:
"There is no federal law administered by any federal agency which prohibits the hiring of a person based solely on the fact that the person does not have a Social Security Number (SSN). Similarly, there is no federal law which prohibits the making of a payment to a person based solely on the fact that the person does not have an SSN.

- From "Delays in Issuing SSNs to Aliens by the Social Security Administration"

Further Reading:

Fact_Sheet - Employment_Discrimination

US Dept. Of_Justice - Guide_To_Fair_Employment

Social_Security_Online - Employer_Responsibilities_When_Hiring_Foreign_Workers


The FY2007 H-1B Season Is Upon Us  By Ashwin Sharma, Esq.

Some pointers to maximize your success of obtaining an H-1B this year

The FY2007 H-1B visa quota opens Saturday April 1, 2006. There is no way to predict how long the quota will last with any degree of accuracy, therefore, it is advisable to file petitions as soon as possible. Last year's quota ran out Mid-August 2005 - it was expected by many to last until at least September or October 2005. Since the IT market is booming, it is expected that this year's quota will run out faster than last year. 

Employers can petition for H-1B nonimmigrant workers as early as six months prior to the employee's anticipated start date. Therefore, if an employer wishes to have an employee start on October 1, 2006, the earliest date that the employer may file the petition with the USCIS is April 1, 2006. 

This year I urge those of you who hold a US Masters degree or higher to file only for one of the 20,000 visas available for holders of advanced degrees. Ensure that your attorney has selected this exemption, and not the regular 65,000. This will obviously increase the number of visas for other applicants who only hold an undergraduate degree. 

Some pointers to maximize your success of obtaining an H-1B this year:

1. File early.

2. Ensure that you have compiled all of the documentation that your employer or attorney has requested. Missing, incomplete, or unlegible supporting documentation will contribute to higher than normal processing delays due to the hectic filing period immediately following April 1, 2006. On a related note, confirm that your employer has also put together all necessary documentation. Following up with employers is crucial, especially those who are not familiar with the H-1B process.

3. Make legible copies of all documents. Always include photocopies of both sides of your SSN and I-94 (if applicable). 

4. Again, if applicable, be sure to get your educational evaluations completed early. 

5. Include documentation showing your valid status until at least October 1, 2006. If you are presently in H4 or other dependent status, obtain documentation showing that your spouse is in valid status until at least October 1, 2006. 

6. Make certain that your job title matches your educational and/or work experience background. Occupational Outlook Handbook (OOH), 2006-07 Edition (OOH), 2006-07 Edition to investigate the correlation between your job title, job duties and skill sets with your qualifications.

7. Make sure that your employer is offering the prevailing wage for your job and job location.

8. Discuss any past visa denials with your attorney.

Click here to view our firm's H-1B page, visit our blog , or call us at 904-779-0111 if you have any questions about H-1B processing.


Comment on India's The Economic Times Article Titled -- "Worried about H-1B visa? Take the L1 route" By Ashwin Sharma 

I recently came across an article by "An Immigration Lawyer From Mumbai" in India's The Economic Times (Online Edition).  The article is titled " Worried about H-1B visa? Take the L1 route".  The author writes passionately regarding the L-1B visa; by way of background, this is a visa that in limited instances is a good replacement for the H-1B.  The article, however, paints an incomplete portrait.

The author neglects to mention the two most basic and substantial obstacles which stand in the way of L-1B visa aspirants and their sponsors: 1) the L-1B visa holder cannot be 'body-shopped' and 2) the visa holder must possess 'specialized knowledge' which is defined as "special knowledge possessed by an individual of the petitioning organization's product, service, research, equipment, techniques, management, or other interests and its application in international markets, or an advanced level of knowledge or expertise in the organization's processes and procedures."  This is obviously a difficult burden to bear during processing, especially in heavy traffic consulates such as Chennai or New Delhi.  Requirements such as these unfortunately preclude a great majority of the software consulting companies that place workers at third-party job sites from sponsoring these visas.

Cases such as the Matter of Colley, Matter of Penner, and Matter of Sandoz Crop Protection Corporation stated that the beneficiary of an L-1B petition must possess proprietary or unique knowledge. In these cases, a beneficiary would qualify only where their employers were using unique or specially patented software or equipment not used by other employers in the same industry. For example, a beneficiary proficient in using software developed by his or her employer would qualify for L-1B status, but a beneficiary with expertise in highly sophisticated software developed by another company would not qualify. 


Ashwin Sharma is an Immigration Lawyer who caters to the special needs of the Indo-American population.  He is a Member of the ABA, AILA, and the FL BAR.  He is based in Jacksonville, Florida and represents clients throughout the world. He can be reached at 904-779-0111 or ashwin@immigrationfirm.net.  Click here to visit Mr. Sharma's blog at www.ashwinsharma.com for detailed information on Immigration topics.

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