J-1s at BU B-Ball Game

At the Irish International Immigrant Center (IIIC), we enjoy events that bring our staff, volunteers, J-1 participants, and friends together. Last week, we had the opportunity to go to a Boston University Men’s Basketball Game at the Case Gymnasium! Members of the Learning Exchange Program team, and one of our J-1 Irish Work and Travel Participants, Tony Swift, as well as friends of the IIIC were excited to be able to watch the Terriers defeat Binghamton University of New York with a final score of 77-65. We have tickets to a few more BU games in the New Year and hope J-1s will join us! Email bkahn@iiicenter.org if you are a current J-1 participant and interested in attending.

Immigration News


Q: My nephew recently graduated from a university in Ireland. He has found a company in the US that is interested in hiring him. What does he have to do to get an employment visa from the US government?

A: The US laws and procedures that apply to the employment of foreign nationals are complex and require the assistance of an experienced immigration lawyer to handle the application process. Here is a very brief overview for general orientation:

The H-1B employment visa category is the one most commonly used by foreign graduates, whether they studied abroad or in the US. Foreign nationals who are admitted in H-1B status are allowed to work for a sponsoring US employer in the US for up to three years, with possible extensions up to a maximum of six years. There are provisions that allow an applicant to change employers in the US if certain conditions are met.

The basic requirement is that a US employer must use the services of the foreign national in the US in a professional capacity in a specialty occupation. A professional is defined generally as someone with at a Bachelor's or higher degree from a US university or a foreign equivalent. A specialty occupation is defined as one that requires the theoretical and practical application of a body of highly specialized knowledge.

The number of H-1B visas available annually is set by Congress. Currently the regular cap is set at 65,000. Plus, there is an exemption for the first 20,000 petitions received from individuals with Master’s degrees or higher. The visas become available at the start of each fiscal year, that is, on October 1. US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) opens up the application process six months before that date, however, so applications for the batch of visas available starting on October 1, 2015 will be due starting on April 1, 2015.

The application process is complex and involves several stages, beginning with a submission by the US employer to the US Department of Labor, followed by a petition by the employer to USCIS, and ending with a visa application by the foreign national. Normally the sponsoring employer retains an immigration lawyer to take care of the entire process. IIIC can provide referrals to experienced business immigration lawyers for this purpose.


If your nephew graduated from university within the past twelve months, he might consider applying for the J-1 IWT program that allows recent graduates (or current students enrolled in a degree course) to undertake a paid internship related to their academic field of study with a US employer for up to 12 months. The start date for this program must be within 12 months of the date of graduation. Not that this is not just an employment program. The internships must offer a thorough training plan for the participant.

The Irish International Immigrant Center is designated by the US State Department as a sponsoring organization for this type of visa and can assist with all aspects of the application process. For more information on this J-1 visa, visit the IIIC web site using the following link, http://www.iicenter.org/services/J1-iwt.htm, or contact our Learning Exchange Programs Department at 617-542-7654 ext. 38 or email at J1IWT@iicenter.org.

Disclaimer: These articles are published to inform generally, not to advise in specific cases. .US Citizenship and Immigration Services and the US Department of State frequently amend regulations and alter processing and filing procedures. For legal advice seek the assistance of an immigration lawyer or accredited IIIC immigration specialist.

Executive Action Information Session

The Irish International Immigrant Center (IIIC) is offering another information session to share information about President Obama’s Executive Action plan for immigration relief. The information session will be held on Tuesday, December 16 at 10:00am at the IIIC in Downtown Crossing, 100 Franklin Street LL-1. The center is fully accessible by public transportation and all are welcome. For those who cannot attend, a video presentation is available online at the IIIC website (www.iiicenter.org) Executive Action page.

Health & Wellness News

Matters of Substance - A Letter to Santa

Dear Santa,

I don’t know if I still believe in you, ‘cos my brother Billy said you don’t exist. I think he’s a “doofus” anyway. I was going to ask you for the “Frozen” movie ‘cos I saw it at my friend Katie’s and we love singing the songs. I asked my Mum if she thought you could help us have my Dad home for Christmas. He has been staying with my Auntie Nora since Halloween and I don’t know why he won’t come home. Billy says, “Dad’s an “Alkie”. I asked Mum and she got very sad so I don’t ask her questions like that anymore.

I wanted to ask Dad but he doesn’t always hear me when I’m talking to him. When he lived with us, he was usually in bed when I went to school and stayed late in work. I see him on Saturdays but most times, he meets with his pal Harry in the pub first, so when I see him, he smells funny. I miss hanging out with him. We used to go ice-skating in the park and I loved watching movies like “Finding Nemo” and “Monsters” with him, just the two of us. I wanted to see “Frozen” but he couldn’t take me so I had to wait for the DVD. He and Mum used to always give each other hugs, and Billy and I used to joke and groan, pretending to hate it when they kissed. Maybe they would still do it if we hadn’t laughed.

I remember the night Dad left. He had picked me up from Karate class and when we came in the front door, he tripped on the carpet. Mum saw him fall and started screaming at him, telling him he can’t drive like that, risking Billy and me. She said he needs to leave. I tried to tell Mum I was sorry but all she did was cry and shout at Dad. He just kept saying, “I wasn’t drinking, I wasn’t. Annie was safe, I promise.” He moved out that night. I really miss Dad. I miss how we used to all have fun playing charades after Christmas dinner but it won’t be any fun if he is not there to guess what movie I am trying to be. Santa, if you exist, could you please let him come home on Christmas Day? I want to watch “Frozen” with him after dinner.



The holidays are a tough time for families when alcohol or drugs are affecting your home. If this family picture sounds familiar or you feel you need help and support, for yourself or someone you care about, contact Danielle via email: dowen@iiicenter.org or call 617-542-7654 Ext: 14. We are proud to be collaborating again with “Recovering Connections” and RFK Corps at Laboure health center to run another four-week series of Family Healing workshops from February 3rd-24th 2015 in South Boston, offering information about how substance use problems occur and what practical resources are available for families to heal and find recovery.

Quote of the Week

" ‘We are nearer to Spring

Than we were in September,’

I heard a bird sing

In the dark of December.” - Oliver Herford