Irish man denied benefits in Ireland

One of my callers this week was someone who had to return to Ireland in the fall of last year. He has had some very difficult medical related challenges in his life, and has been taking positive steps to overcome them. This week, Michael’s sister in Ireland emailed me because he has been unable to get a medical card in Ireland. Because he resided in the US, he failed to meet the Irish Habitual Residency requirement. Assistance is ongoing in the case and we are trying to help his family through a difficult time. Information on the habitual residency requirement may be viewed at

Irish man detained and incarcerated in Massachusetts

We had some calls about the case of an Irish man who was detained and jailed simply for making a wrong turn while driving. We can confirm that the incident did occur and our chaplain Fr. McCarthy has been actively involved in the case and he has been received great support from the Irish Consulate here in Boston. Fr. McCarthy is anxious that readers know that something as minor as a wrong turn, missing a stop sign or speeding can today easily land an immigrant in ICE custody. While immigrants often languish in custody for four to six weeks, every effort is made to get them out sooner.

Fr. John and Sr. Marguerite visit Irish prisoners each month at different jails in Massachusetts. If you know someone who would like a visit from them, give us a call today.

H1-B visa petitions can be filed on April 1

The H-1B visa is a temporary employment visa issued for an initial period of one to three years (with the option to renew it for a total of six years). Thousands of applicants will be filing their petitions on April 1, 2013 with a start date of Oct. 1, 2013 and this is allowed by USCIS. If you have a university degree or professional qualification, you may be eligible for the H-1B visa. You must be sponsored by a US employer, have a degree or diploma appropriate to the field of work (if a diploma, you must also have 3 years of experience in the field), and be offered the prevailing wage for the position by the employer. If the degree/diploma/work experience is from a foreign nation, it must be evaluated by an agency approved by USCIS.

Readers are welcome to contact the IPC for a list of evaluation centers in the USA. The employer in most cases does not have to advertise the position and/or prove that you are not taking a job from a US citizen. The position must be a position that requires a degree and should be "tied in" with your particular training. The immigrant’s credentials must be documented as appropriate for the specialty occupation.

Several people at last month’s clinic are now in the evaluation process but experienced long delays getting their transcripts from Ireland.

The IPC strongly recommends using an attorney to obtain an H-1B visa. Some attorneys can complete a petition process that has no complications in as little as two to four months. In Massachusetts, most immigration attorneys charge approximately $2,000 for the process.

Legal Clinic

The attorneys who advise on cases each month, Chris Lavery and Dan Harrington, donate their time at our legal clinic. Questions on visas, green cards, citizenship and other legal matters are answered one to one on a confidential basis. Our March clinic is on this Tuesday, March 5th, at 6:30 pm.

Disclaimer: Please note that the information contained in it is provided to inform generally, and is not intended as a substitute for individual advice. Immigration law is subject to frequent changes and individual circumstances can affect the application of certain legal provisions. For individual legal advice, please contact the Irish Pastoral Centre directly regarding upcoming legal clinics or consultation with an immigration attorney.