By Kieran C. O’Sullivan, Immigration Counselor

After becoming a permanent resident – what now?

One of my callers this week was an Irish immigrant, now a US citizen, who had filed for his son to immigrate here to the US. The medical and interview went well in Dublin and he arrived in Boston as a legal permanent resident. However, he’s not quite ready to live here permanently just yet and is planning to return to live in Ireland for a short period of time. His father has concerns of how this will impact his legal residency card.

After you become a permanent resident, you have to demonstrate at the time of any re-entry that the trip outside the US was temporary and you are returning to an un-abandoned primary residence here in the US. If you remain outside the US for a lengthy period of time or engage in activities which might indicate your permanent residence is no longer in the US, at that point the US authorities may consider you to have voluntarily abandoned your US residency and deny you entry. This has happened to a lot of Irish immigrants who returned to Ireland when the economy was strong and employment easy to find.

The caller was given information on the implications of residing abroad and the availability of re-entry permits which are issued to those who want to reside abroad while protecting their legal permanent residency status here.

H1B calls – what they are

We’ve had a number of calls from Irish immigrants who have entered the US as tourists and exploring options for coming back to the US on work visas. Three of my callers were qualified teachers who have bachelor’s degrees inquiring about H1B visas.

Unfortunately all of the H1B visas for the coming year coming on stream on October 1st are already gone to people who have been filing petitions since April 1st. The filing of H1B petitions up to six months ahead is allowed and because they go quickly each year, many companies are filing earlier. The only hope to get an H1B visa for the coming year is with an employer who is exempt from the annual H1B cap of 65,000.

Chris Lavery, an immigration attorney who along with Dan Harrington provides pro-bono advice at our clinics said “the Cap was reached much quicker this year than last, which probably reflects the high number of well qualified individuals seeking employment outside their home countries due to the world economic troubles.” Chris went on to suggest that next years H1b visas will also be used up very quickly.

A number of employers may qualify to be cap-exempt and are allowed to file for H-1B petition at any time. A cap-exempt employer is (1) an institution of higher education, (2) related or affiliated to a higher education institution non-profit entity, or (3) non-profit research organization or a governmental research organization.

Immigration and Legal Clinic

Readers note that our next clinic will be on September 4th at The Banshee, 934 Dorchester Avenue, Dorchester at 6:30 pm. Attorneys Dan Harrington and Chris Lavery will be present to answer questions one to one on a confidential basis. This location is just a short walk down Dorchester Avenue from the JFK Red Line subway station. While the clinic is run on a first come first serve basis, we will remain on the premises until all people present are seen.

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.

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