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Orange County Immigration & Naturalization Law Blog

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Attributes of dual nationality

Some California residents may want to know more about dual nationality. An individual may hold citizenship in two countries due to birth or marriage and be considered a dual national. In addition, a U.S. naturalized citizen may retain the citizenship of his or her former country. Automatic citizenship is granted when a child is born on foreign soil to parents who are U.S. citizens. Further, a U.S. citizen who marries a foreign national may automatically assume foreign citizenship in addition to retaining U.S citizenship.

There is a difference between acquiring foreign citizenship automatically and applying for foreign citizenship. There are certain parameters that apply for a U.S. citizen to lose citizenship. The individual must apply for citizenship to another country voluntarily without coercion and do it with the intent of renouncing his or her U.S. citizenship. The person's conduct or behavior may be used to establish intent.

Deportation study shows importance of legal representation

A new study on deportation hearings in California has demonstrated the importance of legal representation for immigrants. According to a study that was conducted in part by the Immigrants' Rights Clinic at Stanford Law School, immigrants who are facing deportation are three times more likely to be allowed to stay in the U.S. when they have help from a lawyer. The Northern California Collaborative for Immigrant Justice was also involved in the study.

Released on Nov. 6, the study looked at the cases of more than 4,000 immigrants who were jailed in Northern California over a period of 12 months. All of the individuals in the study were facing deportation proceedings as a result of criminal convictions or because they were undocumented. The study found that the people with immigration attorneys won their cases 33 percent of the time while those without legal representation only won their cases 11 percent of the time.

Employment immigration assistance

A California employer may find that a non-citizen fits the needs of a company at times, and assistance with immigration issues may be important for ensuring that the prospective employee can be used in that role. You may need help in determining the best employment-based immigration visa for the position. You might also want an experienced professional reviewing applications to ensure that everything is as accurate and complete as possible.

There are many employment-based immigration categories to consider, and your industry may be the most important factor in deciding on the immigration status to be sought by a foreign worker. You may need someone who has extraordinary ability. You might seek a prospective hire who has an advanced degree. In some cases, immigration for employment may not require particular skills, but you may have a need that is not being met by workers already located in the United States. Special visas can also be sought for high-demand professions in which a shortage of workers exists. Investors and entrepreneurs might also seek employment-based visas to develop projects or collaborate in the U.S.

How is overtime pay determined?

Employees in California are entitled to receive special overtime pay for any hours that they work beyond what is considered a normal workday or workweek. In California, a normal workday lasts for eight hours, and a normal workweek includes six working days and no more than 40 hours of work.

If an employee works for more than eight hours in a single day or for more than 40 hours in a single week, the employer must pay that worker one and one-half times their regular rate of pay to compensate them for the excessive hours. Any work that exceeds 12 hours in a single day entitles the worker to double their regular rate of pay. An employee who works for seven consecutive days should be paid double for any working hours that exceed eight on the seventh day.

If I marry a U.S. citizen, can I apply for a marriage-based visa?

Each year in California, many foreign-born individuals wonder if they can apply for and receive a marriage-based visa before wedding a U.S. citizen. Marriage-based visas are available in many circumstances for people whose unions are legally valid.

Immigration law treats different categories of immigrants differently when deciding whether to grant marriage-based visas. For those who previously entered the United States legally and were subjected to inspection by a border patrol agent, the process is fairly straightforward. For those who entered illegally, the process is much more difficult.

Employment immigration represents a vital opportunity

Modern California businesses that want to bolster their work forces have many avenues for doing so. Within the field of employment immigration, for instance, a range of schedule types and classifications makes it possible to expand your talent pool beyond national borders and forge important international connections in the process. Like other forms of employment, however, these immigration-based workforce supplementation methods and allowances are guided by a host of state and federal laws.

At Wilner & O'Reilly, our job is to impart your organization with the knowledge it needs to succeed and source top talent. We've represented countless employers and their workers as they sought visas, labor certifications and waivers. We've also assisted firms that needed to demonstrate their regulatory compliance for U.S. Department of Labor and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement audits. Our ability to conduct strategic analyses of a given situation and find solutions that help you benefit from the law allows us to promote a healthier immigrant workforce culture.

Getting permission to work in California

One way to become a permanent resident in the United States is through an offer of employment. Either the person wishing to come to the country can petition for a green card based on a job offer, or the employer can petition for an employee's green card using Form I-140. Those who are currently living outside of the country can become permanent residents through consular processing.

Consular processing involves the USICS coordinating with the Department of State to provide a visa when one becomes available. This assumes that the I-140 petition has been approved. Those who are living outside of the country can use Form I-485 to ask for an adjustment of their status to permanent resident. When submitting the I-485 form, it is a good idea to submit the approved Form I-140.

Undocumented workers protected under California labor laws

California residents may not be aware that the state's labor laws protect undocumented immigrant workers. While the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that federal law prevents the National Labor Relations Board from reviewing cases involving these workers, employment immigration attorneys in California may pursue claims on their behalf for violations of state laws that regulate matters such as working conditions and pay.

These laws provide legal protections for workers in California even if they are not legally authorized to be working in the United States. Workers must be paid at a rate at least equal to the state's minimum wage, and they are entitled to overtime pay after working either eight hours in a day or 40 hours over the course of a week. Undocumented workers may pursue legal remedies if their employer has violated California wage laws, and they may report unsafe work conditions to Cal/OSHA.

What subjects are covered on the U.S. naturalization test?

In order to gain U.S. citizenship after birth, in California or any other state, people may apply for derived citizenship or they may apply for naturalization. Derived citizenship is based on a parent already being a citizen. Naturalization is governed by the Immigration and Nationality Act.

The naturalization process begins with the filling out and filing of the Application for Naturalization, Form N-400. Sometime after the application is filed, the applicant is required to pass a naturalization test that covers ability with the English language and knowledge of U.S. civics.

Immigration for family members of citizens

California residents who are U.S. citizens and who wish to bring spouses, unmarried children under 21 or parents from a foreign country to the United States can do so under certain conditions. Those individuals can get a visa number immediately, but some other family members may be able to do so as well. Children who are married or over the age of 21 as well as siblings may also be able to get a green card.

The difference for these types of relatives is that they may have a waiting period before they can obtain a visa because the government only permits a certain number in this category to immigrate per year. This process can begin outside the United States or after an individual has arrived in the United States.