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Immigration Articles

H-1B Immigrants Face Lawsuits from Employers

People from countries like India are often recruited by computer or IT employers to immigrate to the U.S. to work. Many such H-1B immigrants are unaware of the dangers of entering into contracts with such employers. Many computer or IT employers use questionable or unethical tactics to try to force H-1B immigrants into contracts of indentured servitude. The following pattern is being repeated over and over again.

A computer or IT employer offers an H-1B immigrant an employment contract, while he is still living in India. The computer or IT employer offers to sponsor and pay for the H-1B visa application. Once the visa is granted, the H-1B Indian immigrant arrives in the United States. As soon as the H-1B Indian immigrant arrives, the computer or IT employer changes the deal. The computer or IT employer puts the Indian immigrant in a room and has several employees confront him in intimidating fashion with a different contract. This different contract requires prolonged service to the company and imposes penalties if the employee resigns too soon. The Indian immigrant can either sign the new contract or return to India. He then signs it feeling that he has no choice. After the Indian immigrant signs the new contract, he then finds a better paying job and leaves the IT employer. The IT employer then sues him for breach of contract for leaving to early.

H-1B immigrants can sometimes win lawsuits against IT employers, when they can show that the employer has acted in bad faith or has used unethical tactics. Additionally, H-1B immigrants may have claims against the IT employer including for fraudulent inducement. IT employers hope that the immigrant will not have the resources to fight a lawsuit.

To prevent becoming the victim of such unethical tactics, H-1B immigrants should insist upon having a provision in the original contract that the contract will not be changed or terminated upon entry into the U.S. or for, at least, a period thereafter. Such immigrants should retain copies of all important documents. Copies of documents need to be retained in the event the IT employer denies the existence of any pre-existing contracts. If an H-1B immigrant is already being sued for breach of contract, it is important to seek legal representation so that the unethical tactics can be exposed and a possible countersuit filed.

About Author

Ronald J. Wronko


The Tie that Links Australia and Secret Ballots

The secrecy of one’s ballot is something that is common to all of us. Being able to keep our vote to ourselves has been accustomed to us that to do it otherwise is such a no-no. But would you believe that in the early years of civilization to do such thing has caused such a controversy?

In the 19th century, the people shout their votes in front of the politicians and the polling officers. This has lead to so many crimes since the voters are exposed to the power-hungry politicians thus giving ways and means for the politicians to dissuade a voter from their choices. The methods used by the politicians then range from intimidation, blackmail and physical abuse to the voter.

Obviously, this is a problem because more and more people are getting afraid to vote for the candidate of their choice. It is even a bigger problem for the country since the voting does not really reflect the people’s actual voice, but the voice of the people who were bought, intimidated and blackmailed.

Secret balloting appears to have been first implemented in the former Australian colony — now a state — of Tasmania on 7 February 1856. Until the original Tasmanian Electoral Act of 1856 was re-discovered recently, credit for the first implementation of the secret ballot often went to the colonies of Victoria and South Australia. Victoria enacted legislation for secret ballots on March 19, 1856, and South Australian Electoral Commissioner William Boothby generally gets credit for creating the system finally enacted into law in South Australia on April 2 of that same year (a fortnight later).

Since then, other countries followed suit, they also kept their ballots secretly to minimize corruption and other things that are attached to it. And until then, the method of keeping one’s vote secret had been called the Australian Ballot so people would never forget where our method of voting today actually originated.

About Author

Mae Lynn Paulino
National Visas
Address: 3 – 118 Church Street
Hawthorn, Victoria
Australia 3122
Phone: +61 (0) 3 9697 4922
Fax: +61 (0) 3 9815 1544


ETA Visa Makes Flying to Australia Easy as a Pie

Application for a Visa to Australia usually takes days-and sometimes, even weeks-to prepare. And after that, even more time before it gets approved. Indeed, it is an agonizing experience especially to people who are not in the know regarding preparation of travel documents, as well as people who urgently need to go to Australia, for a business conference, for instance.

It seems that Australians are very eager to show the world just how wonderful their country is because, now, you can apply for a visa through the Internet! Introducing: the ETA or Electronic Travel Visa. It’s an electronic visa that will make all pains in preparing travel documents go away. Its system, known as the ETA system, is the world’s most advanced and streamlined travel authorization system since it approves one’s application in mere minutes after the person’s credentials have been inputted to the system.

What makes ETA wonderful? What is it?
The ETA is a visa that is stored electronically, rather than a stamp or label in your passport. It will show up as part of your passport record when Customs officials check your passport details. It makes traveling to Australia much easier and with less hassle especially if you are only going to Australia for a very short period of time to either have a vacation or to do some important and urgent business.

ETA is ideal for people who could not wait for a couple more days or weeks just to have their visa readied. It can also be used by people who have to be in Australia for less than three months to get their transactions done.

To be able to get your ETA Visa, you can either go to the official ETA website which is a part of the Australian government website located at ( or you can visit specialized services website such as National Visas ( that can assist you by providing you your ETA Visa in a matter of minutes!

What are the requirements?
ETA Visa application only requires its applicants several things. One is that you must have an ETA-eligible passport. Only a handful of countries are allowed to apply for this visa and National Visas have listed them all and you can view them all by going to the site ( Next is that you must not be holding a visa that is currently in effect. Another is that you must also be sure that you don’t intend to stay in Australia for more than 3 months. Needless to say, you must also be in perfect condition to travel, and that your criminal records are clean, without any kind of anomalies attached to it.

I want to apply now!
If you’ve met the qualifications mentioned above, then you can now apply for your ETA Visa to be able to travel and spend that lovely vacation in the wonderful land of Australia!

National Visas will assist you in your application, and you’re sure to have our answer in less than an hour! All you have to do is provide us your passport and credit card information, and we’ll do the rest for you!

Traveling has never been this easy and this relaxing! So what are you waiting for? Apply for your Australian ETA Visa now with National Visas!

About Author

Mae Lynn Paulino
National Visas
Address: 3 – 118 Church Street
Hawthorn, Victoria
Australia 3122
Phone: +61 (0) 3 9697 4922
Fax: +61 (0) 3 9815 1544


Fear of Fake Marriages Making Permanent Green Cards Difficult to Obtain

The quickie green card marriage may soon become a relic of the past. U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Services (CIS, previously known as INS) is limiting green card issuance that can directly impact the immigrant and his or her sponsor’s future. Even if an immigrant is married to a U.S. citizen, if the marriage is less than two years old at the time the green card interview (adjustment of status interview) takes place, CIS will only grant the immigrant a two year green card.

This conditional green card will terminate in two years if the couple cannot prove that they are still living together as husband and wife. This requirement was created in 1986 when Congress believed that the only way to counteract fake or sham marriages was to require ongoing proof that the couple still lived together and the marriage was not a mere economic or business transaction.

To convert the conditional (2 year) green card into a permanent green card, the U.S. citizen or legal permanent resident sponsoring spouse and the conditional green card-holding spouse must together to petition to have the condition removed, or else the green card will expire and lawful permanent residency status will be terminated.

This petition must be filed within the 3 month period before the green card expires.

In reality, though, the two year expiration can potentially cause quite a few problems for marriages that were real when the couple wed but are now leading to divorce due to domestic violence, adultery, or other irreconcilable differences near the time the immigrants green card is expiring. By requiring the cooperation of the petitioning US citizen, in most circumstances, to sign and file to have the condition taken off, the process creates a power-struggle between a feuding couple and worse, gives more power over the immigrant to an abusive U.S. citizen spouse.

There are limited exceptions available to an immigrant when his or her U.S. citizen spouse will not cooperate or help the immigrant file to have the condition taken off of the green card. If a couple separates or divorces at any time after the green card is first issued, it is unlikely that the originally sponsoring U.S. citizen or LPR spouse will cooperate in helping the immigrant spouse release the condition on the green card for a number of reasons. If this happens, the immigrant may be able to apply to have the condition removed from his or her own green card by applying for a waiver. The waiver allows the immigrant to apply to remove the condition on his or her green card without the assistance of their spouse. There are currently three different ways or grounds to apply for a waiver:

(1) good faith or bona fide marriage ground (if your divorce is final at the time of filing);

(2) extreme hardship (to the immigrant if deported to their original country); or

(3) extreme cruelty (proving that the immigrant suffered physical, emotional, or financial abuse from their spouse)

CIS allows an immigrant to apply for any number of these grounds on the same petition. Waivers are generally more difficult to have approved. If an immigrant files a waiver, the current policy is that an interview will be required. If you file a joint petition and depending on the evidence submitted, an interview may not be required.

If an immigrant fails to file for either a waiver or to file a joint petition with the spouse within the 90 day period, the green card will be terminated.

Once a CIS receipt notice is received from CIS, the immigrant will have proof that his or her green card is still valid for another year or until the case is decided, whichever comes first. If the case is still not decided within a year, the green card will be extended for another year and will be extended on an annual basis until the case is decided.

A remaining concern for many immigrants is what happens to their eligibility to apply for U.S. citizenship, especially if the immigrant does not stay with their spouse and instead files a waiver petition on their own. If the immigrant receives their green card through marriage and is still living with their husband or wife 3 years after the green card is initially issued, the immigrant will be eligible to apply for U.S. citizenship, even if the joint petition to remove the condition on the two year green card has not yet been decided. Actually filing for U.S. citizenship will speed up the process of CIS deciding the conditional residency issue, as conditional residency will no longer be an issue if a person has already received U.S. citizenship.

If an immigrant is applying for a waiver because he or she is divorced or for any other reason is not not living with the spouse anymore, then the immigrant will be eligible for citizenship after 5 years in lawful permanent residency status. The one exception to this is if a waiver is approved based on the extreme cruelty ground, which requires the immigrant to show that s/he suffered physical, financial, and/or psychological abuse from their spouse. If approved on this ground, the immigrant will be eligible to apply for U.S. citizenship in 3 years, even if not living with the abusive U.S. citizen spouse.

Before deciding whether to stay in a bad marriage, an immigrant must address their available options under both the waiver provisions and the joint petition provisions of the Immigration and Nationality Act. An immigration lawyer may be in the best position to help an immigrant flush out the potential advantages and disadvantages of choosing a particular route and many consultations with immigration attorneys throughout the U.S. are given free of charge.

The most important concern remains for immigrants to ensure that a close eye be kept on the expiration date of their conditional green card and not let it expire before seeking legal assistance. To learn more about conditional green cards, visit the U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Services website at, for a general overview.

About Author

Attorney Heather L. Poole is an expert in family-based immigration and U.S. Citizenship, located in Pasadena, California. She is a published national author on family-immigration issues, frequent lecturer on marriage-based immigration, and member of the American Immigration Lawyers Association & National Network to End Violence Against Immigrant Women. For more information, visit


Recognizing Abuse May Be Key Step for Many Immigrants Seeking Green Cards

The Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), passed into law in 1994 and amended in 2001, provides hope for immigrant domestic violence survivors.

An abused immigrant who is married to a U.S. citizen or Lawful Permanent Resident or who divorced her abuser in the past two years may now petition on her own for an immigrant visa and green card application, without the abuser’s knowledge or consent.

In this confidential process, CIS (formerly called INS) agents cannot legally contact the abuser and tell the abusive spouse anything of the abused immigrant’s attempts to obtain a green card under VAWA.

The process can often be completed within a year for those married to U.S. citizens. This process also provides renewed work authorization to lawful permanent residents who usually face a longer waiting period due to visa number backlogs.

Further, there is no appearance in front of a judge required (the process is paper driven) by the immigrant spouse and s/he may leave her abuser at any time, without harm to her immigration status. So, given these benefits, why do so many immigrants in such abusive marriages not file for their permanent residency under VAWA?

There are two main reasons. For one, many do not know of VAWAs protections for abused immigrants and secondly, most do not recognize that what they have experienced or are still facing can be considered abuse or extreme cruelty under U.S. immigration law.

A finding of extreme cruelty (abuse under immigration law) is based on the emotional, psychological, financial, and/or physical abuse that an immigrant experiences during his or her marriage. The immigrant must not only prove to CIS that such abuse happened as best s/he is able but must also indicate how this abuse has affected the immigrant.

What one immigrant may consider abusive (i.e., derogatory put-downs) may not be considered abusive to another immigrant or person, depending on their culture, upbringing, background, or life experiences.

The immigrant must explain to CIS why their spouses actions affect her so significantly and subjectively, and thus, why CIS should consider those actions, taken in their totality (i.e, a pattern can be shown instead of one or two extremely abusive actions) should be considered extreme cruelty. For example, in many cases, a pattern of purely psychological abuse may be more terrifying and damaging to an immigrants emotional and physical well-being than physical abuse.

It is important to point out that an immigrant does not have to indicate that she experienced physical abuse to receive an approved VAWA case.

The following lists some common examples of behavior that may be considered abuse under U.S. immigration law:

Any type of Physical abuse, which also includes:
Forcing you to have sex with him against your will, for fear that he will have you deported or will physically harm you;
Forcing you to engage in his sexually perverse behavior even though you do not want to;
infecting you with HIV or other disease due to his reckless or intentional acts;
Groping, grabbing or touching you in your private areas in private or in front of others, humiliating you and making you feel uncomfortable;
Forcing you to engage in unsafe sex with him or others;


Repeatedly making fun of you and humiliates you;
Intimidating you (or threaten to harm your family or friends);
Following you to or constantly calls you at your place of work trying to find out what you are doing;
Making degrading remarks about your home country or your gender or sexuality;
Threatening to have you and/or your children deported or call INS if you don’t do what he says or if you tell anyone about the abuse;
Threatening to withdraw his green card sponsorship;
Refusing to let you visit with your friends or family members or speak to them on the phone;
Keeping tabs on you all day and becomes angry/obsessive about your whereabouts and who your friends are;
Locks you in your own house or apartment;
Refusing to let you use the phone to contact anyone or the police;
Attempting to sabotage your friendships and work relationships;
Attempting to destroy your reputation or causes you to lose your job;
Giving you false hope that he will never hit you or abuse you again;
Holding your passport hostage if you don’t do what he wants;
Refusing to let you see your immigration papers and maintains absolute control;
Treating you as his servant;
Harming your pets or threatens to kill them;
Ignoring you when you speak to him and refuses to speak to you, unless you do what he wants;
Destroying your property;
Threatening to commit suicide;
Ignoring you for hours or days, refusing to speak to you or acknowledge that you are speaking;
Blaming you for the abuse and his poor choices;
Threatening to take away your children or tries to use your children against you;


Forcing you to pay all the joint expenses and even his private expenses;
Forcing you to work double shifts, long hours, or perform demeaning work;
Forcing you to beg him for money, even for the emergencies and basic essentials;
Sorting through your things and invading your privacy, looking for items you have purchased and humiliatingly make you account to him for even your own spent money;
Refusing to buy you food or clothing;
Stealing from you;
Forbiding you access to your joint accounts;
Punishing you for purchases s/he made accusing you of lying or stealing from him/her;

Many times, an immigrant who seeks legal assistance because of abuse does not mention psychological or financial abuse because she fears that she will not know how to prove it. Physical abuse usually can be documented with photos, police reports, court transcripts, and restraining orders, but admittedly, psychological abuse is more difficult to demonstrate.

It still can be proven, though, through evidence including detailed affidavits of witnesses, hospital records and counseling reports.

Financial abuse may also be proven through receipts, checking account statements, affidavits of witnesses, and other types of documentation.

It’s imperative for any immigrant in an abusive marriage to seek assistance from an attorney, to brain-storm with the attorney about what kinds of evidence and witnesses will be available, and more than anything, to know her options.

About Author

Attorney Heather L. Poole practices family-based U.S. immigration law in Pasadena, California. She is a published immigration author and supervises abuse-based immigration cases at the Los Angeles Commission on Assaults Against Women. She is an active resource to the Violence Against Women experts list of the National Lawyers Guild, the National Network to End Violence Against Immigrant Women, and the National Domestic Violence Hotline. She can be reached at 626.432.4550 or For more information on the options available to abused immigrants, access