Common Immigration Issues for Office Workers

One of the side effects of the United States’ approach to immigration is constant fear on the part of individuals who have taken the opportunity to come here for the higher pay, labor protections, and safety. It is all too common to have an illegal immigrant occupying a desk in your office, afraid to share their ethnic identity, and affecting their home lives. This fear is generated largely by lack of knowledge of the immigration system. Here are some little-known facts:


Family-Based Immigration

Immediate relatives of U.S. Citizens and lawful permanent residents (LPRs) may bring certain family members( ie parents) to the U.S. Currently the immigration quota for these individuals is 480,000 family-based visas. These family-based immigrants are classified as immediate relatives of U.S. citizens or qualify through the family preference system. Confusing, isn’t it? Here a brief explanation:

Immediate Relatives of U.S. Citizens must be:

Spouses of U.S. Citizens

Unmarried minor children of U.S. citizens (under 21 years old)

Parents of U.S. citizens (note that the U.S. citizen must be at least 21 years old to do the petitioning)

Requirements for family preference system admittance:

Adult children (married or unmarried) and brothers and sisters of U.S. citizens – the U.S. citizen asking for the admittance must be at least 21 years old

Spouses and unmarried children-both minor and adult- of lawful permanent residents

Employment-Based Immigration is possible on a temporary or permanent basis

Temporary visas can be granted for individuals with valuable skills. These are classified by the following:

L visas – intercompany transfers

P visas – athletes, entertainers and skilled performers

O visas – for workers of extra-ordinary ability

H visas – under a variety of classifications of both highly-skilled and lesser-skilled employment

Often these individuals are sponsored by a specific employer for a specific job

That individual in the cubicle next to you could possibly apply for a legal visa status and eventual pursuit of citizenship to alleviate the fear of deportation.

Permanent employment-based preference systems are in place for individuals with extraordinary skills. This information can be found also on” along with more facts about immigration policy. These categories of preference systems are, briefly, as follows:

1). Persons of extraordinary ability

2). Members of profession with advanced degrees

3). Skilled workers; professionals with college degrees;

4). “Special Immigrants”, religious workers, employees of U.S. foreign service posts,former U.S. government employees, etc.

5). Persons willing to invest $500,000 to $1 million to create jobs that employ at least ten full time U.S. workers

Refugees and Asylees

These individuals cannot return to their homeland due to life-threatening circumstances and may apply for refugee or asylee status. The quotas for this are determined by country of origin.

Workers in the United States must be legal to avoid conflicting with tax laws, Social Security laws, and to gain the protection of U.S. law for themselves to avoid criminal acts. To navigate the ins and outs of immigration law, use an attorney or one of the many helping organizations available.