An Overview of Immigration Law

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US Immigration Law Explained

US Immigration law can be confusing because it includes many different ways foreigners can enter the country. The immigration laws cover people who want to visit the US, want to work in the US, want to get a Green Card, or want to become a US Citizen. The immigration system is also set up to cover people seeking asylum, refugees, and Diversity Visa Lottery Program.

If a person plans to visit the US for a short time and not work, they can apply for non-immigrant visa status. Some countries, are included in the Visa Waiver Program and do not have to apply for a visa, others need to apply through the US Embassy in their home country.

There are several different visas for people wishing to Work in the US. Work visas allow for a person to work in a specific position for a specific employer. Either immigrants or non-immigrants can apply for a work visa.

The Green Card is the term used for legal permanent residency, which allows individuals to stay indefinitely. Green Cards are usually obtained by a petition filed by an employer or family member that is a US Citizen. Also, people who make significant positive economic impacts in the US can qualify.

Achieving US Citizenship is done through the naturalization process. An individual must have permanent residency for a certain amount of years before applying. After three years of permanent residency, spouses of US citizens can apply, and the majority of others must have five years permanent residency before applying.

To be granted refugee (already in the US) or asylum (outside the US) status, the person must be in fear or have suffered past persecution based on religion, political views, race, nationality, or membership of a particular group. They must also meet specific security criteria and medical conditions.

The Diversity Visa Lottery Program is when immigrant visas are open to people from countries that have smaller immigration rates to the US. There are 110,000 applicants selected and from those 50,000 visas issued. If 50,000 visas get issued or the fiscal year ends the lottery is closed.

Immigration Paralegal Career and Salary Guide

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Immigration paralegals work for law firms, government agencies and non-profit organizations. There roles are to help clients become legal citizens, and some work for government agencies to deport illegal immigrants. They also provide support for attorneys- by filing motions, pleadings, and memoranda in various courts, and sometime they accompany lawyers. There are also Certification programs available, but additional instructions and education is required to earn a better salary. It is important to first understand the requirements for a paralegal certificate before selecting a specific concentration of law, such as becoming an immigration paralegal. Second, one must fully understand the career and job prospects and their accompanying salaries, prior to engaging in the certification process. Below is an overview of the immigration paralegal career and it’s expected earnings.

An Immigration Paralegal earn an average salary of $44,600 per year.

See Salary Guide below:

  • Salary $30,400- 68,000
  • Commission $15,200
  • Bonus $5,000

Most ideal candidates must have a 4-year college degree, 2+ years experience, who is also detail oriented and a self-starter. The person must be able to multi task, work independently and have strong administrative, communication and organizational skills.

Day-to-Day Task

  • Assist Attorneys by researching, investigative, and preparing legal
    documents.
  • Prepare affidavits, documents, and file pleadings with the court
  • Gather and analyze legal articles, statutes, research data, and
    codes.
  • Prepare briefs, appeals and contracts.
  • Translate documents written in foreign languages
  • Case Preparation: Prepare filing for government agencies
    (e.g. CBSA, ESDC, IRCC, USCIS, USCBP, DOS).
  • Non immigration Visas-H-1B
  • Employment Based (PERM, EB1, EB2, and EB3), Investment Based (EB5)
    and Family Based immigration.
  • Prepare outreach and educational presentations for CCEB in English
    and Spanish
  • Maintain hard and electronic copies of client case files, including
    full use of CCEB database and immigration legal database.
  • Computer Skills: Experience with using Microsoft Office and Google Drive
  • Interpersonal Skills: Ability to network internally and externally

Many Immigration Paralegals are bilingual and this is valuable. Actual salaries may vary based on statistics, employment for Immigration Paralegals are expected to grow to 8 percent through 2024.

Although Immigration Paralegals can’t give legal advice, they are a huge part of the process of providing legal status in the U. S.

Tips for Becoming a Successful Paralegal in Any Specialization

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Perhaps one of the most common questions that people ask a paralegal is why they chose to be a paralegal instead of a lawyer. There are literally hundreds of answers to this question. Not only is law school incredibly expensive, but it takes years to successfully complete. On the other hand, to work as a paralegal, you only need to attend a fraction of schooling and the initial investment is far more affordable.

If you’re interested in becoming a paralegal, and wish to truly succeed regardless of the specialization you choose to take part in, there are several tips that will help ensure your success. Of course, true success can’t be delivered in handful of tips. However, these pieces of advice can help steer your career toward a positive a successful direction.

Tip #1 – Understand What’s Expected Of You

The quickest way to fail at becoming a paralegal is to be unaware of what’s expected of you. When you’re first starting out, you obviously need a solid resume. However, there is so much more than that. You need to ensure you have excellent communication skills and above-average interpersonal skills. You should be aware that your days will be a mixture of administrative tasks and other deep-level research and communication tasks. You should hold a solid understanding of the legal regulations that pertain to what job functions you’re legally allowed to do and always be prepared for an unexpected shift in your day.

Tip #2 – Attend a Solid School

While there are no strict educational requirements to begin working as a paralegal within the Untied States, there are several suggestions that can make your career one filled with success. The first is obtaining at least an associate’s degree in legal studies. However, more and more professionals are finding that in order to compete within this highly competitive industry, they need to hold at least a bachelor’s degree with a certificate in paralegal studies. To obtain your certified paralegal certification credentials, it is at minimum required that you enroll in a paralegal certificate program, which typically takes nine to twelve months to complete. It’s important to ensure you enroll in a training institution that’s accredited by the American Bar Association. The ABA accredits both degree and certificate training programs.

Tip #3 – Always Engage In Continuing Education

The most successful paralegals are those who are constantly seeking out greater understanding of the legal industry. Whether you wish to change specializations or simply want to be at the forefront of knowledge, engaging in annual continuing education courses will help keep you ahead of the curve when it comes to changes within the industry as well as making yourself much more marketable to potential employers.