A Man Walks Into An Immigration Lawyer’s Office…

Ever since my friends have heard me make plans to move here to Los Angeles, I’ve been bombarded with all kinds of questions- from getting a US visa, to living conditions here in California, etc.

Let’s get this out of the way: if you do have plans of coming over to the United States and starting a new life here- which is a plan worth pursuing, btw- do things the right way.  I will also go as far as saying that I do not support any move that requires you to sidestep laws or even bend them to your liking- you don’t have to do those things at all.

Laws exist for a reason, and if you want to fully enjoy a shot of making it big here, then by Bob, do things the right way.

That being said, I now know first hand why so many people want to move here: even in a recession, there’s just so much business going on- much more so compared to our lousy Philippine economy.  More on that later.

Better business means so much more opportunities for professionals and entrepreneurs.  You don’t have to be a caregiver.  Or a nurse.  Don’t get me wrong, I think they’re noble pursuits- but just about EVERYONE wants to be a caregiver or a nurse.  Supply and demand, man.  Plus it ain’t my calling.  Not a field I know I could excel in.

Around here, services are huge.  If you know how to fix stuff (cars, electronics, computers, houses, etc.), or good at manual labor (carpentry, massage, gardening, etc.), or have just about any talent worth making money with (cooking, tutoring, pet-handling, etc.), then you might actually have a good chance to make some cash around here.

Even better: professionals.  If you know how to wire up a network for a home business, or rig up power cables, or neuter dogs, or run a forensics lab, or create programs from scratch, then you can really make yourself a more-than-decent living.

Same can be said for people who can run a business- if you got enough savvy, then you’re aware of what people are looking for and can therefore, address a specific need.  Keep in mind that in order for you to run a successful business here, you’re going to have to build your network from the ground up.  Even if you have a massive network of suppliers and resources from, say, the Philippines, it doesn’t mean that you’d be able to bring all those into play here in the United States.

Anyway, I did consult with an Immigration Lawyer- who also turns out to be from the Philippines, and handles a lot of Pinoy cases- and after a nice chat, he gave me my options.

1.  I can have an employer sponsor me for a particular job-role, but it assumes that he’s tried to find other suitable candidates but couldn’t.  This means that it wouldn’t be a simple matter of getting some relative or family friend to hire you- because the employer will eventually have to show proof that he tried to get others, but found you the most qualified for the job offer.

2.  I can set up a business, or even better, buy out an existing business.  With market conditions swaying unfavorably for all kinds of ventures, there are actually a lot of SME’s around that are closing down (but it happens in the Philippines too, so no biggie, really).  Doing so means you’re providing others with a means of employment as well, which would make you look good when the Immigration Board reviews you for a change of status.

3.  Marry someone with a green card, or even better, marry a US citizen.  Strangely enough, there are a lot of shady dealings involving women marrying themselves to some dude with a citizenship in exchange for cash- so they too can get a green card.  That’s just so wrong on so many levels.  If you choose to do marry someone, do so for the right reasons, please.

At this point for me, I could pursue all three options.  But option 2 appeals to me the most.  Option 3 will eventually happen, but why wait when I can have my green card sooner?

If you do have plans of moving to the United States, I advise you to consult with an immigration lawyer, and get your facts straight.  Never completely rely on hearsay, or stories from families and friends.  Options vary from case to case, and you might actually have more feasible courses of action available to you.

More later on as the story continues.  Cheers, everyone.

5 thoughts on “A Man Walks Into An Immigration Lawyer’s Office…

  1. Hello from a fellow immigrant! I’m the Immigration Guide at About.com, and I completely agree with your suggestion to consult with an immigration attorney. It’s also a good idea to do your own research so you can take an active role in the immigration process. Great post, Renzie!

  2. Hello Jennifer!

    Thanks for dropping on by- think I’ll go check out About.com’s section on Immigration then. I’m sure our readers will be interested to know more about it.

    Nice meeting you! Cheers!

  3. Hi Renzie
    Your advise – ‘to consult with an immigration lawyer, and get your facts straight.’Is 100% correct for anyone looking to migrate anywhere.
    Here in the UK we talk to many people who have immigration problems that wouldn’t have problems had they started the process correctly.
    There are many reasons not to get around to it but, like many things in life, grasping the issue assertively and dealing with it with professional help is the way to avoid having a bigger problem!

  4. Hello UK Visa Serf,

    Thanks for telling us what you think. I couldn’t help but notice how many immigrants here in LA- not just fellow Filipinos, but also Mexicans and Armenians and other Eastern Europeans, among others- are staying illegally, or are looking for ways to work around existing laws.

    I completely agree with you that getting professional help really works best- at least to get yourself out of a world of trouble. And that’s what Immigration professionals are here to do.

    Cheers!

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