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Immigration Papers: Is It Really That Hard To Get Them in US?

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In 2009, after struggling for about 8 years to travel out of Kenya, I finally got that elusive student visa. I had been denied visa 4 times at the UK embassy. I remember sometimes spending some nights sleeping outside the British High Commission offices in Upper hill- Nairobi, in order to make the cut for early morning visa appointment only to be denied after 2 minutes of interview. That was a very painful experience.

When I finally got the approval for US International student visa, It was a big relief. I could not hide my joy. I couldn’t wait to land in America. I quit my teller job at Equity bank almost 4 months before departure in order to “prepare” myself for the impending travel.

Fast forward, I arrived in the US, graduated with a master’s degree, but I had a big worry to deal with…. Immigration papers after graduation. As a non-STEM degree holder, I had only 1 year of work authorization post-graduation. Going back was not really an option for me, but I needed to be with the right immigration papers if I really wanted to stay here.

This is the predicament a lot of people find themselves in when they land in this country whether on a B-1/B-2 or F-1/J-1 non-immigrant visas. Prior to coming here, most of us usually have no idea about the impending immigration papers challenge waiting for us once we land into this country. We are usually just happy to have finally gotten that non-immigrant visa that would enable us to come to the states.

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In the US, it is estimated that there are about 12 Million undocumented immigrants. A big chunk of those did not cross the border illegally, but actually came through the airports and were cleared by the US border protection and customs agencies. Simply meaning they have overstayed their visas. It is very easy to find yourself in such a situation if you do not plan ahead. To happily live in this country, you have to be on the right side of the immigration law. A few missteps and you could find yourself back to your country of origin.

Every year, the US government gives away 140,000 employment-based greencards to skilled & unskilled immigrants who want to stay in this country. These are shared equally across the world and each country is allocated about 9,800 visas.

In addition, the US government gives a total of 85,000 H-1B non-immigrant work visas. 65,000 of those go to those with an undergraduate degree and 20,000 to those with a master’s degree from a US Institution. One of the most interesting statistic is that, majority of us Africans don’t even try to get any of these visas that are allocated to us, yet we struggle so much trying to find ways of living here permanently through other means.70% of these visas go to Indians.

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One of the big contributing factors  is because we tend to think that we do not qualify. We simply do not do our homework well. These employment based visas are given to those with skills in the fields where there is a shortage of American citizen workforce. The catch for E-B greencards and H1-B is that you must find an employer who is willing to sponsor you….and there are plenty of them especially if you are in the IT industry.

For those in America on F-1 visa, you are the ideal candidates for employment based greencards and H-1B visas. I was lucky to get into the IT industry and I got my papers through employment, so I have a good knowledge of the situation out there for the IT professionals. To get into IT you don’t need an IT degree, but you need a degree that is closely tied to IT.I personally hold an MBA and a BCom undergraduate degree and was able to get into the Industry by training on IT skills that are highly marketable in the American workforce today. I trained after I graduated, after observing closely what Indians were doing. Majority of Indians get immigration papers through employment.

If you are out there as a smart F-1 student, please make an effort of trying to find employers that can file for your immigration papers, and don’t just go for any Job after graduation. It is doable. You just need to do your homework. Most Indian-owned consulting companies will file your papers with no questions asked as long as you have the right skills.

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By Bob Mwiti

About me, I am the founder and managing director of Appstec America LLC-A consulting company that helps immigrants find opportunities that are abundant here in the United States. For enquiries about my IT training programs, you can reach out to me at info@appstecamerica.com or call 813 573  5619 ext 402

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Diaspora

USCIS Announces Citizenship and Assimilation Grant Opportunities

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U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) recently announced that it is accepting applications for two funding opportunities under the Citizenship and Assimilation Grant Program that will provide up to $10 million in grants for citizenship preparation programs in communities across the country.

These competitive grant opportunities are open to organizations that prepare lawful permanent residents for naturalization and promote civic assimilation through increased knowledge of English, U.S. history, and civics.

USCIS seeks to expand availability of high-quality citizenship and assimilation services throughout the country with these two grant opportunities:

  • Citizenship Instruction and Naturalization Application Services. (PDF) This grant opportunity will fund up to 36 organizations that offer both citizenship instruction and naturalization application services to lawful permanent residents. Applications are due by Aug. 13, 2019.
  • The Refugee and Asylee Assimilation Program. (PDF) This grant opportunity will fund up to four organizations to provide individualized services to lawful permanent residents who entered the United States under the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program or were granted asylum. These services will help them to obtain the skills and knowledge required for successful citizenship and to foster a sense of belonging and attachment to the United States. This grant strives to promote long-term civic assimilation of those lawful permanent residents who have identified naturalization as a goal, yet may need additional information, instruction and services to attain it. Applications are due by Aug. 13, 2019.
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USCIS will take into account various program and organizational factors, including past grantee performance, when making final award decisions. In addition, all funded grant recipients must enroll in E-Verify as a regular employer within 30 days of receiving the award and remain as a participant in good standing with E-Verify throughout the entire period of grant performance. Funded grant recipients will be required to verify all new hires at hiring locations performing work on a program or activity that is funded in whole or in part under the grant.

USCIS expects to announce award recipients in September.

Since it began in 2009, the USCIS Citizenship and Assimilation Grant Program has awarded approximately $82 million through 393 grants to immigrant-serving organizations in 38 states and the District of Columbia.

To apply for one of these funding opportunities, visit grants.gov. For additional information on the Citizenship and Assimilation Grant Program for fiscal year 2019, visit uscis.gov/grants or email the USCIS Office of Citizenship at citizenshipgrantprogram@uscis.dhs.gov.

For more information on USCIS and our programs, please visit uscis.gov or follow us on Twitter (@uscis), Instagram (/uscis), YouTube (/uscis), and Facebook (/uscis).

 

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Diaspora

US welcomed 756,000 new Citizens last year, set to welcome 34,000 this month

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WASHINGTON—Did you know that more than 756,000 people became new U.S. citizens in 2018? That’s one new citizen every 42 seconds! Share in the celebration during Constitution Week.

USCIS announced Friday that it will celebrate Constitution Day and Citizenship Day by welcoming nearly 34,300 new U.S. citizens during 316 naturalization ceremonies across the nation between Sept. 13 and 23.

The USCIS Constitution Week activities will feature a naturalization ceremony at the DAR Constitution Hall on Sept. 17, where USCIS Acting Director Ken Cuccinelli will administer the Oath of Allegiance and provide congratulatory remarks to 1,000 new U.S. citizens. View a list of other notable 2019 Constitution Week-themed naturalization ceremonies.

“Two hundred and thirty-two years ago, our great country adopted the United States Constitution, and as we celebrate Constitution Week, it is important to underscore the significance of citizens’ responsibilities for protecting and defending the Constitution,” said Acting Director Cuccinelli. “These nearly 34,300 new U.S. citizens followed the law on their path to naturalization and now call the U.S. home. I can think of no better way to celebrate Constitution Week than to welcome thousands of new U.S. citizens who have assimilated, made a commitment to our great country, and have vowed to support the Constitution.”

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On Sept. 17, the nation observes Constitution Day and Citizenship Day, as part of Constitution Week (Sept. 17 to 23 this year). The commemoration honors both the signing of the Constitution on Sept. 17, 1787, and an observance that began in 1940 as “I Am an American Day.” Citizenship Day began in 1952, based on a law signed by President Harry Truman, and in 1955, President Dwight Eisenhower proclaimed the first Constitution Week.

This time of year serves as an opportunity to celebrate the connection between the Constitution and citizenship and reflect on the meaning of becoming a citizen of the United States. USCIS welcomes approximately 650,000 to 750,000 citizens each year during naturalization ceremonies across the United States and around the world. In fiscal year 2018, USCIS naturalized more than 756,000 people, a five-year high in new oaths of citizenship.

To help applicants prepare to become U.S. citizens, USCIS provides study materials and resources available through the Citizenship Resource Center. In addition, the only official USCIS Civics Test application, USCIS: Civics Test Study Tools, is a mobile app that challenges users’ civic knowledge and is currently available for download in the Google Play and iTunes stores.

Following each naturalization ceremony, USCIS encourages new U.S. citizens and their families and friends to share their naturalization photos on social media using the hashtags #newUScitizen, #ConstitutionWeek, and #WethePeople.

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For more information on USCIS and its programs, please visit uscis.gov or follow them on Twitter (@uscis), Instagram (/uscis), YouTube (/uscis), Facebook (/uscis), and LinkedIn (/uscis).

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Diaspora

SAD: Kenyan woman passes away in Seattle, Washington

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It is with deep sorrow and heavy hearts that we announce the untimely demise of Alice Nyambura Mbatia of Seattle, Washington which happened early hours of Friday August 9th 2019.

Alice was the daughter to Eliud Kibebo Mbatia and Grace Mugure Mbatia of Nakuru ( Kenya), sister to Eunice Mbatia ( Washington), Agnes Mbatia ( Washington), Nikita Mbatia ( Nebraska), Faith Mbatia (Nebraska) and Francis Mbatia (Kenya).

She was sister in-law to Pst. Obadiah Kamau ( Washington), Patrick Njenga  ( Washington), Jamleck Muja Maina ( Nebraska) and Gichuki Kenyatta of Nebraska.

Family and friends will be meeting daily from 7pm at the Tabernacle Temple of Praise, located at 2025 S 341st Pl, Federal Way, WA 98003.

A fundraiser towards funeral costs will be held on Sunday, August 18 at 6:00 PM at Fire flow Ministries International 3900 E Valley Rd, Renton, WA,98057.
Funeral service will be on Wednesday, August 21st from 10 am at Christian Faith Center, located at 33645 20th Ave S, Federal Way, WA 98003
We thank the Almighty God for your prayers, presence and support during this difficult time.

Cash App donations can be sent to
Patrick Munyua:425 984 4258

Contact persons:
Pst. J. Kahora (425) 633-6335
Mike Njenga (206) 551-2735
James Gatata (425) 772-2066
Jamlick Maina (402) 405-9198

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