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Undocumented immigrant secures software engineer position

As we have discussed in previous posts, some of the biggest proponents of immigration reform are businesses seeking skilled workers. The shortage of workers in the United States who are qualified to perform technical jobs in particular, has led businesses of all sizes to try to secure workers skilled in this area from other countries. A woman seeking to hire an undocumented immigrant as a software engineer for a startup experienced the process of trying to secure a change in status, firsthand.

The woman, who at the age of 22, was seeking to launch a website, spent more than a year to accomplish her goal of securing the engineer as an employee. To do this she worked with an immigration lawyer. Though their first couple of attempts did not pan out, their persistence eventually paid off.

As the man worked as an unpaid team member, the immigration saga played out. The initial lines of inquiry included pursing an H-1B worker visa as well as an O-1 “extraordinary ability” visa, neither of which worked. Ultimately, he was able to be paid for his work when he received a work permit that is good for two years, after qualifying for President Obama’s deferred action program. He is now keeping a record of the work he does related to coding. With it, the man, along with the woman behind the start up will likely attempt to eventually secure the O-1 visa.

This story illustrates how a focused effort to resolve an immigration issue may lead to a resolution. Working with an immigration attorney who is familiar with the various business visas is usually a good place to start.

Source: CNN Money, “This entrepreneur saved her star programmer from deportation,” Jose Pagliery, Aug. 13, 2013