Internship Offer Accepted / Work Authorization Pending

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Anonymous User
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Internship Offer Accepted / Work Authorization Pending

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Apr 28, 2012 9:45 pm

Hello,

I have accepted a position with a firm and told them after accepting that I do not wish to be paid as a part of a public interest certificate at my school (T10). They said that was completely fine and that they would not pay me if that is what I wanted.

Additionally, while the public interest certificate bit is honest and accurate, I am an illegal immigrant brought to the US as a child and am married to a United States citizen. My petition with the USCIS is pending with regards to work authorization, green card and eventual citizenship.

My firm just sent out an email to the interns stating that we would have to fill out an I-9 and E-Verify forms upon reporting for work. As far as I know, the USCIS does not require I-9s to be filled out by uncompensated employees and the same goes for E-Verify.

How do I approach my firm about this?

Thanks for any guidance.

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blurbz
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Re: Internship Offer Accepted / Work Authorization Pending

Postby blurbz » Sat Apr 28, 2012 10:01 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Hello,

I have accepted a position with a firm and told them after accepting that I do not wish to be paid as a part of a public interest certificate at my school (T10). They said that was completely fine and that they would not pay me if that is what I wanted.

Additionally, while the public interest certificate bit is honest and accurate, I am an illegal immigrant brought to the US as a child and am married to a United States citizen. My petition with the USCIS is pending with regards to work authorization, green card and eventual citizenship.

My firm just sent out an email to the interns stating that we would have to fill out an I-9 and E-Verify forms upon reporting for work. As far as I know, the USCIS does not require I-9s to be filled out by uncompensated employees and the same goes for E-Verify.

How do I approach my firm about this?

Thanks for any guidance.



My recommendation to you: Call an immigration lawyer immediately.

I feel for you, but that's the only thing I can suggest.

Anonymous User
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Re: Internship Offer Accepted / Work Authorization Pending

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Apr 28, 2012 10:23 pm

Thanks, I have an attorney for my case with the USCIS, and she suggested that as long as I am completely uncompensated, this should not be a problem.

However, I have contacted the Attorney General's office and DHS to get some clarification and hopefully a positive response from them will allow the firm to allow me to work in confidence.

I was just curious if anyone had any suggests as to how to even approach them. Should I ask to speak to an HR person? Or just send them a letter with all the information?

Thanks

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dresden doll
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Re: Internship Offer Accepted / Work Authorization Pending

Postby dresden doll » Sat Apr 28, 2012 10:29 pm

You can schedule an InfoPass appointment with the nearest USCIS. That said, your lawyer is correct: if you're essentially volunteering, there shouldn't be an issue.

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blurbz
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Re: Internship Offer Accepted / Work Authorization Pending

Postby blurbz » Sat Apr 28, 2012 10:30 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Thanks, I have an attorney for my case with the USCIS, and she suggested that as long as I am completely uncompensated, this should not be a problem.

However, I have contacted the Attorney General's office and DHS to get some clarification and hopefully a positive response from them will allow the firm to allow me to work in confidence.

I was just curious if anyone had any suggests as to how to even approach them. Should I ask to speak to an HR person? Or just send them a letter with all the information?

Thanks


Sounds like you're proactive and doing all the right stuff. I really don't know what to say: Part of me says you should approach someone you're comfortable with with the information, part of me says to ask your attorney to talk to them for you and the other part of me says to do nothing. I don't know what kind of ramifications there might be (not legal but just work-related) if you tell them, so you might need to feel that out a bit. It might be worth having a conversation with your attorney about whether you might tell them you're not a citizen and don't have work authorization (which is part of the reason you're not getting paid) but not tell them you're technically here illegally. To be clear: My advice is still that you should talk with your attorney. . ....Though I suspect he's right--as long as you're not being paid, there shouldn't be a legal problem. I just worry about the firm's response!

How did your school handle it? I assume they must know...Do you have a student visa? any official nonimigrant status?

jc1988
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Re: Internship Offer Accepted / Work Authorization Pending

Postby jc1988 » Sat Apr 28, 2012 10:35 pm

That's why the Dream Act should be passed.

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Re: Internship Offer Accepted / Work Authorization Pending

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Apr 28, 2012 11:04 pm

Thanks for all the helpful responses, guys, it is really appreciated. And I am genuinely surprised and pleased to see the overwhelming support for students in my situation.

Unfortunately, I was brought on a tourist visa which expired in six months. Now I have literally nothing. I'm obtained a new passport from the consulate of my home country and have worked to keep it updated as best as I could.

As far as law school, the school I chose to attend asked where I was born, but did not require a response as to questions such as work authorization or status in the U.S. And I was fortunate enough to be awarded a full scholarship so that I did not need loans (as you know I'm sure, I wouldn't have been able to get a loan anyway).

Then I married my girlfriend who I had been dating for a few years and we got an attorney a few months after we married and just sent my application off last week. There is a small chance I obtain work authorization by the time the internship starts, but it's heavily unlikely, and that's why I want to get this cleared up before I get there.

And I really need some work experience this summer.. as you all understand as I'm a 1L.

Thanks again for all the help.

bdubs
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Re: Internship Offer Accepted / Work Authorization Pending

Postby bdubs » Sat Apr 28, 2012 11:25 pm

Good luck OP. You've already defied some pretty big odds by getting to where you are today, so I'm sure you will be able to work this out. Sorry I don't have any specific advice, but I think most legal employers would probably be sympathetic to your situation.

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yuzu
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Re: Internship Offer Accepted / Work Authorization Pending

Postby yuzu » Sun Apr 29, 2012 4:03 am

Legally I think they don't need an I-9 from you, but HR people tend to be risk averse, and they may want everyone to complete it anyway.

You can start by telling them "I assume I won't need to do the I-9 paperwork since I'm doing this uncompensated." If they push back, you might consider explaining that you're an international student, and you haven't obtained authorization for paid work for the summer, so as such you'd rather do it completely uncompensated, without an I-9. This could be true of F-1 students as well, so you're not admitting to being out of legal status - although F-1 students are not supposed to work uncompensated in this sort of job. You might also mention that while this summer you don't expect you could get authorization in time, in the future you won't have visa issues, as you expect to have a green card within a year. (That way they're not worried about whether they can hire you easily in the future - sponsoring work visas is expensive.)

Discuss with your immigration attorney first. I think it's worth emailing the HR contact now to make sure they are clear on this. If for some reason they're not OK with volunteer work without USCIS authorization (like McDermott perhaps?), you need to find something else to do for the summer pronto...

Anonymous User
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Re: Internship Offer Accepted / Work Authorization Pending

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Apr 29, 2012 11:03 am

I seem to recall it not taking too long for my husband to get his work authorization card after he filed. Your lawyer is probably the best person to get advice from, but maybe you can tell them you filed for a green card and are waiting for your work authorization card without specifically mentioned the illegal part? (Maybe they would put two and two together, but I don't know if that would be an issue. You already filed - it is not your fault that you have to wait.)

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dresden doll
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Re: Internship Offer Accepted / Work Authorization Pending

Postby dresden doll » Sun Apr 29, 2012 11:08 am

Anonymous User wrote:I seem to recall it not taking too long for my husband to get his work authorization card after he filed. Your lawyer is probably the best person to get advice from, but maybe you can tell them you filed for a green card and are waiting for your work authorization card without specifically mentioned the illegal part? (Maybe they would put two and two together, but I don't know if that would be an issue. You already filed - it is not your fault that you have to wait.)


It took many months for me.

I suggest scheduling an InfoPass appointment with USCIS and seeing if they'll agree to stamp your passport. A stamp in the passport is the functional equivalent of a work authorization (and will explicitly say as much).

They don't need an I-9 for uncompensated work but, as someone rightly point out, HR is risk averse.

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okinawa
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Re: Internship Offer Accepted / Work Authorization Pending

Postby okinawa » Sun Apr 29, 2012 5:55 pm

.
Last edited by okinawa on Fri Apr 19, 2013 10:41 am, edited 1 time in total.

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dresden doll
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Re: Internship Offer Accepted / Work Authorization Pending

Postby dresden doll » Sun Apr 29, 2012 10:08 pm

okinawa wrote:So you've been in the country illegally since you were brought to the US on a tourist visa as a child? You went to undergrad and law school but never asked them to sponsor a student visa? but now, your LPR application from marriage is absolutely fine, despite having been in the country for years illegally??


This seems really, really unlikely and doesn't add up.


You should probably read up on the INA before you fly into these types of threads accusing people of lying. It makes you look like an idiot.

Why do you imagine he'd ask his UG or lawl school for a student visa? What good would that have done him? Student visa is a nonimmigrant visa, in case you were unaware (and clearly, you were) and nonimmigrant visas require you to demonstrate that you have no intent to remain in the country after you're done with your studies plus the one year long work authorization you get with the visa. How do you imagine this guy would prove 'no intent to remain' under his circumstances? No immigration authority worth its salt would grant him that visa.

On the other hand, a Green Card by definition allows you to have an intent to remain. All he needs as a marriage-based Green Card applicant is to show that he's entered into his marriage in good faith and not solely to obtain an immigration benefit. If he can demonstrate that, he can adjust to a lawful status (assuming no criminal record or other inadmissibility grounds). He can't travel while the application is pending because he'd trigger the readmission bar if he left, but he can certainly hang out in the States and volunteer at his 1L internship while the whole thing gets straightened out.

TL; DR: his story makes perfect sense. Go learn some immigration law before wielding accusations.

duckfan00
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Re: Internship Offer Accepted / Work Authorization Pending

Postby duckfan00 » Sun Apr 29, 2012 11:41 pm

Perhaps you can ask your lawyer to contact the respective USCIS detailing the situation and asking for a more expedited green card interview date...USCIS does have community relatins staff who might be able to assist...but definitely go through your immigration counsel and together you guys can get a plan...

Anonymous User
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Re: Internship Offer Accepted / Work Authorization Pending

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Apr 30, 2012 12:20 am

duckfan00 wrote:Perhaps you can ask your lawyer to contact the respective USCIS detailing the situation and asking for a more expedited green card interview date...USCIS does have community relatins staff who might be able to assist...but definitely go through your immigration counsel and together you guys can get a plan...

He does not need the green card, just the work authorization card, right? I think my husband's came something like two weeks after he filed. But maybe the processing time depends on the office. Dresden doll's suggestion seems like a good idea.

And okinawa, it makes perfect sense. The process is not that difficult if you entered the country legally. It does not matter if it was several years ago on a tourist visa. With us, our interview with ICE was under 5 minutes. She asked how we met and looked at our photo album and that was it.




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