Author Archives: Steve Maggi

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About Steve Maggi

Steve Maggi is an immigration attorney & principal at SMA Law Firm in New York.

EMAIL: smaggi@smalawyers.com

BIO: About Steve

PHONE: 212-402-6885

Can Your Business Investment Bring You to the United States?
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Authored by , re: Immigration law, LAW RELATED ARTICLES, on .
Can Your Business Investment Bring You to the United States? | Steve Maggi

{3:00 minutes to read} Business owners and investors are using Treaty Investor visa, also known as the  E-2 visa, to set up shop in the US. The E-2 visa allows passport holders from any of the 80 E-2 countries that have treaties with the US to set up businesses in the US. Those businesses can be franchises or operations that the foreign national purchased.

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Entrepreneurial Visas: The Extraordinary Ability Visa – EB-1
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Authored by , re: Immigration law, LAW RELATED ARTICLES, on .
Entrepreneurial Visas: The Extraordinary Ability Visa – EB-1 | Steve Maggi

{4 minutes to read} One of the most underutilized visa categories is the EB-1, extraordinary ability green card. It is actually an employment-based category, but does not require an employer. The EB-1 can be used by individuals who are at the top of their fields and can self-sponsor their green card. Essentially the idea is for people not to be dependent on employers. If you have an employment based visa, you are always at the mercy of the employer:

  • Going bankrupt;
  • Downsizing;
  • Cutting staff;
  • Not renewing your visa;
  • Withdrawing sponsorship and thereby nullifying your status.

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Entrepreneurial Visas: EB-5, the Investor Green Card
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Authored by , re: Immigration law, LAW RELATED ARTICLES, on .
Entrepreneurial Visas: EB-5, the Investor Green Card | Steve Maggi

The EB-5 is an employment based green card which allows foreign nationals to invest money in projects or businesses that in turn create at least 10 full time jobs per investor. Regional centers have proliferated over the years but the trend in terms of investing is a more entrepreneurial one, called Direct Investment, which does not utilize a regional center.  Direct investment is where somebody can set up their own business, or purchase a business or franchise, and have a hands-on role in the management and operations of that business.

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Entrepreneurial Visas: L-1 Intra-Company Transfer Visa
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Authored by , re: Immigration law, LAW RELATED ARTICLES, on .
Entrepreneurial Visas: L-1 Intra-Company Transfer Visa | Steve Maggi

(5 minutes to read} In my last blog, I discussed the E-2 investor visa for entrepreneurs.  In this blog, I want to talk about another kind of entrepreneurial visa, which actually is a little broader in scope than the E-2. The E-2 is only available to people from countries that have treaties with the U.S.  There are approximately 80 countries around the world that have such a treaty, but since the BRIICS countries (Brazil, Russia, India, Indonesia, People’s Republic of China, South Africa) are among those which do not have a treaty, as well as more than 100 more, approximately two-thirds of the world’s population cannot qualify under E-2.

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Establishment of U.S. Hospitality Businesses is a Win-Win for Foreign National Investors and the U.S. Economy and Culture
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Authored by , re: Immigration law, LAW RELATED ARTICLES, on .
Establishment of U.S. Hospitality Businesses is a Win-Win for Foreign National Investors and the U.S. Economy and Culture | Steve Maggi

{5:36 minutes to read} The most international city in the U.S., New York City, is full of ethnic businesses, especially in the restaurant industry, where every nationality’s cuisines have representative places to eat. Fueling the growth of foreign fare restaurants is the E-2 investor visa. Immigrants with a reasonable amount of capital and a solid business plan to start a new company, or buy a business or franchise, can apply for the E-2 visa depending on their nationality(ies) and whether the U.S. has an investor treaty with their country(ies).

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A Cure for the “Shopping Visa?”
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Authored by , re: Immigration law, LAW RELATED ARTICLES, on .
A Cure for the “Shopping Visa?” | Steve Maggi

{3:18 minutes to read} USCIS announced on February 24th that they’re going to extend the eligibility for employment authorization to certain H-4 visa dependent spouses. An H-4 dependent spouse is the husband or wife of someone who holds an H1-B employment visa. The H4 Visa The H-4 visa has traditionally been considered useless except that it allowed spouses to be physically present in the U.S. This is because it does not allow the spouse to work and therefore has been nicknamed the “Shopping Visa.” Essentially, if you get an H1-B visa, you have up to 6 years to work for your employer, or other employers if you change sponsors, but unless your spouse changes from the H-4 to another visa that allows them to work, they literally have their hands tied as far as being able to find gainful employment. This has been problematic because it discourages married couples from coming to the U.S. under the H-1B category.

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A Great American
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Authored by , re: Immigration law, LAW RELATED ARTICLES, on .
A Great American | Steve Maggi

{3:45 minutes to read} When I was 11-years-old and in 6th grade, I was going to school in Spanish Harlem. That year, I read the slave narrative of Frederick Douglass. My class went to Douglass’ former residence in Anacostia, Washington, D.C., where he had lived (close to where I lived when I went to law school). His book and his legacy changed everything for me. Having originally come from Argentina, to the streets of New York, I could never have conceived or understood the horrors of slavery in the South. His autobiography opened my eyes.

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Covering All Bases in the H1-B Visa Process
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Authored by , re: Immigration law, LAW RELATED ARTICLES, on .
Covering All Bases in the H1-B Visa Process | Steve Maggi

{Time to Read: 4 minutes} Starting April 1, 2015, the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will begin accepting H1-B visa petitions, used by U.S. employers to hire skilled professionals from abroad. If lessons are to be learned from the last two years, employers who are serious about hiring a foreign national should start planning their strategy and preparing their paperwork NOW. What many employers do not realize is that two potential time-consuming obstacles exist that may make the process longer – measures that have to be taken before H-1B applications are accepted on April 1st.

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News! News! – – Start Getting Your Documents in a Row for Expanded DACA
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Authored by , re: Immigration law, LAW RELATED ARTICLES, on .
News! News! – – Start Getting Your Documents in a Row for Expanded DACA | Steve Maggi

{Time to Read: 1 1/4 minutes}  Since my last article was published on Executive Action and the new immigration reform, USCIS has announced that they will begin accepting applications for the now-expanded Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals initiative (DACA) on February 18, 2015. The basics are the following: Who: Individuals with no lawful immigration status who came to the United States under the age of 16, and are seeking protection from deportation and employment authorization.

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No News is No News – – Don’t Be Scammed on Immigration Reform
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Authored by , re: Immigration law, LAW RELATED ARTICLES, on .
No News is No News – – Don’t Be Scammed on Immigration Reform | Steve Maggi

[Time to Read: 3.2 mins]  We are almost a month into 2015 and so far there has been no news on immigration reform.  It looks like the regulations and the guidelines on the new remedies under the Executive Action won’t be released until at least mid-February. Expectations are that the extension of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), will probably begin sometime in February.

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New Year Brings Growth and Exciting Changes for SMA Law Firm!
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Authored by , re: Immigration law, LAW RELATED ARTICLES, on .
New Year Brings Growth and Exciting Changes for SMA Law Firm! | Steve Maggi

Time to Read: 3 mins] 2015 has just begun and already we have exciting news to share from SMA Law! New Year’s News  #1 The Melbourne, Florida office of SMA Law Firm was launched as of January 1, 2015.  Launching a Florida office was a logical step for SMA, given the large number of immigrants and Latin-based businesses located in the state. It is one of the top destinations for the expansion of companies and start-ups from Latin America. The contact information is: 3270 Suntree Blvd, Suite 2215 Melbourne, FL 32940 Phone: (321) 507-9015 Contact person: Damian Olivera Bergallo; Email: dolivera@smalawyers.com

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2015: Turning Over a New Leaf in Immigration?
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Authored by , re: Immigration law, LAW RELATED ARTICLES, on .
2015: Turning Over a New Leaf in Immigration? | Steve Maggi

Time to Read: 5.2 mins] The end of 2014 is almost here, so let’s look forward to 2015: What will be the effect of this immigration reform? I believe the primary effect of President Obama’s Executive Action will be to mobilize people who are undocumented. Potentially 5 million people can apply for the different remedies provided by the Executive Action, and if the majority of them apply, this will create momentum towards permanent change.

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5 Questions on Immigration Reform
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Authored by , re: Immigration law, LAW RELATED ARTICLES, on .
5 Questions on Immigration Reform | Steve Maggi

1. What are the reasons for the Executive Action announced by the President on November 20th? President George W. Bush gave a national TV address in May, 2006 to address the immigration problem in the U.S. and the need to reform the immigration system. He said that the vast majority of illegal immigrants were decent people who worked hard, supported their families, practiced their faith, and led responsible lives. They were a part of American life but they were beyond the reach and protection of American law.

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Immigration reform AFFECTS US ALL. Here’s how.
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Authored by , re: Immigration law, LAW RELATED ARTICLES, on .

We were strangers once too.

These 5 words not only stirred deep emotions in the millions of people watching President Obama announce immigration reform last week, but also reminded us of this nation’s roots and the common thread that we all share: We are a nation of immigrants, children, grandchildren, descendants of people from all over the world.

That has not changed but due to economic factors in a complicated world of economies of scale and widespread economic inequality, which has led to increased global migration, including increased movement to the U.S., a segment of undocumented and illegal people from other countries have formed a formidable “invisible” working class in the U.S. The result of this is almost 12 million undocumented people, some of whom are:

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Building the Bridge to Your American Dream
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Authored by , re: Immigration law, LAW RELATED ARTICLES, on .

We're pleased to announce that Steve Maggi will be in Amsterdam on November 14th, participating in a presentation entitled “Building the Bridge to Your American Dream.” The purpose of the presentation is to give businesses and entrepreneurs the tools they need to launch or expand their business operations into the United States. The presentation will take place November 14, from 1:30 PM to 4:30 PM Central European Time, and will include Q&A and networking session.

Steve Maggi will be focusing on visas, the legal steps necessary to qualify for them, and the best way for companies to plan each step of the process in step with their proposed launch dates.

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Proving Your Marriage Is Bona Fide
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Authored by , re: Immigration law, LAW RELATED ARTICLES, on .

When a United States national marries someone from another country, it is possible for them to live together in the United States. In order to do so, however, spouses must prove that theirs is a bona fide marriage. Keep in mind: The MORE documentation you can provide, the BETTER your case.

The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) specifically prohibits “Relationships entered into for purposes of evading immigration laws of the United States​.”

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A Word of Advice to Lawyers: Don’t Underestimate the Importance of Asking Your Clients Applying for U.S. Visas About Their Pasts
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Authored by , re: Immigration law, LAW RELATED ARTICLES, on .

When attorneys help their foreign-born clients apply for U.S. visas, it’s important that they ask them the tough questions upfront. Putting off or ignoring these inquiries can lead to big problems later in the visa process.

These are 2 of the most important questions that need to be asked:

- Have you ever been arrested or convicted of any crimes?

- Have you ever violated U.S. immigration law in the past, i.e. overstayed a visa or worked without authorization?

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The O-1 Visa For Extraordinary Ability: Not Just For Artists
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Authored by , re: Immigration law, LAW RELATED ARTICLES, on .

The O-1 visa for extraordinary ability can be used for a variety of situations. There is a misconception that it is only for artists, when it really applies to all people who are recognized in fields like sports, academics, science and business, as well as art.

Unlike the H-1B or other employment-based visas, there is no deadline, restrictions on home countries, or cap on the number of applicants who can apply for an O-1 visa. Also unlike the H-1B, the O-1 gives you flexibility in terms of length of visas and renewability, in addition to opening the door to a self-sponsored green card – which means you would no longer be dependent on any employer. Dependence on one employer is problematic in that your employment and visa are tied together, and the moment employment stops, like if the employer decides unilaterally to terminate or goes bankrupt, then your visa also terminates effective immediately.

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Think You’re All Set Just Because Your Visa Petition Has Been Approved Stateside? Think Again.
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Authored by , re: Immigration law, LAW RELATED ARTICLES, on .

Many foreign nationals trying to gain entry to the United States are under the impression that once their visa petitions have been approved in the U.S. that the process is essentially complete and they are “good to go”, with their visa stamp being automatic.

Unfortunately this is not the case.

In reality, many applicants are denied visas at U.S. embassies, even after initially being approved stateside. Visa petitioners can, and often are, denied at the embassy for any of the following reasons:

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Around The World: New York City Showed Off Its Colors For The World Cup
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Authored by , re: Immigration law, LAW RELATED ARTICLES, on .

Robin van Persie took a Superman-esque dive, propelling the ball 30-plus meters in the air with a quick movement of his head, and the ball went over the goalie’s extended arms and under the crossbar into the goal. The room erupted, and over 200 hundred people clad in orange let out a joyous scream in unison, while another 50 people, wearing white and a different shade of orange, let out an exasperated gasp. Everyone in the room was in shock, and we all realized that we had shared a moment we would never forget. The Netherlands had just tied the game with Spain in the 2014 World Cup, and you would have never guessed where we were, based on what was happening.

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La Acción Diferida para los programas de infancia se ha renovado
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Authored by , re: Immigration law, LAW RELATED ARTICLES, on .

Estados Unidos de Ciudadanía y Servicios de Inmigración (USCIS) ha anunciado que se está preparando para el La Acción Diferida para la Infancia Arrivals ( DACA ) proceso de renovación , y prevé desvelar una nueva forma de doble uso (Formulario I- 821D ) a finales de mayo . La forma cubrirá tanto a los solicitantes originales y de renovación. Los beneficiarios deben esperar hasta que USCIS publica la nueva forma antes de presentar sus solicitudes de renovación. Los que lo hacen querer renovar , recuerde que se deben presentar sus solicitudes por lo menos 120 días antes de la expiración de sus estados actuales . Para aquellos que no se han inscrito en DACA embargo , debe cumplir con cada uno de los siguientes requisitos para ser elegibles:

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Why Eligible Green Card Holders Should Apply For U.S. Citizenship
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Authored by , re: Immigration law, LAW RELATED ARTICLES, on .

Many green card holders residing in the United States have decided, for a variety of reasons, NOT to apply for U.S. citizenship. This decision can prove to be a huge mistake with disastrous consequences, including deportation.

There are a number of reasons people do not apply for citizenship, even though they are eligible to do so:

  • Lack of knowledge of the law: Many people are simply unaware of their legal statuses and what they mean. Without proper legal guidance, many immigrants do not even know that they can become citizens.

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The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program is being renewed.
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Authored by , re: Immigration law, LAW RELATED ARTICLES, on .

United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has announced that it is currently preparing for the The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) renewal process, and anticipates unveiling a new dual-use form (Form I-821D) in late May. The form will cover both original and renewal applicants. Recipients must wait until USCIS publishes the new form before submitting their renewal requests. Those who do wish to renew should remember that they must submit their applications at least 120 days before the expiration of their current statuses. For those who have not signed up for DACA yet, you must meet each of following criteria to be eligible:

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Understanding Business Visas 101
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Authored by , re: Immigration law, on .

Along with the Business Immigration Subcommittee of the New York City Bar Association, in cooperation with the New York City Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs, and the New York Law School Safe Passage project, I presented:

Understanding U.S. Business Visas 101

Attendees enjoyed a FREE educational presentation designed for foreign consular officials. The program explored some of the temporary and permanent U.S. business visas available to foreign nationals. The goal of this program is to help foreign nationals learn more about U.S. investment and work visas.

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Young Immigrants Can Take a Deep Breath: DACA Gets a Renewal Date
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Authored by , re: Immigration law, LAW RELATED ARTICLES, on .

The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program is being renewed.

United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has announced that it is currently preparing for the The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) renewal process, and anticipates unveiling a new dual-use form (Form I-821D) in late May. The form will cover both original and renewal applicants. Recipients must wait until USCIS publishes the new form before submitting their renewal requests. Those who do wish to renew should remember that they must submit their applications at least 120 days before the expiration of their current statuses.

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How U.S. Employers Can Fill H-1B Lottery-Caused Employment Gaps by Hiring Canadian Or Mexican Nationals Under the “TN Visa”
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Authored by , re: Immigration law, LAW RELATED ARTICLES, on .

Now that the H-1B visa lottery is set to begin, and no H-1B visas will be available until 2015, U.S. employers must begin to plan for a plan B. One great alternative allows them to look to their NAFTA neighbor countries, Mexico and Canada, to fill the holes caused by the inadequate H-1B quota.

Generally, when a foreign tional wants to come to the United States for any length of time, he or she must first obtain either a nonimmigrant visa to allow for a temporary stay, or an immigrant visa which can be used to work towards permanent residence.

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Los empleadores estadounidenses – Cruzar los dedos no es una estrategia buena: Cuotas H1B se agotaron en una semana señalando que es el momento de implementar el Plan B
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Authored by , re: Immigration law, LAW RELATED ARTICLES, on .

USCIS anuncia que los cupos H -1B se han agotado y se ha realizado la lotería para determinar cuáles aplican para la adjudicación. Debido a la falta de acción del Congreso sobre la reforma migratoria integral , EE.UU. Ciudadanía y Servicios de Inmigración ( USCIS) anunció ayer que la tapa por mandato del Congreso de 65.000 peticiones de H -1B para el año fiscal (FY ) 2015 se ha cumplido. USCIS también ha superado el límite de 20.000 peticiones de H -1B presentadas en virtud de la exención grado avanzado EE.UU.

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Cubriendo Todas las Bases del Proceso de H1 -B Visa
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Authored by , re: Immigration law, LAW RELATED ARTICLES, on .

A partir del 1 de abril de 2014 el Servicio de Ciudadanía e Inmigración de los Estados Unidos (USCIS) comenzará a aceptar solicitudes de visa H1- B, utilizado por los empleadores estadounidenses para contratar a profesionales cualificados del extranjero. Si las lecciones van a ser aprendidas del año pasado, los empleadores que son serios acerca de la contratación de un extranjero deben comenzar a planificar su estrategia y la preparación de sus papeles AHORA.

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USCIS Releases Information About DACA Renewal Process
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Authored by , re: Immigration law, LAW RELATED ARTICLES, on .

Written by on April 10, 2014 in Deferred ActionDREAM ActImmigration and Customs EnforcementStudentsUndocumented Immigration Yesterday, USCIS posted an update shedding light on what the renewal process for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program will look like. Though the notice is preliminary and subject to change, it offers over half a million DACA recipients vital information about what they should do to prepare for the road ahead.

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The E-3 Visa For Australian Nationals: Looking Down Under may solve problems created by H-1B’s many shortcomings
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Authored by , re: Immigration law, LAW RELATED ARTICLES, on .

In 2005, the United States created a new type of non-immigrant visa meant specifically for skilled Australian nationals, called the E-3 Visa.

E-3 visas apply only to nationals of Australia, as well as their spouses and children. The spouse and children are not required to be Australian citizens. The applicant for an E-3 visa must be a skilled worker who enters the country with the intention of working in a specialty occupation.

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