On 06.27.12 | In USCIS Blog, By USCIS Info
A sports exchange program which will bring 13 athletes to the United States has been announced by the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs of the US Department of State. Through this program, 13 athletes which includes 12 youth and a coach, will be brought to the United States from the 26th of June to the 9th of July. This sports exchange program is the 4th of its kind with Tunisia. This is a follow-up program on the basketball Sports visitor and Sports Envoys programs in 2008, 2010 and 2012.
The participants of this program will be given an opportunity to attend the 2012 USA Olympics Swimming Trials which will be held in Omaha, during the first half of their visit. They will also participate in a Special Olympics session in which they will interact and get trained with their American counterparts. Finally the delegation will participate in a series of intensive swimming clinics and strength and conditioning trainings along with the educational summer camp programs. The delegation will take part in swimming sessions and activities related to it, along with their American peers, throughout this two-week program. Moreover, they will also engage in educational sessions related to nutrition, resolution of conflicts and disability sports.
Athletes and coaches from a variety of sports have been chosen to conduct the swimming clinics and to visit schools. They will also engage with the foreign youth in a dialogue based on the values of positive health practices, education and the respect for diversity.
SportsUnited is the first sports exchange program of the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs at the US Department of State. SportsUnited has brought almost 1,000 athletes from more than 60 countries around the world to the United States, to take part in the sports visitor program, since 2003. Since 2005, it has sent around 220 athletes from the United States to 50 countries, to take part in the sports envoy program. Sports diplomacy is built on the “smart power” vision of Hillary Rodham Clinton, the Secretary of State. This program embraces a full scope of diplomatic tools to bring the individuals together and to promote greater understanding.
On 06.20.12 | In USCIS Blog, By USCIS Info
The Fiscal Policy Institute recently conducted a survey about the US immigrants. Through that survey it has found that almost 18 percent of small businesses in America are owned by US immigrants. These small businesses belonging to the US immigrants have lesser than 100 employees. Most small businesses have between 1-99 employees, yet form an important part of America’s economy. The report also shows that out of the total US population, 13 percent of the US residents are people who were born outside the United States. The foreign nationals account for 13 percent of the overall population of America.
Immigrant entrepreneurship in America is widely accepted and is considered to be an important aspect of the economic role played by the immigrants. The director of the Fiscal Policy Institute’s Immigration Research Initiative, David Dyssegaard Kallick expressed his views saying that the immigrants are playing an important role in establishing small businesses, which bring new energy to the overall landscape of the United States.
A New York based research organization, in its report states that the US immigrants have started around 538,551 small businesses over the past two decades. The number of small businesses started by the immigrants in America steadily started to increase in the year 2010, where the number of such small businesses rose to 4.9 million. More immigrants from Mediterranean and Middle Eastern countries are found to be the owners small business than immigrants from other countries. When compared it was found that immigrants to the United States from Greece own more small businesses than immigrants from Mexico.
Immigrants also play a major role in certain other sectors such as hospitality and leisure sectors. They make up a big share in this sector; they represent up to 28 percent of small businesses in these fields. US immigrants are also found to make up a bigger share of small dry cleaning, taxi and gas station owners. The income of the small business owners in the United States is more than the other US immigrants but their earnings are not more than the native small business owners of the United States. Most immigrants are business owners, but their businesses are smaller.
On 06.13.12 | In USCIS Blog, By USCIS Info
Flag Day 2012 and Naturalization Ceremonies
The 235th anniversary of the adoption of the Stars and Stripes as the national symbol is being celebrated by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). USCIS’ celebrations have taken the form of special naturalization ceremonies being held across the country to welcome thousands of new American citizens.
For information on the locations of these ceremonies, please visit the USCIS website.
H-1B Cap for FY 2013 Reached on June 11, 2012
USCIS has announced that it has reached the H-1B cap for the FY 2013. This cap is for H-1B petitions being filed by persons in specialty occupations with an employment start date in FY 2013. Specialty occupations require specialized knowledge and skills in fields like science, engineering and computer programming.
The cap was reached on June 11, 2012 and any application received after this date will be rejected. Complete applications that have been accepted and processed are those that were received on or before June 11, 2012. USCIS goes by the date on which they receive the applications and not the postmarked date.
Current H-1B workers do not fall under the H-1B cap. These H-1B visa holders can apply to the USCIS to extend their stay in the United States, to change the current terms of employment, to change the employer or to take up a concurrent H-1B position.
Persons applying for the H-1B visa in cap-exempt categories can continue to send their petitions to the USCIS. Generally, persons with advanced degrees fall into this category.
On 06.06.12 | In USCIS Blog, By USCIS Info
Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History, in association with USCIS launched “Preparing for the Oath: U.S. History and Civics for Citizenship“. Preparing for the Oath is a tool to help immigrants prepare for the civics portion of the US citizenship test.
The USCIS offers several resources to permanent residents who have applied for naturalization to prepare for the citizenship test and interview. According to USCIS Director Alejandro Mayorkas, “Preparing for the Oath is an invaluable addition to the citizenship preparation materials we offer to aspiring citizens. Using the Smithsonian Institution’s extensive collection, this online tool will help individuals learn about the founding principles of American democracy and the rights and responsibilities of citizenship in a meaningful way.”
Eligible permanent residents can apply for naturalization in order to become citizens of the United States. The process begins with filing form N-400, Application for Naturalization, completing the biometrics appointment and then appearing for the citizenship test and interview. Passing the test and interview means the person has qualified to become a US citizen and all that is left is for him or her to take the Oath of Allegiance.
Most applicants find the test and interview to be the toughest part of the whole process. The test is conducted to verify the applicant’s knowledge of English and understanding of US history and government. Preparing for the Oath helps with the preparation for the civics portion of the test. The test involves an immigration officer asking the applicant 10 questions out of a given list of 100 questions. The applicant has to answer at least 6 questions correctly in order to pass the test. Preparing for the Oath is based in the 100 questions and is organized according to themes like US history, civics and government. This tool is an interactive resource with videos and multi-media activities.
The tool includes questions which lead the user to explore the Smithsonian’s collection of artifacts. It includes a self test on civics questions and also a section for teachers who use this tool in citizenship classrooms. The tool was launched at a special naturalization ceremony held for 12 new citizens at the National Museum of American History. Former Secretary of State Dr. Madeleine K. Albright, USCIS Director Alejandro Mayorkas and Marc Pachter, interim director of the museum were part of the ceremony.
Marc Pachter said, “The naturalization ceremony and release of Preparing for the Oath highlight the strong partnership between USCIS and the Smithsonian. During the past four years, the two entities have worked together to provide immigrants, adult educators and the public with a better understanding of American history and the naturalization process.”