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Can I bring a family member to the United States to work for me?
Hi, I'm Jim Hacking, an immigration lawyer, practicing law throughout the United States at our offices in St. Louis, Missouri, and San Diego, California. Three or four times a week, we are contacted by someone who wants to sponsor some distant cousin to come to the United States. They know that it's impossible for a US citizen, or a lawful permanent resident, to sponsor a cousin for any kind of immigration benefit.
I'm actually amazed at the creative ways that green card holders come to us and say, "Jim, we want to bring cousin Guido to the United States from Italy. What do we need to do? Can we have Guido come work as a nanny, or Guidette come work as a nanny? Can we have Guido come? He's a cook, and he knows our family recipes back from the home country." Or, "Cousin Guido is the world's best lawn care specialist." Or... People are, like I said, very creative in trying to figure out ways to get employment-based visas or Green Cards for their family members or immediate relatives.
For the most part, this is not going to work.
We got contacted just recently by a lady from Bosnia who has a niece with a lot of skills. And really, really, really, really, really, really, really wants to come to the United States. The US citizen lady here said that she'd be willing to sponsor her. And, "Oh Jim, oh Jim, oh Jim, isn't there a way for me to do this?" For the most part, I'm going to tell you NO.
Now you could get them in the nanny program. That's very difficult. And to think that they're going to match up with you, it's hard.
We also see this a lot where I've had people call me up and say, "Jim, I'm from India. My cousin is 20 years old. She really wants to come to the United States. She happens to speak the same language as my sick grandmother. My sick grandmother is here in the United States, and she needs a caregiver. Can we have our niece come take care of grandma?"
The hook is that they both speak the same language. That kind of stuff is not going to work. These kinds of arrangements are not going to work. USCIS is very, very smart on that. They know how to detect these. They know how to sniff out the relationship. For the most part, this is not going to work.
These family members, these distant cousins, are all in the same boat as everybody else. The only way to come is through employment, but it has to be like a specialty occupation, a legitimate job with a legitimate company where there's not this family relationship. They can come on a visit visa, a student visa, and those kinds of things.
So those are really your options. They're not going to be able to come to work for you. They're not going to be able to get them an au pair job or a nanny job, or any other kind of job for your little family unit. That's just not going to work. USCIS sort of knows those tricks, and that's most likely going to be denied.
We don't waste much time on these. It'll be nice to have this video. I can send it to people to explain to them why it doesn't work. But for the most part, USCIS is onto this, and even if you're a green card holder, you're not going to be able to pull this off, no matter how creative you are.
If you have questions about how to get or sponsor a family member here for work, or if you have an actual case that we can help with, give us a call at 314-325-9368. You can email us at [email protected]. Be sure to join us on our Facebook group, which is called Immigrant Home.
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Thanks a lot. Have a great day.