June 15, 2005
Last Thursday we met with the premier immigration lawyer in Maine. The 1 hour (& costly) visit was well worth our time and money. During our consultation we were able to get clarification on the green card process. One of the things we learned, that was a confirmation of what we already had researched, is that the process is tedious and requires real commitment by your employer. It's not simple and you have to have an employer who is willing to go that distance with you. Part of that distance involves considerable cost - both the lawyer fees and the government processing fees. Roughly $15,000 for our family, maybe more (this is actually a very reasonable cost as big city lawyers are more costly). For us to find an employer (in Central Maine) willing to jump through the hoops with us and pay the fees is rather unlikely, although not impossible. (Of note, Damien did get a bite from his resume from a California company willing to sponsor our green card - but they weren't willing to pay us what it would cost to live there).
Another thing we learned is that the government recently changed the processing times so that instead of taking 3-4 years it now takes 16-18 months. Our major concern with Damien's current employer was that they hadn't started the application yet and time was running out for them to do that, as we have only 4 years left on our visa. So now we actually have a couple more years before we "must" apply for our green cards (although we'd like to apply sooner to give us some cushion).
Damien's employer has told us explicitly that they want to sponsor our green cards and want to pay for it - just that they are not able to right now. The fact that they want to do this for us is a major hurdle in itself. Finding another employer willing to do this would be difficult. In addition, the financial situation has improved at Damien's job and they are more stable now than they were even 2 months ago.
Based on this meeting with the lawyer and the current situation at Damien's job we feel confident taking a step of faith and moving forward to buy a house here in central Maine. This is where we feel at home.
I'm so happy that we are back to this step again. Living in limbo was difficult and although we don't have 100% certainty about the road ahead we feel this is the right step to take at this time.
So, yaaa... We're back looking for a home - dreaming & scheming how we can get into the house of our dreams - well not quite. The house we can afford that fits the needs of our family. We will definitely keep you posted as we go.
Thanks for your prayers, love and concern.
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