In our previous entry, we covered some basic information about how dangerous social networking sites can be to an immigration applicant. In this entry, we will cover some more of the specific information relating to certain pitfalls to avoid.
Besides the obvious things like posting inappropriate pictures of raucous parties, or any illegal activities, a lot of times simply the way you word something can get you in trouble.
For example, one of the major problem areas is when it comes to students. If you are a student who has just recently graduated, and are now working with a specific company with an optional practical training (OPT) card, you must be absolutely sure you do not list yourself as an employee of that company. While you are receiving training in such circumstances, you are not technically an employee, and reporting that information on social networking sites can be seen as trying to pass false information. Looking at it from the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services’ viewpoint, even if you have received your degree, you are still considered a student if you are receiving specialized training. The good news is that you are still able to list the employer, simply state that you are a trainee, and provide a clear and concise description of your duties at that company.
The opposite problem is common as well. If an individual is in the United States with a work visa, they are employed and sponsored by that one company alone. Many times individuals will have work visas, but list themselves as freelance employees. This is absolutely not true, and if any Immigration official reviewing your profile sees that information, it could cause an investigation to be launched into your file.
It is not uncommon to see people list completely different employers than the sponsor of their work visa, or no employer at all on public profiles. While you are not required by law to post your employer on all social networking sites, a good rule of thumb is do not post a job if you did not file a visa application for it.
Related to work, another problem that is commonly ran into is people incorrectly listing where they work. If you are in the United States on a work visa, especially an H-1B visa, then you should know that the visa is tied not only directly to an employer, but also to a geographic area. Even if you are working for the same company, but have been transferred to a new location, you absolutely do not want USCIS finding out about it by seeing it on a social networking profile and having to research. Technically, you could be considered in illegal status if you do not file papers indicating the move before it happens.
The main reason behind that rule is that the same exact job for the same exact company will have different pay requirements depending on where the job is to performed. A job in the area you are currently in could easily pay $10-15,000 more/less than the similar job performed in a different area.
In all cases relating to immigration, it is always a good idea to consult with an experience immigration attorney to ask for legal advice pertaining to your specific situation.