Perspectives

February 2, 2009
“Slumdog” immigrant waits for U.S. Green Card lifeline

More than half of all Silicon Valley startup companies had one or more highly-skilled immigrants as key founders, according to a Duke University study.

As unemployment continues to spike in the U.S., highly-skilled immigrants are more vulnerable to lose their jobs and their visas.

The U.S. issues up to 65,000 H-1B work visas each year for highly-skilled professionals. Foreign-born architects, engineers, computer programmers, accountants, doctors and other skilled workers are eligible to come to America under these visa provisions.

Each year, approximately 20,000 more H-1B visas are reserved for those with master’s or doctoral degrees from the U.S.

Holders of this visa can stay for a maximum of six years and apply for a Green Card and permanent residence if sponsored by their company. But applicants often wait in line for years, and up to 500,000 H-1B visa holders are waiting for a green card.

Rajeet Mohan is an Indian living in the U.S. on an H-1B visa. He shares his frustrating immigration experience and offers some solutions to retain and leverage highly-skilled immigrants in the U.S.

“Slumdog” Immigrant

Click to listen: Online radio show on reverse brain drain.

I saw the movie “Slumdog Millionaire” the weekend after my Green Card application had been denied.

So many threads from the main character Jamal’s childhood connect to the moment he’s sitting in the hot seat of “Who wants to be a Millionaire?” competing for 20 million rupees. The movie made me think of how U.S. immigration policies seem to have played such a big role in shaping my destiny in this country and how I have no control over the results. This is my story of patience and frustration for the elusive “greener pastures” in my life.

A lot has been written and debated about the approximately 11 million undocumented immigrants residing in the U.S., however, little is published on highly-skilled immigrants.

Who is a highly skilled immigrant? For the purpose of my story, it represents an individual (like me) who has earned a master’s degree or higher from an American university, and holds a job for which an American citizen wasn’t available.

The life cycle of the legal immigrant is well defined: An F-1 student visa, followed by an H-1B (valid for six years) and — if the Goddess Fortuna blesses him/her — the prized Green Card (U.S. permanent resident card).

I came to the U.S. from India on Jan. 3, 1998 with $1,000 in Traveler’s checks and $500 in cash — just enough to buy a return ticket if there was an urgent situation back home. Little did I realize that on that day I had stepped into the “slumdog” immigrant life cycle — a legal process of immigration that is so painful and uncertain that if I were ever to advise potential immigrants willing to take this path, I would oppose the decision with the same level of intensity that Lou Dobbs so effectively uses to make his case against illegal immigrants.

I completed my master’s degree and went on to work for some of the finest American companies as an employee and a consultant. My Green Card application was filed in October 2002. After six years in line, I have never seen the Green Card and I’m not sure if I ever will get to see one.

The reason: I changed jobs three years ago. Though the American Competitiveness in the 21st Century Act has made job changes for immigrants easier after a specified period of time, my case falls into what was a loophole in the system. In 2006, it was technically legal for my former employer to “transfer” my status (without my knowledge) to another immigrant professional when I left my job. This practice was addressed and made illegal by Homeland Security in 2007.

How I found out: I logged on to my computer this past Thanksgiving to check my application status, as I often do, and it abruptly said “canceled.” I was not notified three years ago when I switched jobs or even now. Modern technology today allows us to track every packet via FedEx or UPS, so why do immigration applications, which are so crucial to the U.S. government and the applicant, get lost in a service center “black hole”?

Defenders of USCIS say that there is a process to appeal such decisions, which I’m in the process of doing. The problem is that there is no definite time line for the appeals process to be resolved and usually the legal immigrant has to finally use his $1,500 to go back to his home country.

I have listed several problems here, but the consultant in me wants to offer some solutions so that highly-skilled immigrants who find themselves in this predicament have more options than to simply quit their jobs, unwind their assets and return to their home countries.

I’m a firm believer of free market principles and having a good understanding of supply and demand (something I still remember from business school), I propose the following solutions to the legal immigrants’ problem of being in the dark during the Green Card process.

1. Decouple the link between the employer and the applicant after a specific stage in the Green Card process. In other words, take the middle-man employer or sponsor out of the process and make the contract between the immigrant and the government. I’m confident that this action will unleash the full potential of highly-skilled immigrant populations and America has all to gain from it — especially in today’s tough economic environment.

2. In return for action mentioned in the first solution and the assurance of the Green Card, immigrants with master’s degrees or higher, should donate their time and expertise. For two hours a week for one year, these highly-skilled immigrants should teach/tutor kids of U.S. citizens. I am proud of the strong foundation of the Indian schooling system, especially when it comes to math and science. Both Alan Greenspan and Thomas Friedman have highlighted the huge gap in math and science education for American kids. Their analysis predicts detrimental long-term impact. Their writings enunciate how this knowledge gap could lead America to potentially lose its innovative spirit.

Leveraging the skills of these immigrants could herald a new dimension to the grassroots movement that seems to be taking shape and ultimately restore America to the greatness for which we all left our homeland. The recent changes in the American political landscape have given me “hope.” President Barack Obama’s call for grassroots movement made me think of what immigrants could do for their adopted country.

So, back to me as the “slumdog immigrant.” I’m in the “hot seat” situation as I wait for my rejected Green Card application to be reconsidered. The motion I will be filing has no expected resolution date and since my current work visa (my current backup) is valid only until June 15, 2009, my hopes now rest on the astronomical alignment of my fate. If my application doesn’t get reconsidered by June 15, I must quit my job, sell my house, unwind my assets and return to India.

I don’t doubt that I can find work in India, and certainly, my family is there. But my wife, 2-year-old son and I have made a life and home in the U.S. and want to stay.

In the game show, the contestant has one opportunity to use a “lifeline” to choose A, B, C or D. In my case, the only “lifeline” I have is to dial 1-800-375-5283 — USCIS Customer Service.

- Rajeet Mohan

The views expressed by contributing bloggers do not reflect the views of Worldfocus or its partners.

Photo courtesy of Flickr user ario_j under a Creative Commons license.

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Comments

56 comments

#56

To all my Indian fellow countrymen,
We came to he United States and gave our best to study, create ideas, foster growth, while never having belonged to this land. We will always be treated as outsiders and if you see the history of the US , as far as social development goes, it is a far closed and a racist society than many nations. I worked with a firm for some of the most challenging projects ever built and my patience and perseverance lead to the best project ever built. I got very little recognition and appreciation because I was after all a foreigner. My company has refused to file for my Green Card ( I totally agree with their stand) as many Americans are jobless.When I learned about this, I decided to boot and leave immediately because my career is more precious to me than living in a particular nation. My employed had to pay me a bonus to keep me on the job considering the immense complexities of the project.
However, I urge all Indian nationals to work towards a return plan earlier than later. Please remember that the best you can do is in India and not in the US. Let us all give back to the nation that once accounted for 30% of the world ’s creative and industrial output. The tide is changing fast and lets grab it. Let us not complain because the more energy we spend changing India will be more rewarding than changing the US. The real harsh truth is that the US was founded by people who were highly religious and subjected all indigenous races in the US to in-calculabe misery, including slavery, racism etc. It is a democracy but it will a long time before it can be a completely just society. In India we all have to work toward turning the clock of 175 years of British exploitation and we can be the nation we wanted once again.
Jai Hind to all my Indian friends.

#55

Thanks to America, which gave me good education, best work experience of 12 years. Now I have been rejected my application. So I am going back to china. But with lots of confidence, happiness and definitely will do better in my country and will prove that future is ours. This is called brain drain. I have earned enough to live my rest of life happily and help others too. I will start my own venture in my country and help others to get jobs. The only thing I am concerned is about the investment which I did here. I bought houses here with my hard earned money which I am losing. I thought this is my world and can be my home country. But I realized I am a foreigner. Thanks to my american friends who were so nice to me.

#54

I have to agree with the author of the article, that the legal immigration system in US is broken. But the kind of attention “illegal immigration” garners, legal immigration issues would be not paid attention. For some people, H1-Bs are disposable goods, with a world view that is so screwed up. I am not saying all the H1-Bs are the best and the brightest. Go to any Ivy League or reputed institution and check-out the Ph.D. and Masters programs of science/engineering. 50% are foreign nationals, for many of them it is natural sequence of things to try to settle down in US. Mr.AmericaWorx, it is not that we are entitled to nothing, the problem there is a process we are willing to follow, but there is too much gray area in USCIS that it is at times random and unreasonable. There should predictable set of bench-marks that one has to qualify and hence achieve his immigration status.

#53

Well, to an extent one cant disagree with AmericaWorx. I’m an Indian on H1B and as much as I would like to disagree, the fact is, that we are Temporary Workers. We should expect to leave the country when needed.

However I would also like to raise a point of overall trend. The Decision to allow or disallow H1Bs is taken by the American Govt. in the best interest of the nation and American citizens. The rise of Chinese manufactured goods in the US and the rise of H1B workers in USA are both effects of the same cause - which is a gradual dissolving of International Boundaries for Commerce and Business. Whether one likes it or not, in the future, globally, it appears this trend will continue. South Africa will make the most Diamonds, China/Taiwan will make the most electronics and India will make the most Software. It’s a change/trend that the American Govt and the American businesses both understand and appreciate. You cannot look at the issue of joblessness due to H1B workers (Even if it’s true) in isolation. Global economics are complex.

Do consider this.

#52

why do u guys want to go to the states anyway. stay in india..or go to australia or europe. much nicer places. America is a land of immigrants anyway. Dont know why people living there think of themselves above the immigrants coming in now. Its not that US citizens CANT do the jobs of immigrants - some can. But not very many. E.g. you may have 200 citizens that can do a particular job. But you may need 500 workers. Thats when immigrants come in. Places like india and China (populations over 1 billion) are fullof high skilled workers - doctors, scientists, engineers. They arent hired for cheap labor - theyre hired b/c there arent enough of them in the states - a modern country which needs these guys to keep it going. If you dont want to lose your job, go to uni and do a good degree. Problem is in the states most people dont go to uni..thats why you see non skilled aged people rushing to universities and applying for courses -to save their jobs.

America was the plce to be a few years ago but nobody can deny that its no longer the land of opportunity it used to be - i would know, my uncle moved there in the early 90s and is now a citizen of the states.

#51

It is so sad that in the year 2009, we still have ignorant racists make comments like “go home” when their predecessors were immigrants who went through the same struggle of migrating to a new country. These idiots are angry and envious because someone better than them, with more skills got the job they could not get. Rajeet, I wish you the best of luck and I really hope you find a way to stay here if it is your wish. There are other avenues, just consult an attorney. You were smart enough, and capable to work your way to achieve what you have achieved, so don’t let envious people get in your way.

Americans don’t like us immigrants because we work much harder than them. We have more ambition, a great many of us speak more than two languages, we have our priorities straight. They however, don’t even learn the second national language of this country, spanish. They don’t make the effort to learn about other people’s cultures, and thus have nowhere else to go, and are stuck here. Their priorities are twisted which is why immigrants who come here far surpass them in success.

It is clear that America is the land of the free, it is what it was founded on. Which is why so many people from all over the world want to come here. We want the freedom to educate ourselves, the freedom to work, and the opportunity to provide for our families. I am from Senegal, West Africa. My parents brought me here solely for education. Trust me, I do not plan on staying where I am not welcomed. But at the same time, I will stay until I have the necessary resources, finances and education I need to go home and assist in the development of my country. Americans think that if they tolerate immigration, they will soon become the minority, that they won’t have a say in their own country. Hey, its Karma. When their predecessors came, they completely wiped out Native Americans. Well guess what, immigrants are a part of this country, and we will always be. The only difference is that the first immigrants were white. Modern day immigrants are people of color. Times are changing so open your eyes you racist idiots. America is not white anymore! Accept it and move on! Its about time we reclaim our place in the world. People of color are taking over the world, and we’re starting with America.

#50

It is so sad that in the year 2009, we still have ignorant racists make comments like “go home” when their predecessors were immigrants who went through the same struggle of migrating to a new country. These idiots are angry and envious because someone better than them, with more skills got the job they could not get. Rajeet, I wish you the best of luck and I really hope you find a way to stay here if it is your wish. There are other avenues, just consult an attorney. You were smart enough, and capable to work your way to achieve what you have achieved, so don’t let envious people get in your way.

Americans don’t like us immigrants because we work much harder than them. We have more ambition, a great many of us speak more than two languages, we have our priorities straight. They however, don’t even learn the second national language of this country, spanish. They don’t make the effort to learn about other people’s cultures, and thus have nowhere else to go, and are stuck here. Their priorities are twisted which is why immigrants who come here far surpass them in success.

It is clear that America is the land of the free, it is what it was founded on. Which is why so many people from all over the world want to come here. We want the freedom to educate ourselves, the freedom to work, and the opportunity to provide for our families. I am from Senegal, West Africa. My parents brought me here solely for education. Trust me, I do not plan on staying where I am not welcomed. But at the same time, I will stay until I have the necessary resources, finances and education I need to go home and assist in the development of my country. Americans think that if they tolerate immigration, they will soon become the minority, that they won’t have a say in their own country. Hey, its Karma. When their predecessors came, they completely wiped out Native Americans. Well guess what, immigrants are a part of this country, and we will always be. The only difference is that the first immigrants were white. Modern day immigrants are people of color. Times are changing so open your eyes you racist bastards. America is not white anymore! Accept it and move on! Its about time we reclaim our place in the world. People of color are taking over the world, and we’re starting with America.

#49

May be US companies should just hire US citizens and sell their products to themselves. DONT SELL YOUR STUFF TO OTHER COUNTRIES. We are cheap labor because that is what we provide. And you are rich because you make quality products. If we cant sell what we can provide in your country, you shouldn’t sell your stuff in other countries either. How about that? What if we block Google or don’t buy pepsi? Why not Walmart just sell “Made in USA”? How about paying $100 for your cheap t-shirt? Where you gonna get your billions or trillions? And, what if foreign govt just stop buying your bonds? where you gonna get money for your stimulus packages?
Life is not simple, and you are not alone in this planet. hope you wont learn in it harder way.
And, hey, I like this country too for its rule of law and respect for human rights. But like your hollywood said, “With great power comes great responsibility.”. A little humility wont hurt either.

#48

All H1b’s,
1) You are not immigrants, you are temporary workers. Nothing more. When there is debate as to whether there should be higher or lower H1B visas granted - it should be based solely on demand. At this point - there is no argument that demand for qualified workers is low, therefore the import of foreign workers should cease altogether. Show me the shortage, and I will show you tens/hundreds of thousands of highly educated unemployed US citizens.
2) As such, do not tell American citzens who are the descendants of true immigrants how the game is played.
3) You are not the ‘best and the brightest’ - the United States was thriving and leading the world in all technologoies before you arrived. You are just cheap labor - I think that is an accepted fact.
4) When this talk of the H1B temporary workers turns to these studies of how they create jobs - that is pure nonsense. Of those hundreds of thousands of purported jobs that were created by H1B led companies - how many were jobs for other H1Bs (bodyshops and other consulting firms that hire nothing but other H1Bs) that put additional US citizens out of work. I would like some numbers on that if you have them.
5) If you feel that the US government owes you something - go to the back of the line, this is supposed to be the government that represents the interests of the actual citizens of the United States. Your opinions or stories of woe are not going to cut it here - you don’t count. If you feel you need to have some influence, go back to your own country of citizenship and gripe there. US Policies are meant to address the concerns of US citizens, regardless of how often that has NOT been the case in the recent past.
6) I have seen the impact of your invasion here - and I am feeling it myself. It is time for the US to take care of itself first, and if the representatives that the US populace has put into office do not attend to their needs, then the citizenry themselves will attend to it. It will take dire circumstances such as the United States finds itself in today - but soon there will be protests, violence, and US citizens in the streets demanding that the government addresses the needs of the US citizens.
6) Don’t tell me about the sacrifices you have made. I have made many myself. I was initially in a manufacturing environment, and when that started getting outsourced I made the switch to high-tech (IT). I sacrificed a great deal and paid for all of my own education - all of it while working full-time - in the hopes that it would lead to a more stable and prosperous future for myself and my family. I am not going to do it again. I think once is enough in anyone’s lifetime.
7) It is time for the US to look out for itself - in all respects. When other countries try to dump steel, or memory chips, or any other product in the US, there are protections in place to prevent that - why not with IT workers?

#47

To all such people like you, why do you want to keep begging. Why can’t you work for your own country and try to make it something like America. I am sure someone might have put up a real effort to make America a great country, why cannot you do that in your OWN country, instead of praying to a foreign government to allow you to stay and work in their country. Have some selfrespect, being highly educated. Come back to your country and help it grow, and rest assured that no one can ask you to leave.

#46

To all such people like you, why do you want to keep begging. Why can’t you work for your own country and try to make it something like America. I am sure someone might have put up a real effort to make America a great country, why cannot you do that in your OWN country, instead of praying to a foreign government to allow you to stay and work in their country. Have some selfrespect, being highly education. Come back to your country and help it grow, and rest assured that no one can ask you to leave.

#45

Well the fact of the matter is that at this day and time there’s plenty of skilled technical us employees looking for jobs. IBM, Microsoft, the banks, and Google just fired tens of thousands of people in the last few months. Thousands of whom were likely programmers, network administrators, and other people with Masters and Doctorate degrees capable of doing the needed skilled labor that companies are clamoring for. Yet companies like the one I work for still hire almost nothing but foreigners for these positions…. I have a feeling this “massive shortage of highly skilled labor” has something to do with the fact that they can pay indian programmers 10 grand a year less than american programmers, and they won’t jump ship after 1 or 2 years of being underpaid because they need their work visa sponsored.

#44

1.Today more than 8% people are jobless in USA, these all are not replaced by H1B workers, you can calculate what is the population of USA and how many H1B workers are in USA.
2. If the all H1B workers return back to own countries the numbers of unemployed workers in USA would also increase as H1B workers are providing jobes for USA citizens

#43

Well i am an indian student
plannin 2 come 2 the states
on
an F1..i just wanna say tht
maybe …jus maybe…H1b visa
applicants get the jobs cause
they have the capability 2 do
extremely well in such jobs..
being an indian student i
know
the extreme levels of stress
we
cope up with here 2 do well..
i
know how hard i have worked

2 get approved by a univ in
USA..And i know how hard i
will
work once i come der…cause
i
am gonna stay away from
family and friends…and try
and
do somethin 4 myself…maybe

the employers over der c all
this before they employ us..
and
US Economy was at its peak
thanx 2 the immigrants…
cause
they possess the zeal to work

hard..dont u think that is an
additional factor for us being
employed…and dude..its not
like we dont know english…i
can tok 4 myself and say i got

112 out of 120 in my TOEFL..
quit considering ppl inferior 2
u..maybe this is y we
supposedly “steal” ur jobs…
cause of our humility…and the

fact that we dont consider
anyone below us..honestly
think
bout this…maybe the
employers c something in
immigrants that they dont c in

US citizens..

#42

Well i am an indian student
plannin 2 come 2 the states on
an F1..i just wanna say tht
maybe …jus maybe…H1b visa
applicants get the jobs cause
they have the capability 2 do
extremely well in such jobs..
being an indian student i know
the extreme levels of stress we
cope up with here 2 do well..i
know how hard i have worked
2 get approved by a univ in
USA..And i know how hard i will
work once i come der…cause i
am gonna stay away from
family and friends…and try and
do somethin 4 myself…maybe
the employers over der c all
this before they employ us..and
US Economy was at its peak
thanx 2 the immigrants…cause
they possess the zeal to work
hard..dont u think that is an
additional factor for us being
employed…and dude..its not
like we dont know english…i
can tok 4 myself and say i got
112 out of 120 in my TOEFL..
quit considering ppl inferior 2
u..maybe this is y we
supposedly “steal” ur jobs…
cause of our humility…and the
fact that we dont consider
anyone below us..honestly think
bout this…maybe the
employers c something in
immigrants that they dont c in
US citizens..

#41

Nope, I have my H1B and I didn’t get laid off like many of my friends in financial Industry. Infact I am getting promoted and I am going back soon as there it is better in my home country than in US, and I can much more bang for the buck there than here. Moreover, I don’t know why USA never feels like home.

#40

Hey Pro India,
Lost your sweet H-1B gig didn’t you?

#39

Plain Truth: Capitalism will always rule as it has for centuries. Companies will seek best talent (if not H1b then by offshoring) Suck it up and seek opportunties soon outside USA, as by the time you realize it India/China may have their H1-B program in place for US citizens and you will be in line for Indian Citizenship …….. not a dream but future….

FYI: I am not a techie and earn more than $150K, and wanted to post this as I am moving for good out of this country because I want to be in my Land, where opportunities are much much much more than USA…

#38

THE PLAIN TRUTH: THERE ARE AMPLE US CITIZENS TO TAKE THE JOBS. HOWEVER THE H1 IS WILLING TO TAKE IT FOR 10000 TO 20000 LESS. THAT IS WHY THE EMPLOYER FINDS WAYS TO CLAIM HE CANNOT FIND A CITIZEN.

#37

Finally the U.S. senate is listening to the voters who put them there.

Senate approves restriction on foreign hires

#36

H1B Victom - Who are you directing your comments too because you are mixing up the people and their situations?

Am really looking forward to voting.

What has TARP to do with immigration and H1’s.

Since you are incapable of having a cogent discussion and clearly smoking something, it’s time for the rest of us to ignore such morons.

#35

I might be, but “I” get to stay here.

“You” got to go back to being a slumdog from where ever it is that you don’t want to go back to.

Are you now going to sue the Senators too who voted for the TARP package which royally screws H-1Bs.

I am so happy this evening! I am watching this pass with glee. Next step is to scrap the entire H-1B program. The elected officials finally know what side their bread is buttered on. The voters are watching.

How ya like me NOW “Denied_Applicant”!

Wouldn’t you like to be a voter too!

#34

H1b Victim now changes their tune after directing his/her comments against me and VC’s, telling me to go home and now says he was responding to article above.

Either way, you are one confused xenophobic, racist, uneducated and incoherent individual.

#33

Not Indian? Since when?

I have been responding to the poster of the above article who wrote:

“Rajeet Mohan is an Indian living in the U.S. on an H-1B visa. He shares his frustrating immigration experience and offers some solutions to retain and leverage highly-skilled immigrants in the U.S.”

” came to the U.S. from India on Jan. 3, 1998 with $1,000 in Traveler’s checks and $500 in cash — just enough to buy a return ticket if there was an urgent situation back home”

#32

By the way, we are not an outsourcing firm nor a body shop. If you had intelligence and really read the postings, you would have figured.

We are a multinational firm from the biggest trading partner with the U.S. - the U.K. (If you don’t know where that is, look it up. We are nowhere near India.) And yes, we are the VC and deal with other VC’s and investors. We don’t give money back. Clearly you have no clue about how international business works nor the VC world or the start up world.

You might consider getting an education like an MBA before making such hideous stupid comments H1B VICTIM!!! Keep going mate as you are showing yourself up to all here.

#31

The very fact that you identify yourself as H1B Victim means you have a VICTIM mentality. Grow up. Get over it.

#30

What an idiot. I’m British not from India. Just goes to prove you are xenophobic.

As for my case, it is only denied because USCIS lost paperwork in my file, nothing to do with my qualifications. IDIOT! The Federal courts give me due process. When Govt. depts. disobey laws set by Congress, there are consequences. And no I am not going to just go home when I have made roots here and bought a house. Oh, now you don’t want people to buy houses and help the economy.

You are a complete disgrace to humanity!

#29

“I” have an axe to grind?

With due respect, I’m not the one with a lawsuit out there.

I, on the other hand, can accept rejection and move on.
Everybody has to face rejection at some time in their life, you don’t have to take it so personally.

People are rejected every day. Some accept it, other resort to
stalking and harassing the object of their desire. You my friend, fall
into the second group with the object of your obsession being a green card.

Now please take your beautiful wife and adorable son and move back to India.
You have been rejected by the U.S.A.

It happens.

There are many other foreigners from India who are welcome. You
are just not one of them. Accept it and move on.

I assure you the U.S.A does not need another bodyshop or outsourcing firm.

(You are just going to have to find another way to pay back the VC the money you
took from them.)

#28

HiB Victim: Are you a CEO of a firm? DO you have a remotest knowledge of how to run a business? People are selected on a lot more than a piece of paper showing a degree. You have such an axe to grind that you don’t even have respect for those running businesses. What’s worse is your dogmatic attitude when given the facts. I’ve conducted hiring for our clients in all sorts of areas (and they are all Americans), so I see the quality of people applying with so called business degrees etc.
Employers would much rather employ an American and avoid the costs and constant audits and reams of paperwork associated with an H1’s. It’s a bloody nightmare preferably avoided.

What part don’t you understand? Either you are indeed stupid or just a mere xenophobic. Either way, you are a very sad human being and a disgrace to your country.

#27

This is a bold face lie:

“For a year now, we have been looking to hire a person to help me out, we need someone who has a background in IT consulting, with solid math, programming and business understanding. Great salary and benefits. We have not been able to find anyone that can do the job.”

There are too many laid off highly skilled and experienced STEM workers and recent graduates for that to be remotely possible.

#26

H1-B victim. For a year now, we have been looking to hire a person to help me out, we need someone who has a background in IT consulting, with solid math, programming and business understanding. Great salary and benefits. We have not been able to find anyone that can do the job.

Americans want to study only the easy stuff, there are not enough americans that go to college nor that graduate in math, science, engineering, etc. There are not enough americans with high skills nor are they interetested in getting them

So now you have a country of fools, the smart people will go somewhere else, along with the companies that want to hire them.

#25

Maintaining America’s Global Competitiveness in a Time of World Economic Crisis

Cite as “AILA InfoNet Doc. No. 09020372 (posted Feb. 3, 2009)”
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Tuesday, February 3, 2009

WASHINGTON, DC — America’s economy is in a tailspin. As our nation struggles to reverse the downward spiral and get back on course, America’s H-1B program has come under fire. And when H-1B’s are discussed, emotions run high. Recent articles have targeted the program as ‘anti-American” and “unpatriotic,” but what exactly is America’s H-1B program designed to do? Let’s set the record straight!

The H-1B program is a long-standing part of our nation’s business immigration system. It was developed to give U.S. employers access to highly skilled, professional foreign talent (often students who have been educated here in U.S. universities) for up to six years and as a means for U.S. companies to stay ahead in their respective global markets. Data proves that H-1B petitions track the economy. When hiring is down, the number of H-1B petitions goes down. The program is self-adjusting. However, when the economy improves, there is no corresponding escalator. Thus, during the boom years, businesses were hamstrung by a quota that did not take into account the needs of the international marketplace. The program remained capped at 65,000 visas per year for bachelor’s degree positions, with another 20,000 for advanced degree holders who graduated from U.S. universities.

Now that the economy is not booming, judicious admission of international professionals is more important than ever. Where the program was used to fill in labor shortages that no longer exist, companies have stopped using H-1B workers in those occupations. But even companies that have been laying off workers need isolated, specific skills to better compete in the international marketplace and effect their own recovery. U.S. businesses MUST have access to specialty skills without having to locate operations outside the U.S. to obtain them. Otherwise, the entire nation’s economic recovery will be severely hobbled.

There remain vital areas that require that our system make adequate provision for future needs. Studies have shown that over the next ten years, the U.S. may need two million more K-12 teachers in this country. We will also need 250,000 new math and science teachers by the end of 2010. Further, nearly 80 million baby boomers are expected to leave the workforce sometime soon. In 2004, the U.S. produced 137,000 new engineers, compared to China’s 352,000. It is well-documented that America is well behind the curve in producing sufficient skilled professionals to make our country “tomorrow’s center” for innovation. Recent economic events have not changed these facts; they have made it all the more important that we deal with them.

The H-1B visa category is used by universities, school districts, hospitals, research organizations, and businesses competing in our global marketplace to fill needed specialty occupations. “Let’s say a school district in rural Iowa or in poor urban area of Chicago needs a math or science teacher to help students be prepared to compete and innovate in our global economy,” said Charles H. Kuck, President of the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA). “Does it really make sense for our children to go without, or should we encourage the entry of qualified educators from abroad? What about our research institutions developing new medical cures or our hospitals trying to care for an increasingly large aging population? We have to recognize that while not a panacea, the H-1B visas program, when used according to law, provides a critical resource to help drive our future economic success.”

Hiring the H-1B professional seems like a good solution so long as the reason for lack of interest by U.S. workers is not low pay and as long as protections are in place to ensure that qualified U.S. workers are not replaced by foreign labor. In fact, H-1B regulations require that workers on these visas are paid the HIGHER of the prevailing wage or the actual wages of comparable U.S. workers within the company. This wage protection insures that H-1B professionals are not used as “cheap labor. In addition, H-1B regulations do not allow a company to use the H-1B category to break a strike or lockout - or to replace U.S. workers laid off the same job,” Kuck stated. “In other words,” Kuck noted, “protections against those abuses already are in the law.”

In addition to the wage protections in the law, the fact is that H-1Bs cannot be “cheap labor.” H-1Bs are hired at a high transaction cost. The government charges most employers $2,320 per application, on top of the additional legal and human resource expenses that come with an H-1B hire. Also, if the H-1B worker is fired, the employer must buy his plane ticket home-an often expensive proposition.

To put the impact of H-1B professionals in perspective, with a U.S. workforce of about 145 million, the new H-1B allotment each year accounts for less than one-tenth of one percent of the U.S. workforce.

Enforcement of the H-1B protections and requirements is critical to create a level playing field for employers and employees alike, which is why part of the fees paid by H-1B sponsoring employers are used to fund the enforcement of the H-1B regulations, as well as training programs for U.S. workers. Penalties for failing to comply with the labor protections of the H-1B category as to wages, posting requirements, etc. include a provision that a company may be barred from serving as an H-1B petitioner in the future. The typical legally compliant company uses the H-1B category because it needs skilled professionals to enhance competitiveness. This need continues in specific specialty niches in our economy, even when economic times are tough.

What is the predictable result of a reduction or loss of the H-1B category? Companies will be forced to locate overseas, where a high skilled worker pool is available, or outsource needed labor. “We need an H-1B reality check,” said Kuck. “The simple solution is not cutting off an aid to our economic independence, but instead continuing to use legal immigration tools that help us improve our children’s and our country’s future.”

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#24

Furthermore, I’ve built a relationship with my Congressional office who have tried very hard to intervene and talk sense to these abusive people. Let’s just say, he concurs with my views and represents hundreds and thousands of such complaints, as does the Governor, and Chairwoman of the Immigration Committee, Zoe Lofgren. There’s govt. and then there’s the legislative branch. USCIS is supposed to execute the laws, not make them up.

But then it seems you don’t know the difference in the branches of your own govt.!

#23

HiB Victim clearly has an inferiority complex. Go ahead and make such unintelligent posts because all you do is confirm why great companies wish to employ the highly educated, sophisticated and experienced foreigner.

My hats off to your stupidity for not even knowing your own Constitution and what it was written to represent.

#22

“An unjust law is no law at all”, I am sure you would have opposed the Civil Rights Act too!
The current H1b visa laws are nothing but the Jim Crow laws of 21st century. The victim is the visa holder who wants to immigrant legally, booted around by the employers (visa abusers), the colleagues (for reasons obvious) and of course the politicians (since the visa holder has no representation) during his endless wait for residency and decent life. It’s a known fact that visas are abused, rather than turning your voice against the visa holder; use your force against the abusers/the employers. But why will you, you like to target the weak and underrepresented!

#21

A a guest in the U.S, you have a lot of insults for your host government and it’s citizen workers. Did you tell the people at USCIS exactly how you feel about them?

I no longer wonder why they have rolled up the welcome mat in your individual case.

Be sure to tell the judge how you really feel about the U.S. government and how you are hoping to bilk the U.S. taxpayer.

I am sure it will help your case.

#20

Furthermore, applications don’t include a list of achievements or even resumes or even press cuttings. They have no idea of the people they are processing who are usually way more qualified than them! Instead, they let terrorists in and reject good people.

#19

Here we go again with the personal moronic attacks from someone who has no clue of case in point or his/her govt. operations. You can keep trying but I am relentless in defending my case and others mistreated by your corrupt, abusive and wasteful govt. At least try to make a cogent argument instead of abusive personal, childish attacks.

1. Read the article I made reference to earlier. You might learn something first e.g. the ineptitude of your govt. dept. costing $2.5 B of wasted money a year. Then argue with facts rather than knee jerk unsubstantiated comments.

2. USCIS loses paperwork routinely and then denies people. One year it shredded 1000’s of files. Check out the number of lawsuits against such corrupt practices - approx. 6000 in 2008 and that was double that of 2007. Never mind the $50 M or more a year they spend on defense attorneys, but what about the costs they lose? I will potentially win and win about $25-$30,000 in costs. (Yeah your tax dollars so you should be concerned.)

3. I am not about to discuss the intricacies of the IIRIRA Act of 1996, the INA, the Administrative Procedure Act or the requirements of USCIS to conform with the Federal Register Act.

(Confused? Dumbfounded? Good, because it should give you an indication what an idiot you are for making such bland stupid statements directed to a highly educated person who has spent 100’s of hours researching the law and other such cases.)

4. I am in the process of winning a landmark lawsuit that will potentially open up the floodgates for perhaps a Class Action Lawsuit. Then it will be publicized. When I win, and we expect to in California due to previous precedence, you will know that receiving a denial has nothing to do with the applicant’s qualifications or expertise, but the lack of USCIS competence in following the law, in being fair and in simply logging in the mail at the mail room. (Yes it’s that idiotic.)

5. Did you know they recruit people barely at high school education, train them for 2 weeks and then let them loose to adjudicate our applications? These people are not lawyers. Some don’t even have a command of English let alone write it and now they ironically adjudicate us educated people. They don’t know the law that they are espousing to. But they do know their benefits plan in detail.

6. No one at USCIS ever gets fired for wrong doing because my goodness, it might affect the Director’s future career. So cover up after cover up goes on.

7. The new Homeland Security head, Janet Napolitano has asked for answers to a lot of questions as to the ineptness of USCIS.

So you can be as antagonistic and hostile as you like towards me and other legals, you the American taxpayer are paying for inept, costly bureaucracy and I will get justice through the judicial branch - and compensation! Better to direct your time toward fixing your govt. and stopping the wasted money.

#18

Well with all your self professed slills you obviously didn’t impress the people at USCIS and they see people every day. Is it possible that others don’t find you as impressive as you find yourself?

I assure there was a reason you are “Denied Applicant”

#17

Too many to mention here and I certainly am not going to be publicly interviewed online by someone I don’t know. Suffice it to say that many CEO’s of start-ups require my services and my company’s. I personally have a stellar background, recognized in the media back in the UK and by start-ups turned around and sold to the likes of Microsoft - just for starters. As I said before, I brought a European VC investment of $ 5M in just one transaction into a US start-up that ended up employing 25 local people. Also how about B.S., an M.A and several other certifications in business from world renowned universities, 20 years in international business locations. Do you have that or are you just envious?

I am not prepared to get into a personal slanging match with insecure people who whine about losing their jobs. 2 M unemployed is sad indeed, but don’t blame the mere 65,000 legals a year for your loss of jobs. Do blame the govt. Do blame your corrupt society. Do blame your borders being out of control and illegals swamping your economy. In fact, here in California, our now bankrupt State is out of control with illegals that cost us $10 Bn a year. I am as resentful of people milking our system as you are but legals are net contributors and create on average 4-5 jobs to support them. We buy houses and yes I pay property taxes. So cut the whining and the crap!

#16

you mentioned that you are so “highly skilled” that no american citizen can do your job. May I ask exactly what your skills are???

#15

Don’t make the mistake of classifying all H1B’s as programmers who don’t speak English. There are many legitimate business people who have expertise beyond any American and speak perfect English i.e. global business expansion. Americans do not have a clue of how to market to the rest of the world unless they have live overseas. Your education system and media is so insular, that you have no appreciation or understanding of doing business outside North America. Today, almost all business needs to be global just by the mere fact of the Internet. Since some of us have had our entire careers working for American firms (UK and then US), find one non-emotional, rational reason why we should not be allowed to get residency here? We are net contributors. Everyone I came up against, cannot match my expertise. People like me create jobs. If you shut the doors completely, America will suffer globally and will see foreign investment retreat. Europe will then become the leader in all sorts of fields. Now get real!

For those other Americans who think USCIS is doing a great job, read this article today on “Crime and Corruption at USCIS. It’s an eye opener:
http://canadafreepress.com/index.php/article/8191

#14

I am an american born programmer with a master’s degree. The H1B program is simply a tool for corporations to get cheap foreign labor. There is no labor shortage! I have worked with many H1B’s during my career. These “experts” were all entry level developers who could barely speak english. My 7th grade nephew can write better than the chinese or indian employees with advanced degrees. I don’t have any problem with companies that support Indians or Chines that have PHD’s or other advanced skills that american citzens do not have. Most if not all H1B’s that I am familiar with are Java, .Net, Excel, or database programmers. There are plenty of unemployed american citzens that can take these jobs!

#13

Immigrants are welcome to come to this country. Just not under any H-1B program. The H-1B program is for ordinary workers doing ordinary work. We have plenty of highly skilled unemployed workers here to fill any slack. A glut of additional workers unfairly tips the delicate employee/employer balance and depresses wages due to oversupply of employees.

#12

The number issued does not vary at all. The 65,000 new H1 B visas are annual quotas and were oversubscribed 2 to 1 last year in the first 24 hours. This year the applications are likely to be far less due to the economic situation (again the free markets work).

The other numbers”jgo” refers to are for Green Cards approved annually. The annual quota is 140,000 for employment based. USCIS for the past 5 years at least, have not adjudicated anything like those numbers due to processing times or inefficiencies or, deliberate stalling tactics. Thus about 40-50k are lost. Under Clinton, the H1b’s were about 165,000 or near enough. When you keep those people in the queue for 10 years - you get unfair and astronomical back logs. Legislation has attempted to recapture those visas to clear the back log. SO don’t all get upset about GC quotas increasing in the next legislation - not an increase, just a recapture. We paid our dues and our taxes for 10 years!

I wish people here would do their homework properly rather than quote dysfunctional, one-sided and incomplete data!

#11

Jgo:

The 65,000 number comes directly from the USCIS website:

http://www.uscis.gov/portal/site/uscis/menuitem.5af9bb95919f35e66f614176543f6d1a/?vgnextoid=138b6138f898d010VgnVCM10000048f3d6a1RCRD

If you read the rest of the paragraph in the intro, we also mention the 20,000 extra visas for people with advanced U.S. degrees. This would give you the 85,000 number you mention.

As you say, the number of those actually issued does seem to vary.

- Katie
Worldfocus.org

#10

The annual “limit” on H-1B visas, such as it is, is over 85K, not 65K. Reporting it as 65K would be misleading. It is broken down as follows, according to information obtained from the USCIS web site:
1,400 nationals of Chile;
5,400 nationals of Singapore;
20,000 with master’s and doctor’s degrees from US colleges and universities;
58,200 with “bachelor’s degrees or equivalent experience” from any hole-in-the-wall in the world;
unlimited visas for those employed by non-profit research outfits;
unlimited visas for those employed for local, state and federal research;
unlimited visas for those employed by US colleges & universities.
http://www.dol.gov/compliance/guide/h1b.htm

But the numbers of applications approved each year exceed those numbers, according the the USCIS annual report “Characteristics of Specialty Occupation Workers (H-1B)”:
year Initial renewed+extended total
1999 134,411 na na
2000 136,787 120,853 257,640
2001 201,079 130,127 331,206
2002 103,584 93,953 197,537
2003 105,314 112,026 217,340
2004 130,497 156,921 287,418
2005 116,927 150,204 267,131
year Initial renewed+extended total

(BTW, where are the legally mandated reports for FY2006, FY2007 and FY2008? According to USCIS: Section 416(c)(1) of ACWIA mandates a report “…of the numbers of aliens who were issued visas or otherwise provided non-immigrant status under section 101(a)(15)(H)(i)(b) of the Immigration and Nationality Act during the preceding 3-month period.” Furthermore, as described in section 416(c)(3), this report “…shall include the number of aliens who were issued visas or otherwise provided non-immigrant status pursuant to petitions filed by institutions or organizations described in section 212(p)(1) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (as added by section 415 of this title).”)

The numbers of visas actually issued, OTOH, is what matters. These numbers are available in the State Department’s annual reports:
1996 58,327
1997 80,547
1998 91,360
1999 116,513
2000 133,290
2001 161,643
2002 118,352
2003 107,196
2004 138,977
2005 124,374
2006 135,861
2007 154,690
2008 130,183
http://www.travel.state.gov/visa/frvi/statistics/statistics_4396.html

#9

One more point:

President Obama was the son of an immigrant.
25% of all start-up tech firms were started by CEO immigrants.
You are all the sons and daughters of immigrants!
Stop the foreigners coming here and lose billions of $ in investments and jobs. So if you want to tank the economy into oblivion, go ahead with your protectionism and see how that affects your unemployment and how China, India and the rest of the world take over.

#8

Xenophobia hits again!

Let the market sort it out. If an employer thinks people like me are worth paying $30,000 in fees because we are better qualified, so be it.

May I also remind you of fairness and civil rights. That doesn’t just apply to African Americans but to all living in this land according to the Constitution so stop being such a hypcrite. Get that chip off your shoulder. President Obama didn’t whine, he just did it. And yes, he was and is extremely highly educated.

#7

Thank goodness the govent workers in the trenches are thinking of their unemployed countrymen, even though the decision makers have sold us out for NASSCOM and CompeteAmerica lobbyist cash.

We hope they continue to issue RFEs and lose your paperwork. They are the true soldiers protecting the few jobs left from the bought and paid for invasion. Many of the USCIS workers are African Americans who’s highly skilled and educated sons and daughters have been shut out to make way for H-1Bs. African Americans have paid their dues with their blood for many years. Now that the U.S. is tolerant, H-1B bodyshops want to plant their H-1B slaves here and undermine the struggle it took to get here.

#6

And what about the fraud at USCIS and over 6000 lawsuits against the govt. in 2008? Did you know they also employ 250 lawyers to fight nonsense cases where they deliberately lose paper from your files? Did you know this office alone accounts for over $50 M a year? Did you know that USCIS costs the tax payers over $2 Bn a year? Seems to me your frustration needs to be directed towards govt. waste and not the educated immigrant. If you don’t want immigrants, by all means stop all immigration. But don’t bring people here on false pretences - only to fudge he system.

There’s no arguing with xenophobic people like you. I have a legitimate Masters from one of the top universities in the UK and the world. Before you accuse us of taking your jobs and fraud, just remember, our men and women are dying fighting a war next to Americans. And we in the UK are very welcoming of any American immigrants.

What a completely idiotic person you are!

#5

The USCIC fraud report shows that 31% of H-1B at the bachelor degree level had fraudulent status.

The EB-3 greencard backlog (most of the 500,000) are bachelor degree level H-1B and L-1 seeking adjustment of status. It stands to reason that 31% of these migrant also have fraudulent status.

The best way to rise above the EB-3 backlog is to “update your skills” as the H-1Bs always tell Americans. Get a masters or professional degree and apply under the EB-1 or EB-2 preference.

Advanced degrees are expensive, you say? They are even more expensive now that the H-1B has flooded the occupation and destroyed wages.

#4

That’s the sad part. I replaced no ones job. I created jobs in start-ups. As part of an investment banking firm, we brought foreign investment into the Unite States which employed Americans like you - Millions of $$$$. Sad that some of you as so stupid and naive to wish to shut out foreign investment when the country so badly needs it.

As for votes, yes my vote will count some day.

#3

I agree that elected officials are corrupted by NASSCOM lobbyists who bought and paid for the H-1B Visa legislation. These politicians will soon realize who has the power to kick them out of their jobs.

Hell hath no wrath like a betrayed voter. Any elected official who expects to be in office next election had better vote to discard this job replacement visa.

We may not have our jobs anymore, but we can still vote.

#2

No! You need to stay and fight for your rights. People like us sacrificed about 10 years of our life to be here and paid our taxes. When you enter into a contract in good faith, then the so-called democracy needs to ensure fair treatment for us immigrants. This Govt. dept. is corrupt and abusing their power against laws set by Congress.

Do what I am doing and sue the pants off them if they have erroneously denied you. According to many such lawsuits in California, the 9th Circuit is on our side. Good luck and don’t give up your rights!

#1

You need to go back to India until the economy improves. There are way too many unemployed U.S. citizens and Green Card holders. At such time you can seek some sympathy. Right now, all H-1B and L-1 visa holders need to leave the country and free up the jobs so we can get this economy going.

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