India tells USA that H-1B visa holders boost their economy

H-1B visa allows the employers in the United States to employ foreign workers from all around the world in specialized occupations such as financing, IT, architecture, engineering, accounts, science, mathematics etc. the petition of this visa has to be requested by the employer himself and the employer needs follow some guidelines as per the treatment of foreign workers.

These foreign workers employed via the H-1B visa contribute highly to the enhancement of the US economy. It is a way through which a whole bunch of skilled workers is accumulated in the United States.

Arun Jaitley, the current Finance Minister of India, was recently in America to attend the IMF and World Bank annual meeting. On 15th October, Sunday, the Finance Minister of India put forward his views regarding the H-1B visa holders in an interview with ANI. He notified that he had persuaded the people of United States of America to understand the importance of H-1B visa holders. He said that these H-1B visa holders are an asset to the US economy and he also emphasized on the fact that the H-1B visa holders from India must not be referred to as illegal economic immigrants.

Arun Jaitley was concerned about the treatment of Indians who are in the United States of America via the H-1B visa. He stated that these people contribute a major fraction in the American and must be treated accordingly. The view that these talented professionals are merely illegal migrants must be discarded as these individuals are high-value professionals.

Many IT professionals are hired by the employers from the United States of America. In the month of September, the processing had begun on a fast pace but the number of applications filed had increased so much that the processing was suspended temporarily.

His prime focus during the interview was the position of the India H-1B visa holders. He kept on emphasizing that the way these professionals are treated must be reconsidered and their hard work must be appreciated. They are highly professional workers and they must receive the respect they deserve and must not be labeled as the illegal economic migrants. Their work is contributing in shaping the future of the United States of America and soon Americans will realize how important they are to the economy of their country.

According to Jaitley, the relationship between India and the United State of America is maturing on many levels. Moreover, he also informed that the Prime Minister of India, Narendra Modi, had an exceptional experience on his visit to the United States. This maturing relationship between the two countries is something that will cause this relationship to be consolidated further.

During the same interview, Jaitley was questioned about Donald Trump’s statement in which he emphasized that the relationship between Pakistan and the United States of America is improving. To which he refused to comment on and referred to it as an internal matter of both the countries.

The ‘so called’ H1-B Consultants

The ‘so called’ H1-B Consultants

H1-B consultants claim to facilitate moving to the United States of America, which is a dream of all, dreamed mainly to have independence and freedom. Hence, a lot of people apply for immigration visas to be a part of this place of liberation. The US issues various kinds of visas for immigrants, each with a set of strict policies and limitations. Some of these are for the permanent Green Card, whereas some go for a work visa wherein a US based company hires you and sponsors your VISA application for immigration. This is known as an H1-B visa.

Given an enormous amount of people looking forward to move to the US, a lot of people have started taking advantage of this fact. Such people create scams and frauds regarding immigration offers. Mostly, this involves offering low-end jobs and attractive marketing gigs to attract people who are not well-aware of the policy changes. These perpetrators act as ‘so-called H1-B consultants’ and usually scam you in either running away with your money or landing you jobs in illegal or nonexistent companies in the US. This leaves the immigration applicant in the middle and ruins all the efforts that the person put in to move to the US.

How do the H1-B Consultants post scam material?

Mostly, these fraud H1-B Consultants post job offers via email, targeting the overall niche like IT professional. It lists down all possible skill requirements, making it more of a general post than a specifically targeted skill set. For instance, IT professionals required with web development, android development skills.

Tip: An open-ended job post is a warning sign of a probable scam. Watch out!

Another way to identify such scams is that such postings often contain contradicting statements like H1B visa will be sponsored as well as, down the bottom, mentions depending upon the company.

Tip: Contradicting statements in a job post is another warning sign of a scam.

Since the Trump Government has been in power, the immigration policies have become more restricted, especially after the bill to increase the minimum wage of H1B visa holder from $65,000 to $130,000. While the Trump Administration is pushing companies to “hire American, this has demoralized a lot of big companies regarding hiring foreign workers. This bill came along with another implication of making sure that the immigrants are skilled enough to be brought to the US. (Another immigration bill, the Raise Act, has also been announced by Trump in the US Senate).

Also, that there are no Americans who can do the particular job, stressing the importance of having an immigrant as an employee. People who are unaware of such policy changes often become a victim of these possible fraud provoking H-1B consultants or scammers and end up losing valuable money and efforts trying to move into the US.

What should you do to save yourself from these fraud H-1B Consultants?

My advice to all would be to keep a strict check on any policy changes regarding immigrants and make sure of them before applying for a job. Take care of the Tips mentioned above and conduct a complete fact check regarding the companies as well as the employers and the H1-B consultants companies in order to avoid scams and frauds that may cost you a fortune. It may be a hefty task for some, but believe me, it is worth it. Especially, when your hard earned money and your whole career is at stake!

Stay vigilant, Stay Safe! have a wonderful career in the US!

H-1B Visa Applications Drop 16% from 2016

H-1B Visa Applications Drop 16% from 2016

H-1B Visa Applications drop almost 16% in Donald Trump’s first lottery. There is an upside, your chance of being awarded an H-1B visa increased!!!  In 2016, USCIS received 236,000 applications for only 85,000 available H-1B visas, or only about 36% chance of being awarded.  This year because USCIS only received 199,000 H-1B visa applications for the same 85,000 spots.  This means that the average applicants chances of being awarded an H-1B increased to 42%!!  That’s great news for talented internationals that want to stay in the United States after their education.

H-1B Visa Applications Drop 16% to 199,000

USCIS announced:

USCIS received 199,000 H-1B petitions during the filing period, which began April 3, including petitions filed for the advanced degree exemption. On April 11, USCIS used a computer-generated random selection process, or lottery, to select enough petitions to meet the 65,000 general-category cap and the 20,000 cap under the advanced degree exemption. USCIS will reject and return all unselected petitions with their filing fees, unless the petition is found to be a duplicate filing.

The agency reported the H-1B visa applications drop, then conducted the selection process for the advanced degree exemption first. All unselected advanced degree petitions then became part of the random selection process for the 65,000 cap.  So having a master’s degree somewhat increases your chance because first you are placed in the pool of 20,000, then if you fail to be selected, the application is dumped into the general lottery for 65,000 remaining H-1B visas.

As announced on March 3, USCIS has temporarily suspended premium processing for all H-1B petitions, including cap-exempt petitions, for up to six months. USCIS will continue to accept and process petitions that are otherwise exempt from the cap. Petitions filed on behalf of current H-1B workers who have been counted previously against the cap will also not be counted towards the congressionally mandated FY 2018 H-1B cap. USCIS will continue to accept and process petitions filed to:

* Extend the amount of time a current H-1B worker may remain in the United States;

* Change the terms of employment for current H-1B workers;

* Allow current H-1B workers to change employers; and

* Allow current H-1B workers to work concurrently in a second H-1B position.


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H-1B Abuse Policy Update from Trump’s USCIS

H-1B Abuse Policy Update from Trump’s USCIS

Combating H-1B Abuse:

H-1B abuse is on notice.  The H-1B visa program helps U.S. companies maintain competitive advantage by recruiting highly-skilled foreign nationals when there is a shortage of qualified workers in the country. Yet, the Trump Administration claims too many American workers who are as qualified, willing, and deserving to work in these fields have been ignored or unfairly disadvantaged. Employers who abuse the H-1B visa program negatively affect U.S. workers, decreasing wages and opportunities as they import more foreign workers.

Protecting American workers by combating fraud in our employment-based immigration programs is a priority for Trump’s USCIS. USCIS continuously works to deter and detect fraud in all immigration programs and we are furthering our efforts by enhancing and increasing site visits, interviews, and investigations of petitioners who use the H-1B visa program. These efforts will help assist in the prosecution of program violators and ensure that American workers are not overlooked or replaced in the process.

Reporting Suspected H-1B Abuse

Trump Administration has established an email address dedicated to receiving information about suspected H-1B fraud or abuse. Anyone (including both American workers and H-1B workers who suspect they or others may be the victim of H-1B fraud or abuse) can email [email protected] to submit tips, alleged violations, and other relevant information about potential H‑1B fraud or abuse. When submitting information to [email protected], please provide the following information in the email:

  • The name of the H-1B petitioning employer/company
  • The address of the employer/company or location of the H-1B worker(s), including the city and state
  • A description of the alleged violation, abuse, or suspected fraud
  • Your email address
  • Your name and phone number (optional)
  • Any other information that may be useful to investigate the alleged fraud or abuse

The Trump Administration encourages individuals to report allegations of employer fraud and abuse by submitting a Form WH-4 to the Department of Labor’s (DOL) Wage and Hour Division. The public may also contact U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) by completing the HSI Tip Form.

H-1B Fraud and Abuse Indicators

Examples of H-1B abuse indicators may include:

  • The H-1B worker is not or will not be paid the wage certified on the Labor Condition Application (LCA).
  • There is a wage disparity between H-1B workers and other workers performing the same or similar duties, particularly to the detriment of U.S. workers.
  • The H-1B worker is not performing the duties specified in the H-1B petition, including when the duties are at a higher level than the position description.
  • The H-1B worker has less experience than U.S. workers in similar positions in the same company.
  • The H-1B worker is not working in the intended location as certified on the LCA.

Protections for H-1B Workers Who Report Suspected Abuse

If a worker on the visa reports H-1B Abuse, immigration law may provide certain protections to these workers. If an H-1B worker:

  • applies to extend their H-1B status or change their nonimmigrant status,
  • indicates that they faced retaliatory action from their employer because they reported an LCA violation, and
  • lost or failed to maintain their H-1B status,

USCIS believes this situation is an instance of ‘‘extraordinary circumstances’’ as defined by sections 214.1(c)(4) and 248.1(b) of Title 8, Code of Federal Regulations. Normally, H‑1B workers are not eligible to extend or change their status if they have lost or failed to maintain their H-1B status. However, if they can demonstrate ‘‘extraordinary circumstances,’’ we may use our discretion to excuse this requirement on a case-by-case basis.

Expansion of Site Visits

Since 2009, USCIS has conducted random administrative site visits to ensure that employers and foreign workers are complying with requirements of the H-1B nonimmigrant classification. We verify H-1B workers’ wages, job duties, and work locations during site visits. This action is not meant to target nonimmigrant employees for any kind of criminal or administrative action but rather to identify employers who are abusing the system.

We seek to determine if workers are not being paid while in the United States as they wait for projects or work, a practice known as “benching” which violates U.S. immigration laws. We also conduct site visits in cases where there are suspicions of fraud or abuse and refer many of the cases to our counterparts at U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) for further investigation.

Starting this month, we will take a more targeted approach focusing on:

  • H-1B-dependent employers (those who have a high ratio of H-1B workers as compared to U.S. workers, as defined by statute);
  • Cases where we cannot validate the employer’s basic business information through commercially available data; and
  • Employers petitioning for H-1B workers who work off-site at another company or organization’s location.

Targeted site visits will also help us determine whether H-1B-dependent employers who normally must meet H-1B recruitment attestation requirements are actually paying their workers the statutorily required salary to qualify for an exemption from these requirements. These site visits will assist in determining if these employers are evading their obligation to make a good faith effort to recruit U.S. workers and to not displace U.S. workers.

Targeted site visits will allow us to focus resources where H-1B abuse may be more likely to occur. We will also continue to make unannounced and random visits to all H-1B employers across the country, both before and after any petition is adjudicated.

Promoting Transparency

Trump administration declared that transparency about how the H-1B program is being used is vital to ensuring accountability for employers and improving policies and practices that protect American workers. After the H-1B cap filing season for fiscal year (FY) 2018 concludes, USCIS plans to publish a report on the H-1B visa petitions submitted for FY 2018 along with data about the petitions. USCIS also plans to create a web-based, searchable platform for the public to better understand how H-1B visas are being used.

StartUp Visa Rules Finalized

StartUp Visa Rules Finalized

A Startup Visa may be just the thing for Silicon Valley.  Actually, startups have sprouted from coast to coast in the United States.  A startup visa enables these young companies to have the world’s best and brightest on their team.  Everyone knows that the team is the most important factor contributing to a startup’s success.  Having an immigrant on the team can lead to huge successes.

immigrants create one in four tech startups

Innovative foreign-born entrepreneurs are super important to the U.S. economy.  Immigrants founded roughly one in four STEM startups between 2006 and 2012.  In June of 2013 publicly traded immigrant founded companies had a combined market cap of over $900 billion dollars.  The stock market is over 30% higher now than in June of 2013, so the immigrant founded businesses are worth over $1 trillion dollars today.

According to data released by the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS),  only 2,940 entrepreneurs will qualify for startup visas each year. That number pales in comparison to the 85,000 annual H-1B visas. USCIS published its final rule for startup visas, also called entrepreneur visas, on January 17, 2017.  DHS issued the visas under its discretionary parole authority to enhance entrepreneurship, innovation and job creation in the United States.

The details of the startup visa limit the number of foreign born founders to only three per start up.  PayPal, for example, had six founders.  Only one was American.  Tech startups reflect the STEM education landscape, which is mostly foreign born.  50% of Google’s founders are foreign born (of course there were only 2).  The restrictions on the startup visa do not stop with the limits on how many of the founders are foreign born.

The startup visa provides a temporary stay of thirty months, with possible extension  of another 30 months.  This is one year less than the H-1B visa, which lasts up to six years.  Facebook did not go public until eight years after it was founded.  Snapchat only took five years.  And these are a bad example of a startup because of how wildly successful they have been from the start.  Most of these visa holders may be forced to return home before their startup can really take off.

The startup visa makes a number of assumptions as well.

The applicant must prove that the startup the foreign entrepreneur owns has a substantial potential for rapid growth and job creation.  The vast majority of startups do the exact opposite.  Amazon employs many people, but they grew their base by taking retail jobs from other companies.  Uber employees many drivers, which took market share from taxicabs.  Both these companies are working toward more automation.

Price Waterhouse Cooper estimates that by the 2030s upward of 40% of American workers may lose their jobs to robots.  What if the startup made these robots?  Would it qualify for the startup visa?  Probably not because to get the visa the applicant must prove that his or her stay will provide a significant public benefit to the U.S.  The applicant must also prove that the startup has received a significant investment of capital from qualified U.S. investors with established records of success.  So this hypothetical robot startup would attract a lot of capital because of its ability to disrupt almost 40% of the workforce, but run smack into the problem of being a significant detriment to the U.S workforce.

Meanwhile, the robot startup could have structured its corporate governance to provide for the founder to be an employee, then entered three H-1B visa applications for the founder for the various roles that he played at the company into the H-1B lottery that has approximately 33% chance of getting the work visa.  The company incurs three application fees of approximately $1,200 instead of just one fee for the startup visa.  However, the company may save on attorney fees because H-1B applications do not require the hoops that the startup visa does.  The startup benefits with an extra year of having the founder legally work in the United States, plus dual intent so founder can pursue the permanent residence process.

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