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kumbahara

Travails of H1 visa

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Filed: F-2A Visa Country: India
Timeline

Welcome to the American Dream!The H1 visa although seems a perfect path to immigrate, if often fraught with pitfalls that are not properly outlined. As with any other venture, the beneficiaries need to understand what they are getting into prior to embarking on something burdensome. Here are a few facts from my perspective that prospective applicants should be aware and be prepared for. Because it takes up time, money and effort, which sucks up years!

1. Employment - First, the beneficiary needs to find employment. With the current Employer- Vendor - Contractor issue of USCIS denying applications to consulates overriding even approved applications with 221g, it is imperative that

a. The employer is willing to wait and go through issues along with the employee on

paperwork burden (such as list of all employees and what projects they work , photos of workplace?) This may seem a little relevant when the work place is at the employers, but what happens when it is for a contract at a client site? Most often, these employers arent direct vendors. The vendors dont offer much flexibility let alone the client sites hiring the H1 employee. They most often demand the contractor to start within 2 weeks, 3 weeks max. How can one manage to procure H1B visa (takes 5 months to process) and then consulate issuing a visa - 2 to 3 months? So the model of E-V-C is defunct for new H1s. The only workforce currently these employers are relying on are F1 visa students or already who are in US on H1B. It therefore atleast makes sense to atleast shoot for employment with a company who can afford to submit documents of requirement like multinational.

b. Length of contract - The max length of contract these days are 6 months. Most likely even that would be in the form of 3 months + possibility of 3 month extension. Apart from employee performance, one has to consider funding cuts which is a lot and who knows what reason. The next contract may not be in the same city as the previous one. So one has to consider all the factors listed below on drivers license, relocation and family, if everything else is good.

2. SSN, Drivers License. - SSN takes 2-4 weeks to process and till that time have to stay without pay and cant get a drivers license until the DDS (Dept of Driver Services) can verify with USCIS - another 2 months? Good luck with getting to work in winter.

3. Green Card - With retrogression abound(atleast for India, China, Philippines), EB2 priority dates in 2007. EB3 in 2002, how long is the wait going to be? With EB2 and full employer cooperation and around 7K in fees, and 5 years wait atleast for EB2 and no light of hope for EB3, its another big issue. Consider this - EB2 is minimum masters but has a lot of audits. EB2 is stuck in 2002 for years now. Plus with US unemployment above 9.5% which company will hold the employment for that long paying fair wages? These bodyshoppers only will risk if they make atleast 30% profits with so much of burdenwork with USCIS. So one has to be prepared to limit to below market wages even if they know they are billing more, plus all the hassles from USCIS and recently states enforcing stringent immigration laws like checks of immigration papers. Now think of scenario of you carrying bunch of paperwork and explaning why you are driving with expired driving license because DDS isnt ready to renew your license because it needs confirmation of your H1 approval in their database and they cant issue one even with an approval notice of in your hand!

4. Family - All the above doesnt even touch family issues. Its one thing to deal with all the above when you are single, what happens if you have a family with kids. H4 visa much depends on 1.validity of H1 2. has same issues related to drivers license. Now add to that traveling on the job, vs. school for kids or basic necessities like driving to a doctor. One has to forgo all traditional notion of comfort for the sake of maintaining comfort. My suggestion, dont even think of having kids until you know you are settled enough to bear their burden.

5. Time off and pay - I had not even touched on the aspect of how employees are paid. Typically in a E-V-C model, the employer does invoice the vendor once a month. The contract terms are notably 'Net 30' meaning the vendor can hold the payment for 30 days after receiveing the invoice. So by the time the consultant even gets paid, it would be atleast 3 months in future. How does or any consultant hope to manage without pay for 3 months? You can bargain with the employer, but most likely would get back answers saying, can only pay 70-80% of agreed pay if you want it sooner. That is apart from insurance charges, for self and family which is a handsome. There is no time off. The only time off is without pay if the client grants it. Short term assignments are for specific time periods, so chances you get 2 weeks vacation together is a pipe dream. Now club that with India visit with flight charges of 1800 per ticket and visa issues at consulates. That takes out any chance of the vacation altogether if I have missed something.

These are some of the on the ground realities on how life of H1B employee is. Not that American dream is gone, if you are willing to put up with it and still find reasons to smile. Its not like 1990s when h1 jobs were abound or pre 9/11 era where H1B stamping on passport used to be just send your passport to local USCIS office or green card was without any delays or numerical limits with retrogression.As my previous manager would say for specifically the feeling that arises from reading the above, if you are planning this route - "Good luck with it"!

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Filed: IR-1/CR-1 Visa Country: India
Timeline

Don’t cry grapes are sour, when you know the contractor model that lot of the consulting company use is not correct.

H1 was never designed for consulting companies; it was unfortunate that small consulting companies (who really are not consulting, but just body shops) take advantage of the H1 and ppls willingness to come to US.

Lack of enforcement from immigration on the H1s as well, which has changed and they are enforcing it now that if your employer is going to hire u on H1 they need end client contact.

So don’t grumble on how system is broken.

If you come to US thru right channel, work for legit employer you would not have any issues.

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Filed: F-2A Visa Country: India
Timeline

Before you start prejudging on "crying foul" on immigration, it was written with an intent to show the realities, so that prospective migrants are aware what they are getting into. You or anyone can argue on why H1 was for or how it should be used. But it is always used where employers could benefit and they do not reveal what it means in the context of current realities.

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Filed: IR-1/CR-1 Visa Country: India
Timeline

Before you start prejudging on "crying foul" on immigration, it was written with an intent to show the realities, so that prospective migrants are aware what they are getting into. You or anyone can argue on why H1 was for or how it should be used. But it is always used where employers could benefit and they do not reveal what it means in the context of current realities.

Don’t just blame it on employer, blame it on yourself too. When ppl have this thing to come to US by hook or crook and then cry foul is not right thing.

The realities are ppl are desperate to come to US and they would work with their employer when they are out of US and they would agree the pay on and on.

Once they come to US they start crying foul and how they are not treated right, so I would say its ppls greed that gets them into that situation.

If you don’t have greed and you are willing to go thru right channel then you will not have to cry foul on H1.

Most immigrants are aware of the things they are getting into, there is nothing new. I don’t know what environment you work in I work in environment where I interact with employees in India and US so what I am saying is from firsthand experience.

If you really want to make ppl aware of H1 and reality - tell them about the body shops that take advantage of them not H1.

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Before you start prejudging on "crying foul" on immigration, it was written with an intent to show the realities, so that prospective migrants are aware what they are getting into. You or anyone can argue on why H1 was for or how it should be used. But it is always used where employers could benefit and they do not reveal what it means in the context of current realities.
If you want to gripe about H1-b....I actually came in originally on a TN-1, and my labour-cert was filed in the WRONG (EB-3 instead of EB-2) category; and I received I-140 at a time when the H1-b cap (which didn't exist prior to 1989--no coincidence) had been hit, so I could not even avail of H1-b to get an extended-term visa (the TN-1 at that time--late 1990's--was a one-year visa) until the next fiscal-year rolled-around (incidentally, I didn't avail of the conversion anyway). You can't even imagine how much stress it inflicts to have to renew one each year, especially when the Visa Bulletin dates have not progressed to cover your case (in my case, this had to be done twice).

And I went through much of the same abuse of "consulting" that you did.

(edit: TN-1's limit was raised in 2008 to three years--but way too late for me, as I got GC 1999/12/13 and naturalised 2005/04/25)

Don’t just blame it on employer, blame it on yourself too. When ppl have this thing to come to US by hook or crook and then cry foul is not right thing.

The realities are ppl are desperate to come to US and they would work with their employer when they are out of US and they would agree the pay on and on.

Once they come to US they start crying foul and how they are not treated right, so I would say its ppls greed that gets them into that situation.

If you don’t have greed and you are willing to go thru right channel then you will not have to cry foul on H1.

Most immigrants are aware of the things they are getting into, there is nothing new. I don’t know what environment you work in I work in environment where I interact with employees in India and US so what I am saying is from firsthand experience.

If you really want to make ppl aware of H1 and reality - tell them about the body shops that take advantage of them not H1.

:thumbs: Good points, Harsh!

2005/07/10 I-129F filed for Pras

2005/11/07 I-129F approved, forwarded to NVC--to Chennai Consulate 2005/11/14

2005/12/02 Packet-3 received from Chennai

2005/12/21 Visa Interview Date

2006/04/04 Pras' entry into US at DTW

2006/04/15 Church Wedding at Novi (Detroit suburb), MI

2006/05/01 AOS Packet (I-485/I-131/I-765) filed at Chicago

2006/08/23 AP and EAD approved. Two down, 1.5 to go

2006/10/13 Pras' I-485 interview--APPROVED!

2006/10/27 Pras' conditional GC arrives -- .5 to go (2 yrs to Conditions Removal)

2008/07/21 I-751 (conditions removal) filed

2008/08/22 I-751 biometrics completed

2009/06/18 I-751 approved

2009/07/03 10-year GC received; last 0.5 done!

2009/07/23 Pras files N-400

2009/11/16 My 46TH birthday, Pras N-400 approved

2010/03/18 Pras' swear-in

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As long as the LORD's beside me, I don't care if this road ever ends.

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