New Immigration Bill Would Improve Visa Options for Skilled Workers

By | Houston Immigration, Immigration Policy | 126 Comments

Republican Congressmen Jason Chaffetz of Utah and Lamar Smith of Texas introduced a legal immigration bill in September that would make it easier for skilled workers from some countries to get visas to stay in the United States and work.

Reform proponents have said American policy does not leave enough room for scientists and engineers from places like India and China to remain in the United States after school and help bolster this country’s technology sector.

The new bill, H.R. 3012, would eliminate the country-by-country limits on the 140,000 visas given to skilled workers annually. As the law is written now, each country is limited to only seven percent of the total, but some countries like India have far more applicants as a percentage.

In a speech to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce in September, New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg said the current laws are hurting the country.

“Right now, Iceland gets the same quota as India,” he told the Immigration and American Competitive Conference in Washington, D.C. “It just makes no sense. I have nothing against Iceland, but just think about where the next engineers and the entrepreneurs are going to come from.”

Chaffetz said the bill will help to encourage skilled workers to stay in the United States after school and contribute to the economy.

“Per country limits make no sense in the context of employment-based visas,” Chaffetz said in a press release. “By removing per country limits, American companies will be able to access the best talent.”

The bill, called the Fairness for High-Skilled Immigrants Act, would not adjust the total number of available visas. The bill was referred to the Subcommittee on Immigration Policy and Enforcement.

Smith and Chaffetz’s bill reflects a push by business leaders and politicians to separate the need to reform the nation’s legal immigration policy from the politically charged debate over illegal immigration policy.

In testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee in July, NASDAQ CEO Robert Greifeld asked the committee to let the legal immigration reform discussion happen on its own.

“Americans are losing jobs and opportunity while we let one issue drag down the other,” he said.

As legislators inch closer to reforming American immigration laws with an eye toward economic recovery, graduate students are acutely aware of the bureaucratic hassles before them if they choose to stay in the United States after graduation.

Houston immigration attorney Annie Banerjee works with clients who want to stay in the United States and work. The Law Offices of Annie Banerjee has more than 10 years of experience helping graduate students and their families attain work visas. Before selecting an immigration lawyer in Houston Texas, contact the Law Offices of Annie Banerjee by visiting their information-filled website at http://www.visatous.com.

New York Mayor Bloomberg Outlines Economic Recovery in Legal Immigration Reform

By | Houston Immigration, Immigration Policy | 138 Comments

In a keynote address to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg said our country must grow its way out of the economic recession and pushed for legal immigration reform to kick-start that growth.

In his speech at the Immigration and American Competitiveness Conference, Bloomberg said an economic growth initiative that expands businesses, encourages entrepreneurism, and grows our markets overseas can be done with no cost to the taxpayer, but “…we have an open and honest conversation about immigration reform based on economics rather than anything else.”

The national debate on immigration policy is bogged down in politics, he argued. And while each side of the political aisle plays to its base regarding the country’s challenges with illegal immigration, the issue of skilled workers is only slowly becoming part of the national conversation.

Bloomberg’s first suggestion was to take a hard look at visa distribution. Each year, the United States admits about one million new permanent visas. But of that million, 85 percent go to people looking for family re-unification or protection from harm, while only 15 percent are given out for work reasons, he said.

“Allocating only 15 percent of visas based on economics is just terrible public policy – and it really is holding our economy back,” he said. “I’ve called it national suicide – and I think it really is.”

He called for a dramatic increase in the number of visas given to skilled workers wanting to come to the United States or stay here after graduate school to work. “These high-skill workers will not only help create thousands of jobs, they’ll also give us knowledge of foreign markets that will help U.S. businesses increase their exports,” he said.

Bloomberg also made a case for keeping foreign students who graduate from American universities with advanced degrees in science, technology, engineering and math.

“Let’s offer them green cards when they finish their degrees, and then we can get down to the real business of convincing them to stay because that’s not a foregone conclusion either,” he said. “We are in competition with the rest of the world for the best and the brightest.”

Our current system makes the path to citizenship for these graduates cumbersome and stressful, Bloomberg said. “Turning these students out of the country is, to put it bluntly, about the dumbest thing that we could possibly do.”

Alejandro N. Mayorkas, director of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services also spoke at the conference. The USCIS is working to clarify some of the wording of the current laws to make it easier for skilled workers to stay in the country. But he acknowledged that the United States immigration policy needs adjusting.

“We well understand the obstacles our current laws present when we seek to attract and retain a greater share of talent in a world of ever-increasing competition from abroad,” he said.

Individuals who are seeking skilled worker visas or want to continue work after graduate school in the U.S. should consult a skilled immigration attorney to expedite the H-1B process for them and their family.

A. Banerjee is a Houston immigration lawyer in Texas. Before selecting an immigration lawyer in Houston, Texas, contact the Law Offices of Annie Banerjee by visiting their information filled web site at http://www.visatous.com.

Why Americans will just not do certain jobs

By | Houston Immigration, Immigration Policy | No Comments
This week  Business week explored the subject as to why some Americans wont do “Dirty Jobs.”  After Alabama passed its most restrictive Immigration Law, the poultry industry, the fruit picking industry, the construction industry are all virtually shut down because no Americans who will take these jobs. This even though Birmingham Alabama is declaring bankruptcy and unemployment is sky high. The article says that these jobs are hard, and pay little with no benefits. The comments on the article are ablaze with how these employers should pay higher amounts and have benefits. But the article does not elucidate as to what will happen if we mandate employers to do that.
The cost of food will go up. The Americans will initially take the jobs.  Then when they discover that its hard work, they will quit. Why? because Americans have this sense of entitlement that immigrants don’t have.
This sense of entitlement amongst “true Americans” is pervasive throughout the society. Go to any ivy league college, and there are the kids who got in through legacy, who will walk around in their designer clothes as if they own the world. Yet they contrast with their immigrant classmate, who got in based on merit and continue to outperform the legacy kids in academics.  That is why you have people like George Bush and Rick Perry, graduating with a “gentleman’s C”  They never had to work hard ever in their lives.
Same is true of the blue-collar workers. They are spoiled with clean, cool working conditions with accompanying money and benefits. Make them work in the field under the burning sun or in a smelly poultry factory, and their auto industry trained body will not take it.
Yet immigrants come in, work hard and don’t complain. That is true of all immigrants , in all ages, starting from the pilgrims. They were not born into privilege. They chose to live in America and expect to work hard and go up the ladder. And that is how America was built, and that is how it became a super power.
So if we become restrictionists like Arizona and Alabama, it is our quality that will suffer.  By becoming insular and white, we will turn the clock back to the time of the Willy Lomans (Death of a Salesman) of this country.

Contact Houston Immigration Lawyer, or Houston Immigration Attorney Annie Banerjee, for more information

Privacy Issues in the Internet Age

By | Houston Immigration, Immigration Policy | No Comments
This week the Supreme Court heard a case as to whether the police can track an individual through a GPS (available in most smart phones) without a warrant. USCIS has also been using the internet for some time now.  For family based cases based on marriage, the officers check facebook to see the status of the person. Never mind that some people forget to update their status from single to married especially if they are not addicted to Face Book.
But what is more irritating is that USCIS uses Dun and Bradstreet (a private company) to check the address of companies filing for employment based cases. D&B extremely frequently do not update their listing of the Companies.  USCIS  “suggests” that the Employer update their information in D&B. Employers are not lawyers and get scared whenever any Government authority tells them to do something. So they call D&B, who then sign on these employers for paid listings, etc. In the end, this Government agency is enabling a private company to solicit employers and enrich their pockets.
Is this Legal? Yes, employers may not have a right to privacy, but should USCIS suggest to employers to follow up with D&B reporting? Especially when there is NO law to do so?

Contact Houston Immigration Lawyer, or Houston Immigration Attorney Annie Banerjee, for more information

Perm Audits

By | Houston Immigration, Immigration Policy | No Comments
The Department of Labor (DOL) has announced that the Perm audits will increase. Of these audits, 24% are certified, 55 % are denied and 21% are withdrawn.

The DOL says most of the denials are in the lower skilled categories and in the financial industry. DOL feels that by denying these petitions, they are protecting American jobs. However, there are some lower skilled jobs (like machine work, technical work in the oil and gas industry) where there is a real shortage of US workers. No US Employer goes through the hassle and expense of the Immigration process if they can find qualified local grads. And by “qualified” I don’t mean the least qualified, I mean the most competitive.

The DOL also expressed surprise that 21% of the cases were withdrawn. They think that those are fraudulent filings. Not so. It takes two years for an audit. The DOL has a target time of 45-60 days for approving PERMS. Many qualified employees don’t want to wait that long.

The whole problem with restrictionist policies is that they negate free market capitalism, and thus are inherently un American.

And that is the problem of the whole PERM process. DOL just restricts the job to the least qualified individual who can do the job. Lets say the Petitioner is Bank of America. The position is an investment analyst. The minimum education requirement is a Bachelor’s Degree. The Beneficiary is a graduate in finance and Math from MIT. Lets say someone with Rick Perry’s credentials (a C from Texas A & M ) applies. Would you rather have financial advice from the American born A & M grad or the foreign-born MIT grad? By insisting on having the lowest possible credentials available to do the job, the DOL is actually dumbing down the American workforce and decreasing quality of work here.

Contact Houston Immigration Lawyer, or Houston Immigration Attorney Annie Banerjee, for more information