H-1B Visas and the Scapegoating of India

By | News & Press | No Comments

Some critics are arguing that Indian-Americans overseeing IT services firms are being unfairly held accountable for the others who misuse the H-1B visa system. Those company owners are being scapegoated, they say, for the widespread abuse of the program in order to harness cheap labor.

In an article for Bloomberg, H-1B critic Norman Matloff blames U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer, among others for what he calls the demonization of an ethnic group. Sen. Schumer had referred to Indian businesses as “chop shops.” That does not mean, argues Matloff, that he believes the IT industry offshore is in the clear; they often hire cheap labor. But, he says, India does not “abuse” the foreign worker system more than any other country within the technology industry.

If Congress does boost the current H-1B visa cap, as so many hope, there is a concern that U.S. tech workers will be at a greater disadvantage, battling against a theoretically flooded employment market. Lawmakers who oppose a raised cap say they want to protect U.S. high tech workers by restraining visa use by offshore firms.

But others argue that a continued tight cap on the number of H-1B visas as proposed by Sen. Schumer and others is just a way to hobble offshore outsourcing firms.

Outsourcing firms offshore are not required to disclose who makes up their workforce and how many employees are working with a visa status. And if a company is forced to change the percentage of visa-based workers due to an immigration bill, will they then increase their domestic U.S. workers and fill the gap left by the low number of allowed visa holders?

Will visa restrictions or a restriction that bars the largest H-1B employers from sending their visa holders to work at third-party sites push offshore outsourcing businesses to hire more domestic-based employees? There may be business acquisitions which work to increase the U.S. domestic workforce based in offshore firms, or other workarounds which will make the restrictions moot.

Some companies such as IBM may even see gains from these restrictions. IBM continues to be one of the largest IT employers of Indian workers. If visa restrictions simply raise the costs for competitors offshore, U.S.-based companies may grab more of the market –or they may simply expand their own overseas workforces.

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Immigration Reform

By | Houston Immigration, Immigration Policy | No Comments
The shutdown proves that we are a deeply divided country.  And the ONLY reason that the Republicans gave in is because their constituents, big business said no to them. It was survival for them, an economic necessity.
When it comes to immigration and the shutdown, the media seems to harp upon how people waiting in line was affected.  But Citizenship and Immigration Service was open, and legal people had NO EXTRA wait time.  The shut down merely hindered illegal people. 
The media never paid attention to businesses.  Business lost immensely because they could not file transfers of H-1B visas.  The Department of Labor was closed.  Before filing the H-1B visa, the Department of Labor has to certify that the beneficiary is being paid a fair wage.  The Department of Labor was closed.  Professionals who were reaching the end of their stay could not file PERM- Labor Certification or H-1B extensions.  These individual came into this country legally, and perform professional services mainly in sectors where not enough qualified US Citizens exist.
Yet the Democrats have made immigration into an illegal Mexican issue.  However it will be up to the Republicans to champion their side.  During the passing of the Affordable Care Act, the Republican just chose not to participate.  As a result we have a one party Act, which does not address for instance, tort reform.  Even though tort reform is a State issue, the federal Government could easily have limited it under the Act.  Ambulance chasing law suits add to useless and expensive tests that greatly increase health care costs, and will continue to do so.  But the tort lawyers support Democrats.  Lets not make Immigration a one party law.
Contact Houston Immigration Lawyer, or Houston Immigration Attorney Annie Banerjee, for more information

When Government Reopens

By | Houston Immigration, Immigration Policy | No Comments
Yes, the Government is back up, but not their web site.  When the Government shut down, it took them 2 seconds to shut everything down and go home.  Now that they are supposed to show up for work again, they are forming their “post shutdown” schedule. 
We are monitoring the progress and will let you know when the web sites go up again.  Meanwhile H-1Bs cannot be filed without certified labor condition applications.
PERM- Labor Certification website is still down.
Any package that we sent to Department of Labor was held by fedex, and will be delivered today.
Any question that you might have as to how long it will take has one answer: “who knows”.  Hopefully shortly.  Hopefully labor condition applications and Prevailing Wages will be adjudicated swiftly.
With that in mind, we are sending advertisements for quotes.
Once the web sites are back up, employers can register for PERM- Labor Certification again, and file labor condition application.  And yes, we will file all the PERM- Labor Certifications waiting us. 
Contact  Houston Immigration Lawyer, or Houston Immigration Attorney Annie Banerjee, for more information

When Government Reopens

By | Houston Immigration, Immigration Policy | No Comments
Yes, the Government is back up, but not their web site.  When the Government shut down, it took them 2 seconds to shut everything down and go home.  Now that they are supposed to show up for work again, they are forming their “post shutdown” schedule. 
We are monitoring the progress and will let you know when the web sites go up again.  Meanwhile H-1Bs cannot be filed without certified labor condition applications.
PERM- Labor Certification website is still down.
Any package that we sent to Department of Labor was held by fedex, and will be delivered today.
Any question that you might have as to how long it will take has one answer: “who knows”.  Hopefully shortly.  Hopefully labor condition applications and Prevailing Wages will be adjudicated swiftly.
With that in mind, we are sending advertisements for quotes.
Once the web sites are back up, employers can register for PERM- Labor Certification again, and file labor condition application.  And yes, we will file all the PERM- Labor Certifications waiting us. 
Contact  Houston Immigration Lawyer, or Houston Immigration Attorney Annie Banerjee, for more information

E‑Verify Program Showing Improvement, Concerns Remain

By | News & Press | No Comments

A new report released by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services indicates that there is increased accuracy in the previously glitchy E‑Verify program.

The E‑Verify program is designed to electronically verify new hires to ensure that they are legally authorized to work in the U.S. A Westat report was run to evaluate how often a “Tentative Nonconfirmations” or TNCs and a “Final Nonconfirmations” or FNCs were erroneously issued to workers. A TNC may occur when an employee’s government records and I-9 information conflict. A TNC notification must be contested by the worker. An FNC notification may occur when that worker does not contest the TNC. The report concluded that the number of “erroneous TNCs” dropped in some areas, including for U.S. citizens. But the number of erroneous TNCs has not dropped for permanent residents and some other non‑U.S. citizens.

The Westat report found that the rate of E‑Verify erroneous TNCs in 2009 was 0.3 percent, on a decline, but the decrease has been attributed to the erroneous TNC drop of 0.2 percent for U.S. citizens. The rate of erroneous TNCs for permanent residents was 0.7 percent, and 4.2 percent for employment‑authorized noncitizens. The overall rate for noncitizens who had erroneous TNCs was an unyielding 1.5 percent. The report found that the program’s overall accuracy rate was 94 percent, as measured by the number of workers who accurately received FNCs. The report found that the error rate was mostly attributable to a failure of employees to inform employers that they had a TNC, or a failure to explain adequately the TNC process. The breakdown in the information system is what often led authentically authorized workers to receive FNCs.

Currently, E‑Verify is a voluntary program in most states, though it is mandated in some places, including for some federal contractors. It is uncertain when or if E-Verify will be implemented nationally; the topic is currently before Congress. It is possible that as many as one million workers authorized to work may be erroneously given a TNC, which is expected to put a significant strain on employers. If the system becomes mandatory nationwide, extensive systems will need to be put into place by employers to adequately address issues as they arise and ensure that employees are aware of the process and how to address TNCs.

The federal law currently requires employers to employ workers who are legally cleared to work in the U.S., either as legal citizens, or as foreign citizens with formal authorization to do so. E-Verify is a system put into place to identify workers who may not have legal authorization to work.

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Government Shutdown will not affect most Immigration cases

By | Houston Immigration, Immigration Policy | No Comments
Please note that the Government shutdown due to the budget impasse does not affect Citizenship and Immigration Service.  Citizenship and Immigration Service operates with the filing fees of petitions, and does not rely on any Government funding.  Just like the Postal service, the Citizenship and Immigration Service will run as usual, with the same number of staff.  This means that your business and family immigration case will not be affected.  It will not take longer to process due to Governmental shutdown.  
All individuals should go for their interviews and fingerprinting as usual.
The icert (labor condition application, filing before H-1B) and PERM- Labor Certification systems operated by Department of Labor is also running.  The Department of Labor has said its “expected” to operate.  However in the event that the impasse continues for a long time, and their funds run out we will not be able to operate their web sites.  Right now there is no indication of a Department of Labor (Foreign office processing) will shut down.  However if the shutdown is prolonged, we will not be able to file new labor condition applications or PERM- Labor Certifications or audit answers.  Right now, we have to operate as usual.
Department of State will try to stay open as much as possible, but again, might close if the shutdown is prolonged.  Right now there is no report of any consulates being closed.
The Customs and Border patrol will also operate as usual.  So will Transportation Security Agents at ports of entries.  
In the Immigration arena, the only type of cases already affected is deportation cases.  The courts will only hear detainee cases.  Other cases are being temporarily stopped. 
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