H-1B lottery

By | CIS, Commentary, H1-B, Immigration Policy | No Comments

Every year as winter starts to fade into spring, the Citizenship and Immigration Service receives thousands of petitions for H-1B visas. 236 thousand petitions last year to be precise. H-1B visas are used by US Employers to get highly qualified professionals, mainly in Science and Computer fields, from other countries. The Congress has imposed a quota on new H-1B visas of 65K every year (plus 20 K for US Master’s Degree holders). So every year in mid-April, the Citizenship and Immigration Service does a lottery and only the lucky 65K + 20 K get in.

The chances of getting into the lottery in 2016 is a little more than one in three. As our country grows, its needs grow resulting in more and more petitions and less chances for petitions to be selected. If an attorney prepares the H-1B file, the employer loses the attorney’s fees if they do not get into the lottery. Thus big companies like Google, Facebook, Microsoft and other Silicon Valley Billion dollar company can afford to lose money and file thousands of petitions every year. Google for instance filed 9280 petitions last year. That’s like buying 9280 lottery tickets rather than one that the small employer can afford. And although the lottery probably is random, the probability for winning it is higher if you buy more lottery tickets. And yes, we business Immigration attorneys earn a lot of money during that process as well.
The Citizenship and Immigration Service always maintained that the lottery process was fair. However, two companies in Portland Oregon—-Tenrec Inc. and Walker Macy LLC has filed a lawsuit against the Citizenship and Immigration Service to make the lottery process more transparent. A federal judge has ruled that the plaintiffs have standing to sue. What the plaintiffs’ are asking for though, is to not close the accepting of Petitions for the first 5 business days in April, but prolong it year long. That might actually be worse in creating log jams and increasing processing times for H-1B petitions. And American Immigration Lawyer’s Association has also filed a FOIA suit to make the lottery process more transparent.
Although greater transparency is desired from any Governmental organization, mere transparency will not solve the H-1B problem. The market place works on a supply and demand theory. The artificial quota system demands that employers project their need in the beginning of the year, think about the lottery and apply as many petitions as possible. Similarly highly educated tech employees in India and elsewhere seek out employers and in many cases pay them to file their cases. But doing away with the quota requires a Congressional Act, and as we all know, Congress does not act.

For more information call Banerjee& Associates.

US Citizenship

By | Citizenship and Naturalization, Commentary | No Comments

Today the United States Constitution was signed into existence by our Founding Fathers. Thus Sept 17 is celebrated at Constitution Day and Citizenship Day. But what does American Citizenship mean? American Citizenship, like citizenship in most countries is a bunch of rights and obligations, derived from the Constitution to people who are subject to the jurisdiction of the United States. USA ensures that the people are protected and lead a happy life. The citizens elect the Government to run the State, and serve in the jury.
Citizenship in the United States is derived either through birth or by Naturalization, when one lives a certain length of time in the United States as a legal permanent resident. Naturalized citizen have to take a test of English and knowledge of Civics, and prove that they have good moral character.
Yet USA is a nation of Immigrants. As each wave of Immigrants came into this country, they settled down and became Americans. They developed a deep nationalism, and looked down upon the next wave of Immigrants. We have had waves of Germans, Irish, Italians, Asians, and South Americans. Each wave blaming the next for being “un-American”. Yet the general population has been very accepting of immigrants and they have assimilated quickly. Unlike countries like Canada and Europe who have the mosaic system, United States’ Melting Pot system creates better assimilation and a sense of nationalism among immigrants.
Citizenship also comes saddled with popular notions of patriotism. If someone does not stand up for the national anthem, someone protest a flag, are they being unpatriotic and hence not a worthy citizen? Similarly, a large group of people think that good citizens need to speak English and eat hot dogs and apple pie to be “real” Americans. And good citizen in that notion is completely subjective. It’s your own to make, whether it’s the notion of protecting the liberty that’s guaranteed by the Government, or whether as some put it, their forefathers have died for the country, the flag and the anthem.
For more information contact Banerjee & Associates