Archive for June, 2008

J-1 Student Internship

June 23, 2008

The USCIS released final regulations regarding J-1 Student Intern visa. This new visa will allow a student, enrolled in post secondary education, to intern with private or Government sector employers for training. This will provide much needed work experience to foreign students. Previously the students could only work on CPT or OPT, and the length of time was highly restrictive. In contract, USC students could enter into any number of internships. Thus US students could have a competitive advantage in graduate studies or the job market.

It is nice to note that ALL students (and not just STEM students) can avail of this situation. The OPT extension,l by contract is ONLY available to STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) students. I still fail to realize how technology cannot include Engineering. Also I am appalled by the cold world era emphasis on Science in this day and age. If one looks at great works of literature, movie, music, it is primarily produced by hyphenated Americans, (like Chinese-American, Indian-Americans, etc.) Scan the Pulitzer or Oscar list. Same is true of any Management Degree holders, whose international experience is greatly necessary for global business. Yet the government only recognizes the need for STEM students. This is so reminiscent of the Cold War. But then, so is the War on Terror.

The Politics of Immigration

June 8, 2008

The issue of Immigration has broad bi partisan support. But at loggerheads are two issues, business immigration and granting status to illegal immigrants. Business immigration laws restrict the number of immigrants that can come in for instance on the H-1B visa (professional visa) and employment based green cards. Tech companies like google and Microsoft are severely affected. This year google received more than 1 million application for jobs . They filed only 300 H-1B visas. 90 of those visas did not get accepted. Google has the reputation of being one of the best employers and hire the very best. In fact one of google founders, Sergey Brin, is an immigrant.

Responding to complaints by Google and Microsoft, both the house and senate has bills to increase the H-1B quotas and exclude people in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) from the quota.

But such bills are often not passed, and tend to be rejected by those law makers who believe that there is more pressing need to legalize illegal immigrants rather than do something about business immigration. Comprehensive immigration is great, but almost impossible to pass in this divided congress. Yet the champions of legalizing illegal immigrants often do not want to pass immigration reform to grant businesses more professional immigrants. Ultimately, what those Senators and Congressmen and women fail to see is that Immigration benefits us, no matter what type it is. Restricting professional immigrants just results in those professional jobs being outsources to other countries, and the US loosing its foothold in the world.

DOL to Audit ALL Perms filed by Big law Firm

June 3, 2008

The Department of Labor announced yesterday that it will audit every PERM filing by Fragomen, which is the biggest immigration law firm in the US. The DOL charged that some of their lawyers engaged in questionable and illegal practices while advising employers. What it means for individual clients is that their cases will be delayed, in many cases denied, and in still many cases the employer has to do supervised recruitment all over again. All because they chose the wrong law firm.

The biggest law firms almost always charge more and tout their experience. Sometimes they even say that the CIS knows their firm personally and give them better service. This is all totally false. The only thing that big law firms care about is their profit margin. The clients pay for their shiny offices and become just a number in the firm. They are not individual cases, just a number. The paralegal does all the work and many times, the attorney does not even have the time to review the case over. Many times, the paralegal does not even possess the paralegal degree and just knows how to type.

When retaining a lawyer, the client should ask the question as to who will actually work on the case, and what the education and experience of that person is. It is also helpful to ask how many clients the firm has and how many lawyers there are. Divide the number to gauge if an individual lawyer will actually look at your case.

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The Brighest and the Best

June 1, 2008

Anti Immigration groups like the Center for Immigration Studies charge that the foreign workers who come in to the United States are not the Brightest and the Best. Dr. Norman Matloff, a Professor of Computer Science, in UC Davis, recently wrote a paper full of fallacies, whose main theme is that Asian students are inferior than American and Western students in Math and Science.

Lets look at some facts here. The Dept of Labor has mandated that foreign workers have to be paid more than the prevailing wage. The CIS fees for Companies over 25 workers is $2340/- each H-1B employee. Add attorneys fees to that, and the figure can reach almost $5000/- per H-1B individual. Would it make market sense then, for a Company to hire a foreign worker if American workers are available? Surely Mr. Matloff does not think that American businesses, like Cisco, Google and Microsoft, who he quoted in his article are stupid in making business decisions.

What Mr. Matloff has done to prove that Asian students are lower than European students is taken averages from those countries. Yes, Europe will have a higher average any day than China or India. That is because European countries have a homogeneous and small population, with free public education. India and China have over a billion people and of course cannot afford to educate its entire population. The same is true of states in the US. The average PSAT score which is used to compute the average for National Merit Scholarship is much higher in North Dakota than it is in CA, NY or TX. ND has a much smaller and homogeneous population than the larger states. But if you look at the population of students in the ivy leagues from the bigger states, there are more students from these states than there is from North Dakota. So the brightest and the best does not necessarily coincide with the median.

If we are to look at averages, can Mr Matloff explain why Asians have, as a group scored higher in the Math portion of the SATs? Why compared to their population in the general US society, so many Asians get accepted into the ivys? Bear in mind that Asians get neither legacy nor affirmative action in terms of admission to these ivys. My daughter just graduated from Yale University with distinction in Literature, and yes, the top scoring Science and Math student at Yale in 2008 was a student from Vietnamese origin. This is not a statistics, just a fact.

There’s got to be a lot of Asian students taking Computer Science at UC Davis. Do they enroll in Mr. Matloff’s class. If so, I would dearly love to know how he grades these students. With his prejudicial views, I doubt that he is a fair and impartial grader.