Archive for August, 2010

Prevailing Wage and H-1B

August 19, 2010

The Department of Labor (DOL) just penalized a Company in Atlanta (Smartsoft International Inc) one million dollars for not paying 135 of its H-1B employees the prevailing wage. In this blog I am NOT defending Smartsoft. If they promised the DOL that they would pay a certain amount to their employees, they should do it. And many Indian run companies operate as they do in India, abusing employees. They forget that employees here have recourse that they would not in India.

However this blog is about fairness where prevailing wage is concerned on the part of the DOL. They just came out with a new prevailing wage system, where most wages are higher than the previous prevailing wage. We are in the midst of a recession, the rate of employment now is higher than it has been in at least a decade. Soon deflation is going to be the reality in the USA, but not in the world of the DOL’s Prevailing Wage.  Thus if Smartsoft was paying its H-1B workers the same as their other US Citizen workers,(and I don’t know if they were or not)  would that be a crime? After all isn’t Prevailing Wage the Wage that is “prevalent” at a particular place? And why would an employer pay more when there are 50 people who will do the same job for less?

I think the US has realized that they have a cash cow in employment based immigration. H-1B and L-1 fees for certain Companies (mainly Indian Computer based companies) were raised to pay for US border security. Companies don’t have compelling stories, and the democrats don’t like them. But these small companies will simply outsource the jobs to India. And can the US afford a retaliatory price increase if the Indian Government wishes to implement that to secure its borders as well?

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


Chop Shop and Job Shop- The New 4 Letter H-1B words

August 10, 2010

The Senate passed a $600 million border security bill last Thursday, and tucked inside that bill was a provision that would raise the H-1B filing fees.  For companies which employs more than 50% of its employees on H-1B, the filing fees for each application would be $4820/- (currently it is $2320/). The bill is now being debated in the House and if passed, will head to President for signature.

This would impact big Indian IT companies like Infosys, but not the US companies like Microsoft or Google. This is of course discriminatory. Borrowing a word that has been used by the Citizenship and Immigration Service (CIS) for Indian IT firms, Sen. Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) called Infosys a “chop Shop.” The CIS seems convinced that all Indian IT firms are filing “false petitions.” The Government of India has protested this. The US needs India in the war against Al Qaeda and to keep China in check. Can it afford a bad relationship with any of the BRIC nations?

The President  and his party in their socialist type agenda want to “preserve” US jobs.  Getting rid of the free market economy in this deep recession will only hurt the US economy more. Infosys and other companies are already paying $2320/- per H-1B beneficiary. $1500/- of that is supposed to educate the US public. I have yet to see an education program funded by that money. The Companies will simply cease to do business in the US. And yes, today the US market is the biggest.  But Asia and the BRIC countries are coming up , and together with Europe and Canada, will have more clout than the US.

The history of Immigration Law is ripe with untold discrimination against “colored people”. It is time to end this discrimination. However I cannot forget that Nancy Polosi had once said that if she gave amnesty to the illegal immigrants, she would not make them pay.  She would raise the fee on H-1B, because these “legal”employers had the money to pay, which the illegal immigrants did not. So my hopes for the House not passing this bill is slim indeed.

The new N word for Indian Companies have indeed become “job shop” or “chop shop” and this time its our Government who is using these words.

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

The Leaked CIS Memo

August 6, 2010

On Sunday, July 29, a memo written by 4 chief personnel (including Mr. Neufeld of the now infamous January 8 H-1B memo) wrote a proposal to Director Mayorkas about strategies that the CIS can provide to individuals, to ” promote family unity, foster economic growth ……. and reduce the threat of removal of certain individuals.” Of course the Republicans immediately decried the memo as providing “backdoor amnesty.”  However, as the Republicans fail to realize, these are remedies that will make America economically stronger, and promises no one the Permanent Residency.

Amongst the business immigration proposals, is extending the 10 day grace period usually given at the end of a visa before a foreign national has to return to her home country to 45-90 days. In this economy many H-1Bs have lost their jobs. They have homes, their children have schools, etc. Clearly 10 days is not enough to pack up and leave a place that someone called home for years.

The agency might also grant work permits to H-4 non immigrant spouses of H-1B workers. H-1Bs are given to Specialized Professionals. The visa is initially given for 3 yrs and a total of 6 yrs. The spouses cannot work.  Human nature demands that people be productive. I have seen marriages break up because spouses cannot work. Letting someone stay in the country for 6 years and beyond, and not granting them the right to work is a violation of a fundamental right.

The third proposal is to grant “dual intent” ie intent to have Permanent Residency to F (students) O (Outstanding category) TN (Nafta treaty visas), P (athletes and Performers) and E (Treaty trader) visa holders.  This dual intent is available for H and L visa holders, but not for the above mentioned professionals. However it is in the US National interest to grant Permanent Residency to retain these professionals.

All of these above proposals are for legal non immigrants doing jobs which the majority of Republican and Tea Party supporters cannot do; jobs that require education, training and a brain. However, since this memo was leaked to the media, and there is tremendous Republican backlash, I doubt that any of these proposals will come to fruition.

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