Saturday, February 14, 2009

FBI arrests 2 Clinton men

More crackdown on legal immigration.
Vineet Maheshwari, 35, and Fazal Mehmood, also known as Fazal Awan, 49, have been arrested and are set to appear for a hearing Friday in Des Moines.

Affidavits in the cases say both men were allowed to work in the United States because of employer documents filed by Worldwide Software Services or Sana Systems. Court records show that Mehmood and Maheshwari are listed in various immigration documents as president, director, vice president and manager of the companies

According to federal court documents, Maheshwari, originally from India, is accused of fraud and misuse of immigration documents; specifically, he is accused of knowingly and falsely making a document prescribed by statute or regulation as evidence of authorized stay or employment and knowingly making a false statement under oath in an application and document required by immigration laws
More here at: FBI arrests 2 Clinton men

Friday, February 13, 2009

11 Indians arrested for H1B visa and mail fraud

DES MOINES, Iowa — Federal agents arrested 11 individuals in 6 states Wednesday as part of an investigation into suspected visa and mail fraud. Matthew G. Whitaker, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Iowa, announced the operation, which was carried out by federal, state and local law enforcement agencies in Iowa, California, Massachusetts, Texas, Pennsylvania, Kentucky, and New Jersey.

VISION SYSTEMS GROUP, INC., a New Jersey Domestic Profit Corporation, with a branch office in Coon Rapids, Iowa, was also indicted in a ten count federal indictment that included one count of conspiracy, eight counts of mail fraud, and one count of ‘Notice of Forfeiture’ in the amount of $7,400,000.

The people arrested are:

Shiva NEELI, Arrested in Boston, MA
Ramakrishna MAGULURI, Arrested in Atlanta, GA
Villiappan SUBBAIAH, Arrested in Dallas, TX
Suresh POLA, Arrested in Pennsylvania (SAC PHI)
Vishnu REDDY, Arrested in Los Angeles, CA
Chockalingam PALANIAPPAN, Arrested in San Jose, CA
Vijay MYNENI, Arrested in San Jose, CA
Venkata GUDURU, Arrested in New Jersey
Praveen ANDAPALLY, Arrested in New Jersey
Amit JUSTA, Arrested in New Jersey
Karambir YADAV, Arrested in Louisville, KY

More here at USCIS website

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Follow up comes in TARP

So, the ground work to introduce anti-H1B provisions was laid out in the AP article last week. As Greg Siskind analyzes below, this was just an attack piece conceived by the folks sympathetic to Programmer's Guild and their likes. In fact the only "experts" the article mentions are John Miano from the Guild and Ron Hira. The follow up to the article was introduced as an amendment to the stimulus bill and was passed by voice vote. As I said a few months ago, the restrictionists will have a party this year putting in all kinds of protectionist rules.

'Buy American' Comes to TARP
The U.S. Senate voted on Feb. 6 to put stricter limits on banks and other recipients of taxpayer money through the Troubled Assets Relief Program, or TARP, that want to hire high-skilled workers from overseas under the H-1B visa program. The Senate approved the measure – introduced by Senators Charles Grassley (R-Iowa) and Bernie Sanders (Independent-Vermont) – by voice vote as an amendment the economic stimulus package President Barack Obama is urging the Senate to pass.

The amendment that passed isn’t as tough as the one Grassley proposed on Feb. 5, which would have prohibited firms from hiring H-1Bs altogether. The modified amendment instead makes TARP recipients jump through extra hoops before they can hire those foreign workers. Specifically, it subjects recipients of TARP funds to the same rules so-called H-1B dependent employers must follow. (An H-1B dependent employer is one whose workers brought in with that visa comprise 15% or more of the employer's total workforce.)

Blame the foreigners

From Greg Siskind's blog:

This morning the Associated Press is running one of the most unfair pieces I've seen in a long time regarding the H-1B visa program. I expect this sort of thing out of the xenophobic fringe press, but the AP is an organization that used to be known for objectivity. The story focuses on the hiring of H-1B workers in the banking sector and is running with the headline "Bailout banks tried to hire foreign workers." Ooh. That's really bad. Lots of Americans losing their jobs and here are these greedy banks hiring cheap foreign workers to replace them. The public has a right to know!

Let's discuss the facts cited in the article first and then we can move on to some of the really biased analysis. The AP's Frank Bass and Rita Beamish (it took two reporters to get a story this wrong?) tell readers that banks receiving more than $150 billion in bailout money hired more than 21,800 foreign workers. Wow. Oh wait, that's over the last six years. So we're talking about 3500 workers a year on average. And some of those years were in a pretty strong economy.

But how much does 3500 even mean? How many workers are there in the banking sector? Quite a lot, actually. According to the Labor Department, even with the economic downturn, there are still more than 8 million workers in the sector. And as of last year around this time, unemployment in the banking sector was just 3.2%. Most of the workers included in the 21,000 were brought in during this extremely low unemployment period.

So let's just be clear - banks seek to fill .04% of their workforce with H-1B workers. The horror!

The AP then goes on to mention that in fiscal year 2008, banks "sought" 4,163 H-1B visas. A couple of points that the reporters failed to mention:

- Fiscal year 2008 actually runs from October 1, 2007 until September 30, 2008. Because of high demand for the H-1B visa, applications must be filed six months ahead of the start of the fiscal year to have any chance so that means these applications were filed in April 2007.

- The number cited is the number of visas sought, not the number actually used. First, only about half of applicants actually got H-1B visas for fiscal year 2008 because of excessive demand. Second, many applicants who are approved for a visa by USCIS don't actually end up claiming the visa at a US consulate and entering to work for the sponsoring employer.

- A lot of those H-1B workers were educated in the US - many receiving MBAs at American universities around the country. We educated these folks so why should we not benefit from their work?

- Just how many H-1B workers in banking have been laid off? I know anecdotally quite a few because I've been helping many people facing sudden unemployment. This is absolutely critical to the story yet it is something left unanswered.

It became apparent to me reading a bit further in the article that this is just a hit piece set up by the same anti-H-1B folks in the high tech sector that have been pushing for protectionism for years. In fact, the only people quoted in the story are Programmers Guild members and Senator Chuck Grassley whose record on this issue speaks for itself. Funny how they can't find a single unemployed banking industry worker they can ask about supposedly training their foreign replacement.

And look at this statement in the story simply recited as fact:

Foreigners are attractive hires because companies have found ways to pay them less than American workers.

Aside from the fact that this is patently untrue, the reporters don't even bother to cite any studies showing this is true. They just state that companies routinely seek to replace more experienced hire paid Americans with these workers. Of course, if this were really possible, I suspect we would see more than .04% of the banking sector filled with H-1B workers. These are greedy bankers after all.

When newspapers that are struggling to survive are shelling out big bucks to the AP to run their wire stories, shouldn't they expect better?

Monday, January 26, 2009

Alberta Welcomes H-1B Visa Holders and Their Families

Temporary skilled worker visa holders: Alberta, Canada welcomes you and your family.

Even if you haven’t yet secured a permanent or full-time position in your field. With your fast-track Alberta Immigrant Nominee Program you could be granted permanent residency and you’ll never have to worry about your visa expiring again. And, you can move here right away. Alberta has the strongest and fastest growing economy in Canada, giving you the security and stability you’ve been searching for. The air is clean, the sky is blue and the people are as friendly as you’ve heard.


Thursday, January 22, 2009

Visa Bulletin - February 2009

Here's the latest visa bulletin, as you can see nothing much has changed.


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New Year 2009

Last year was a bad year for immigration legislation with the Presidential elections looming and no politician willing to take sides. This year with one political party getting a landslide victory in both the Presidential race and the Congressional elections, we may see policy shift to one side or the other. Not to sound cliche, but change is coming.

The economic meltdown means that pro-immigrant groups will have a much tougher job trying to push through their agenda as they try to make the case that immigration laws have to look past and ahead of year-to-year economic climate. Myopic anti-immigration groups will have a much easier task although many of them tend to be in the party that is not in power. We will keep an eye out for the circus to continue.

Friday, November 07, 2008

Visa Bulletin - December 2008

The visa bulletin has been released and is available here:


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Thursday, November 06, 2008

Massive Overhaul of Immigration Services Planned

From Washington Post:

The Bush administration has launched a massive overhaul of the nation's long-troubled immigration services agency, tapping an IBM-led industry consortium to re-invent the way government workers help immigrants obtain visas, seek citizenship and get approval to work in the United States

The agency, which was spun off from the former U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Services and merged into the Department of Homeland Security in 2003, receives about 6 million to 8 million applications from immigrants a year, but relies on a pre-computer age, paper-based system of 70 million files identified by immigrants' "A-numbers" or alien registration numbers.

IT Firm Settles With DOL to Pay $1.7 Million Backwage Payment to H-1B Workers

From Attorney Mathew Oh's blog:

DOL has announced that GlobalCynex Inc., a Sterling information technology company, has agreed to pay $1,683,584 to 343 non-immigrant workers after a U.S. Labor Department investigation found the company violated the H-1B visa provisions of the Immigration and Nationality Act. An investigation by the department's Wage and Hour Division found that employees hired under the H-1B program were not paid required wages from March 2005 through March 2007. Wage and Hour Division investigators also found that the company charged new H-1B workers training fees ranging from $1,000 to $2,500 that were in violation of the law. Globalcynex reportedly runs operations in Hyderabad, India, and provides offshore services. For the announcement, click here. Reportedly, if the settlement were split evenly among all 343 employees, they would get nearly $5,000 each, and the settlement is one of the largest of its kind involving the H-1B program.