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Immigrant vs Immigrant

It is often said that your journey defines who you are. Journey for a typical H-1B immigrant is:

  1. Apply for H-1B
  2. Change job(s) until you land at your dream company
  3. Apply for green card, or return to home country when the time is up
  4. Continue to apply for H-1 extensions until green card arrives
  5. After getting the green card, apply for citizenship when the time arrives, or continue to live on green card or return to home country

One would expect someone who has traversed through this journey, either in it’s entirety or until an intermediate step, would have empathy towards others who are yet to start the journey or are at a worse stage than you in this process. It is this very reason that I continue to participate in the forum even though I am neither an attorney nor do I gain nothing financially from it. It’s just that I like to make this journey a little more understandable, easy and legal for other immigrants.

However, since the demand for H-1B has skyrocketed, it has pitched one H-1B immigrant/applicant against another. We bicker over who is more “deserving” and who is not. We fight over who is more “ethical” and who is not. In the end, we all want to be able to put our foot into the door to reach that 1st step and get H-1B. I am not here to determine who is more deserving, but just to raise the concern that instead of working towards the improvement of the system, we are busy in “pulling” others down so that we can step up the ladder.

Now what would that improvement look like. Well there are some things that are in your hand and a lot of important things that are out of your hands. For instance, you can decide that you will not abuse the system. You will not pay for your H-1B and let all those desi consulting companies die their own death when they are not able to find candidates who are willing to pay the money. As long as they are able to find even one sucker, they would continue to suck the oxygen out of the room. You can decide that you will not knowingly enroll in a school that flaunts CPT rules and then cry victim when the law catches up with the school. You can decide to share your good or bad experience with other H-1B aspirants, so that they don’t fall into similar pitfalls.

And then there are things that are out of your control – limited H-1B seats tops that list. Irrespective of what different politicians say, no one wants to touch the H-1B cap numbers. Moving the numbers up or down will always result in enough haters; and keeping status quo keeps everyone calm. Beside it gives them a bargaining chip to discuss other immigration issues like illegal immigration.

Even though all this has been going on for a while, what really compelled me to write this article is a recent experience on one of the WhatsApp group I am member of. On the group, someone shared an online petition with me. Here is the link to the petition. I will copy the text as well, in case the petition gets deleted/edited in future

No Respite for Highly-skilled Americans-in-Waiting. Need Portable Work Authorization & Recapture 500K Green Cards
On Nov 25th 2014, President Obama signed an executive action (https://goo.gl/wPP4K9) that would make it possible for the highly-skilled workers to obtain portable work authorization (I140 EAD and AP). Close to two years since then, there have been no updates on this action. Thousands of green cards are being wasted every year, with an estimated 500,000 green cards wasted so far, while the highly-skilled workers continue to wait in a queue that may take 20-50 years. We urge you to review and take necessary actions to recapture unused green cards, and provide portable work authorization. We want what American workers want – No H-1B worker increases and an equal opportunity to help us build our careers, innovate, and contribute towards the American economy.

I agree in essence with the petition that it has been years since we were shown a glimpse of hope but nothing has materialized since. However, the text of the petition makes me really concerned. In nutshell, the petition is saying 3 things (among other things):

  1. Folks waiting for their employment based green cards are “Americans in waiting”
  2. US government should worry about these “Americans in waiting” and keep the H-1B status quo
  3. “Americans in waiting” are in line w/ American workers that H-1B program should not be improved

Wow!!! The petition is pitching one immigration program (Green Card) vs another immigration program (H-1B). It is astounding that there are people who don’t mind screwed-up immigration programs as long as they have extracted its benefits. At the time of writing this article, 56,554 people have already signed this petition. Not sure how many actually read the text and understand what it meant and how many signed it as just another petition for White House. I hope this petition is an outlier and not start of a new trend of mentality where green card aspirants are ready to walk over the H-1B aspirants.

In the end, we all are in the same ship. Some are in the stern and some are in the bow. A sinking ship will sink all and it’s in best interest of all that we don’t pitch one immigrant against another.

Image Credit : https://i.kinja-img.com/gawker-media/image/upload/17m7ogjtqaha9jpg.JPG


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  1. Hi Saurabh,
    I have a question around job change with H1B visa.
    I have an offer from an US based X company. They applied for my visa and it got approved. Stamping is done and i am expected to fly in February. As per my understanding H1B is bound to at least 1 employer at a time and you need to get it changed officially before moving to other company.
    Now my question is suppose i manage to get an offer from some other company Y, can i get my H1B transferred to Y without even joining X, while i am in india only?
    If yes, what is the standard procedure, is there any caveat?


    • Garg,

      If you find Y, then Y can file a cap-exempt petition for you even while you are in India. They would need a copy of your current approval notice for this. Rest of the process is similar to your initial filing.

      • Hi Saurabh,
        Thanks for the answer.

        I have one more question if you can answer:
        Is it okay to travel on B1 for company X when i have stamped H1b visa with company Y?
        So i got my H1b visa stamped this October for company Y. But i will join it in coming January. Meanwhile my current indian employer X (US based) want me to travel B1 to US for some meetings on (I have travelled for my current employer before as well for 16 days in June).

        Also, if its okay to travel for X on B1. Should i be cautious or take precautions about anything? will there be any questions while entering on B1 for current X employer and while entering on H1 for Y that i may face?
        In nut shell please tell me all the caveats.

        Thanks! Really appreciate the help.

        • Garg,

          There is a possibility that when you appear for H-1 stamping, they would cancel their B-1 stamp w/o prejudice. If officer indicates that, tell them that you plan to use B-1 in near future for official purposes before you would travel on H-1.

          If that doesn’t happen, you can travel on B-1 and then re-enter on H-1 later.

  2. This Petition has been prepared by someone who came to US for MS/MBA and didn’t end up with a good job. Most of the people in the Green Card Aspirants group think that getting a Green card will add value to their life.

    They would bad mouth India day in and day out and wax eloquent the easy life of America. But they don’t understand one fact it is at the end it is all the same.

  3. Hi Saurabh,
    Excellent analysis and very nice of you to remind other Indians who have got their H1B to burn that bridge for others.

    Blueboyboston: I sincerely tried reading all the way of your post to see if you make any point. You did kind of start well with the story of where the H1B-journey starts.
    For me it started when some of my classmates started reading wordlists under the table during third year of college, I didnt even know how to apply, even though I knew people do MS in USA.
    I was really hoping you would make some kind of point even though I may not have agreed. Looks like you were just venting out some frustration. Whatever it is about, I wish you good luck.

    • “””The petition is pitching one immigration program (Green Card) vs another immigration program (H-1B)”””

      Saurabh , it seems that you were high on something when you wrote that.

      Actually, H1b is NOT a immigration program or Immigrant Visa. It’s a temporary work permit visa. Get your facts straight and stop misleading these fools!

    • IamOnH1B,

      White House will respond to the petition. Doesn’t mean an action will be taken, but a response will be received. Anyone’s guess what that response would be.

  4. Please people, Please sign this.


  5. Okay.. So time to review a review. Well I am kinda sick of explaining people on why this petition is right or wrong. Yeah you can tag me a pro-petition. I don’t give a shit. But since I don’t sleep this early, I would rather put my time into reviewing this blog. Lol.. yes like the blogger say, I don’t have anything to do with it but I will still spend next hour to write it, then proof read it, then paste to word to check spelling mistakes and think of cool words I know and then post it. After all I have nothing to do with it.
    Spoiler alert: I am going to say everything to oppose what the blogger writes.
    The blogger starts with journey of how a typical H1B is … but that is not exactly how you simply H1B my friend. Please note I am just trying to show how this journey is much more complex than the way our blogger was trying to make it more understandable, easy and legal for us.
    H1B journey starts when a girl leaves her well settled job in India to marry and move with an immigrant worker in US. H1B journey starts when father breaks the family’s long kept SBI bank fixed deposit to pay for the kids GRE exam. H1B journey starts when an IIT graduate with single digit ranks in Mains decide to pursue his Masters in US. And there are many H1B journey start points than you can think of. They start from all kinds of visa A-Z and job professions including but not limited to hotel management, charity org and medical care.
    My friend H1B journey gets way more complicated than changing jobs or returning to home country. H1B journey gets complicated when the husband and wife working in two different states wait for 2,3, or 5yrs to have a kid. H1B stories get complicated when spouses meet on weekends and live during the week with roomates. They get complicated when you leave no stone unturned to avoid your 8 month pregnant wife go through lease cancellation, selling stuff and air travel for return to India for good.
    The journey continues to get ugly, losing your friends whom you have lived for several years. Or seeing the white more wrinkles on your parents face and hands than the days you have actually spent with them in last several years. The journey gets further bad when you miss your best friend’s wedding, make excuses to attend your cousins wedding and really really bad when tears roll down your parents eyes when they first see your son or daughter three years after birth.
    Let me not overdo emotions. Ever ate Maggi?? You must have .. don’t say no. H1B is more complicated than maggi in a blow. Should I give you more masala or shall we get technical?
    Demand for H1B has skyrocketed? Lol.. I see the companies on the sky and really need a rocket to get to them. Let me bring facts to table, H1B workers are last on the list of companies hiring permanent workers. Have one year left on the current H1B and want to change jobs?? Go figure. H1B workers are not eligible for any govt. job that require a clearance. Although some people have workarounds but majority of people don’t secure a clearance.
    Let’s keep moving. No sir, immigrants are not pitched against immigrants. In reality it is the “I will not surrender in facebook trolling” attitude. 95% of these people (throwing some random number there) forget that facebook argument by the weekend when they are in a BBC agreeing on a draft beer pitcher that is cheaper to buy, with nachos that serves all and one order of chicken wings to quietly eat one from it because family is otherwise vegetarian. It’s actually funny to compare but we take this attitude at many other forums. AAP vs Non AAP. Modi vs Kejriwal. Kashmir vs Pakistan or even cow vs chicken meat.
    People may skip to vote, never checked what elected members do a on a daily basis, or have ever been to Kashmir, keep aside eating meat, but we want to participate and argue.. because I have facebook where no one can do anything against me (atleast that’s how most take it) and I can say anything to a guy several thousand miles away. Ohh boy.. imagine that 6 ft guy living next door and you skinny radish shouting at him for improper parking .. lol .. you would be going home with a blue eye.
    I really compare trolling as a new toilet bowl, western style.. brand new.. with AC vent in the bathroom and shiny ceramic tiles below. You eat something in a very nice restaurant in the city, next day you take a dump in that pleasing environment. Everything that a purpose before you ate is now shit.. all mixed up (female readers would have gone eeewww… here, I bet). Anyhow I was saying that you basically convert important topics into shit. And that’s what you have managed to here knowingly or unknowingly.
    In the essence of time let’s shift gears to your other observations – Non – abuse of the system.. haha.. The only time a desi don’t want to try anything is when he has a slight feeling that its illegal and there are chances to get caught. I won’t say much but I have seen more people who figure out a way to live in US by any and all means; than who are dreaming to kill the desi companies, supplying people to Indian software companies with offices in US by not paying them H1B fee.. omg you are funny.
    Ohh yes I was bhagat singh .. no wrong comparison.. I was Karan.. you are Arjun.. we both make Karan Arjun and don’t pay these consultants any money. But how about that friend of yours who got picked up in the lottery but don’t have a real job and the consultant is keeping her by taking money. Aah.. ok I get it.. she is beautiful.. you tried to help her with job hunt and sent a contact of a friend of friend whose friend is a citizen and consultant running his desi firm.
    By the way I just saw the news.. all those desi consultants were choked to death.. they just formed an alliance and paid $1000 each to buy oxygen. I expect them to run out of money. Soon they will lose all their contracts with the multibillion dollar software companies from India and local US employers because those who are running them are dumb and they are not Scrooge McDuck who know how to use their money.
    And yes I am the intelligent-est breed from India. And MIT and Stanford just wait for me with open arms. Have you ever seen the comments student make on the college facebook pages.. – “I am coming to Boston, I have heard there is a lot of snow. Should I buy a cycle when I come or can I rent one for summer?” Poor fellow from Nagpur.. first in his known 4 generations to come to US, who hasn’t seen a sea beach in his life or travelled in aircraft, keep aside the snow, in all his life and will probably come over to Boston in Jan in his best pair of sports shoes. His state of geography being Newyork State and city as to Tamil Nadu is in Chennai… We expect him to not look for a job at Indian store when he is here for few months.
    You know the actual immigrant vs immigrant fight begins when there are way too many students who sign up to clean the college campus, work in the café or the bookstore.
    And above all those students become the luckiest of all who sign up a very authentic looking fake college set up USCIS and fall prey to intermediates who promise a good college and OPT / CPT.
    H1B is a touchy subject but you got that wrong too.. just like your easy understandable journey of H1B. The status-quo is not keeping everyone calm. If it was calm you would not have seen that Whatapp group that you are a part of. Rent a small 2 bed room apartment for 5 years, ride a dealer certified used honda civic and think twice to go out to eat and you will know what the status quo is.
    No but wait ..you knew everything…and you just got out of deep sleep wrote five paragraphs of generic understanding of H1B, blamed the situation and then added only 3 points on petition that prompted you to write the entire blog? Ahh the petition wasn’t long enough .. its wasn’t a Topi Masala Dosa .. for a lot of Masala…lol..
    Yeah nothing materialized because no one ever lifted their heads from their phones… trolling gives so much pleasure.. yeah it does like I am having now.. getting all my energies utilized to show that you are evil. What pleasure it is.
    I am really not sure how you select three things “among other things” and call it a nut shell. May be you choose to put those three points in a nut shell and gift to reader while comfortably ignoring the rest of ‘other things’. I am just having nacho’s in a nut shell… chicken and beer are among other things…lol
    Yeah I am going to work in the US …get my green card and go back to India.. while I have spend most of my life here.. my kids are US citizens by birth and I’ll just ignore all that. I’ll give up all the social security and medicare I have paid for all my life from my paycheck and now when I need it the most, I will just pack my bags and move to India.
    This is the desi pana .. when you hate someone’s plan to do better in life. This is the real example of what you say in your blog of pulling each other down. Which you have done by ignoring everything else what the petition does and focusing on “American”.
    Remember Chatur.. from 3 idiots.. imagine yourself in his boots and his accent and saying this with your head waving making a question mark… “you don’t have a green card yet .. how can you call yourself an American”..
    Per your analysis “No H1B Worker increase = No H1B improvement “
    No pun intended. You need some yoga and healthy breakfast… keep your mind cool and try to read more news than Pokemon go. I am not even going to grade you for that remark.
    And what happened to your feelings of caring for each other and doing the right thing that you started your blog with? All of a sudden you spider man friends turned black from red?? They became evil?
    “The US government should worry about ‘these Americans in waiting’ “
    I guess it did not take you long to set an example. What happened to the Empathy???
    And just for your info.. the whole Green Card and H1B and L1 and OPT and all other A,B,C is just one program.. immigration. There are no two parties. The US congress put everyone in a nutshell… and then they break the nuts.
    Yes every one is looking for some solution because with every day things are getting worse and out of hands. You are correct again, not many have read the petition and understand its meaning like you. All they do is pickup on a line .. make three lines of it.. put them in a nutshell. Copy paste the blog .. act polite for three paragraphs, make a blog for themselves and selectively reply in pink color to whoever they can pick a trolling fight with.
    A sinking ship will sink all.. remember that ..

    • “Anyhow I was saying that you basically convert important topics into shit.”

      I share the same view after reading this long and redundant comment.

  6. I have signed the petition since at large its going to help the Indian and Chinese community if there is a recapture of EB visa or if there is i140 ead. But the H1b part could have been removed in the petition if they wants it to remain as is instead of explicitly calling it out. But think other way, requesting for H1b increase in this petition would not help any body since it is already been discussed in congress and is rejected for the job loss it has created among Americans. What Americans never really have discussed in the green card petition which are wasted

    • @Raj
      Are you sure H1B jobs are creating job loss to Americans? I see big IT companies from India are hiring locals for higher salaries than employees on H1 or L1 which get sold for cheaper. Ya.. there are some cases which did some employee replacements with cheaper employees, which is not acceptable. But does not mean H1B is taking America jobs. There are many among H1B who have created millions of jobs locally. Don’t blame H1B. Its geneal mentality to crush the people who lifted them.

  7. Yeah, the line which says “We want what American workers want – No H-1B worker increases” is troubling.

    It is undermining the same program under which you came here for better career/life. We should be defending the H1B programme not burnt the bridge after we cross it.

  8. You misread the intent of the petition. Please do not misconstrue this as an act of “pulling down” others.

    Nowhere in the petition is it stated to “decrease” the number of H1B. There is also no proof that increasing the H1B quota improves Indians chances of getting an H1B. Also, please note, even though you might not want to concede that there is a “deserving” and “non-deserving” H1B, the truth is, there is a very real distinction.

    There is a reason why the rules of the petition require that the cost of the H1B be borne by the petitioner and not the beneficiary. It is precisely to discourage fraudster body shops from abusing this visa. It is unfortunate that there are loop holes, and when there are loop holes, people will find a way to abuse it.

    Lastly, I just wanted to point out. H1B is NOT an immigrant visa. H1B holders are classified as “Temporary non-immigrant workers”. So the premise of your post “immigrant -vs- immigrant” is not entirely valid.

    • Arun,

      The petition says “We want what American workers want – No H-1B worker increases”. I don’t know how you interpreted it, but to me it means that a pending Green Card holder wants what an American worker wants, which is no increase in H-1B cap. Yes, it doesn’t ask for reduction of H-1B, but it does ask to leave H-1B quota untouched as a bargaining chip. It is using this as a sales pitch for its own purpose.

      There are thousands of folks (deserving or not) who don’t make through H-1B every year. Not sure why you would think that increasing the H-1B cap is not going to help the H-1B aspirants. Any increase in cap would make more people get through the cap – doesn’t matter whether they are Indian or not. This post is not for Indian workers exclusively, it’s for all H-1B applicants.

      In the end, I don’t have a problem with such petitions and I am one of those who have been waiting for my dates to become current for many years now. What concerns me is the text of the petition. I cannot vouch for such a petition with current text, but Hey change the text to something more acceptable and I am onboard.

      PS: The post isn’t titled “immigrant visa vs immigrant visa”. It is titled “immigrant vs immigrant”. Both H-1B holders and pending green card holders are immigrants in US. I don’t see why it would be an inappropriate title.

      • Saurabh,
        Excellent observations! I overlooked the H1B part towards the end and signed the petition. I should not have. I wish the petition could only focus only on the wasted green cards and not leave out the H1B thingy.

    • @Arun
      This petition clearly trying to crush H1B program, atleast not supporting to fix existing program which is broken. By not fixing the existing H1b program clearly keeps market demand and supply far apart, which will keep growing further due to lack of working level reasources and growing 60+ population. The waiting GC “non-immigrants ” don’t want to fix this as they want thier demand to be addressed first. There are many workers coming on L1 (they don’y come under cap) from big companies from India and start thier GC processing. Moreover there are many on L1A(become managers in few years) who can apply under EB1. If that is case what about the students who come here, invest time and money completing thier masters, apply mutiple years to go through H1B lottery, then go through GC process for 10+ years. This petetion is not going to help economic growth anyway. Fixing H1B process is as important as waiting GC queue.


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