It is often said that your journey defines who you are. Journey for a typical H-1B immigrant is:
- Apply for H-1B
- Change job(s) until you land at your dream company
- Apply for green card, or return to home country when the time is up
- Continue to apply for H-1 extensions until green card arrives
- 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):
- Folks waiting for their employment based green cards are “Americans in waiting”
- US government should worry about these “Americans in waiting” and keep the H-1B status quo
- “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.
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