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The H-1B Visa & US Immigration Fraud Cases Truth Revealed

In raids dating back to last October across New Jersey and California and then more recent Depart of Justice and State Law Enforcement raids in 7 states, many people have been arrested and organizations brought to a virtual standstill.

This all really is a part by many members of Congress who harbor an anti-immigrant sentiment in their War on the H-1B visa. They want to ensure they continue to be re-elected by pandering to bigots and keeping their electorates combines of such easily influenced people and not educated, hard working immigrants.

Some people have already been convicted receiving prison terms and large fines connected to this H1B Visa & Immigration fraud. Many of those targeted in the raids in California, New Jersey and recently in Massachusetts have been Indian Americans.

The maximum penalty for these crimes are 20 years in jail and/or $250,000 fine.

The findings back in October of the the United States Custom and Immigration Service (USCIS) report include the following;

1. The H-1B employer required the beneficiary to pay the ACWIA filings fee or deducted certain fees associated with filing the I-129 petition to obtain the H-1B visa, effectively lowering the beneficiary’s wages to less than the required prevailing wage. The filing fees are the responsibility of the employer but in practice this does not always take place.

2. The employer failed to pay the beneficiary at least the prevailing wage for the particular occupation in the specific geographical location, as noted and attested to on the LCA filed with DOL. So by filing an application with an address in a smaller state (like Iowa) thus with a lower average wage than where the applicant would actually be working (like New Jersey), they artificially lowered the wage they should have paid.

3. The beneficiary was working in a geographical location not covered by a valid LCA filed with DOL. This is a follow on of No.2 where in the above example there were authorized to work in Iowa but were elsewhere.

4. The employer placed the beneficiary in a non-productive status, commonly referred to as “benching” (where the beneficiaries are not paid or paid less than the full hours specified on the petition), when work was not immediately or continuously available. Employees have to be paid the prevailing wage at all times even when not on a project. Often Employers would force employees to sign fake long term absence forms due to illness to try and justify this illegal practice.

On the application itself it was found;

1. The business did not exist and thus it would just a sham application designed to get the applicant to the US under false pretences

2. The educational degrees or experience letters submitted were confirmed to be fraudulent;

3. Signatures had been forged on supporting documentation

4.The beneficiary was performing duties that were significantly different from those described on the LCA and I-129 petition. (In one instance, the position described on the petition and LCA was that of a business development analyst. However, when USCIS conducted its review, the petitioner stated they would be performing laundry duties)

Many of the cases reviewed exhibited multiple fraud indicators and/or technical violations.

KEY STATISTICAL FINDINGS:

From the US audit of 246 H1B petitions, it was found 51 (about 20%) had violation(s) of some degree. Not all warranted criminal prosecution but were fraudulent nonetheless.
The breakdown was as follows.

Fraud: 13.4% (33 cases)
Technical Violation(s): 7.3% (18 cases)
Overall Violation Rate: 20.7% (51 cases)

U.S. Attorney Matthew Whitaker said at a Feb. 12 press conference that the indictments were “just the tip of the iceberg” when it comes to U.S. visa fraud.

Summary

The strange thing about all of this is firstly that this has been going on for a long time and immigrants have been complaining to the Department of Labor of this unfair and illegal treatment continuously before now something was done.

Funnily enough of course, this investigation which initially came to a head last year as a criminal case against unscrupulous company, lawyers and government officials barely attracting any media attention, has now become a front page story.

Immigrants have been abused in the workplace by the American bosses verbally and in physical ways by being asked to perform extreme workloads and receive low pay rates being tantamount to slavery.

These people have a huge fear to report anything to the Department of Labor as their H1B visa or E3 visa depends on the employer’s sponsorship and thus without it they will be forced to leave the country given the crazy rules, restrictions  and short time you have to change employers on the H-1B visa.

However the punch line now is anti-immigrant and how for years foreigners have been taking US jobs which of course is supposed to cut deep at all the US workers who have been laid off in the current environment.

Of course nothing mentioned in these stories that it was another group of corrupt company and government officials that caused the Economic mess we are now all in.

Unfortunately the end result for the foreign applicant and family that may want to live and work in the US is that they have to be ever more vigelent. Look for the warning signs above and ensure that companies when dealing with you in the application process don’t expect you to lie to officials or on documents.

Finally there are US workers and Illegal Immigrants being abused in the workplace in the sense that their Fortune 500 companies are treating them as machinery rather than human beings. Of course given how strong the lobby is of these companies in Washington you would expect it to be business as usual.

CJ

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Why US Congress Would Be Foolish To Pass Anti-Immigration & H-1B Visa Bill

I have read many articles in recent times since what is an anti-immigration and anti-H1B visa (and L-1 vis) legislation was submitted for debate in the US Congress.

The crux of the legislation is the ludicrous notion that 65,000 annual H-1B visas out of a workforce of over 150 million people (CIA figures) have helped be a major cause of the mass unemployment in the US. This equates to 0.4% of annual labor.

Then when you consider according to NASSCOM (National Association of Service and Software Companies), the average foreign engineer on H-1B visa only stays in the US for 2 years which is not even the full term of an H-1B visa which is 3 years.

Suddenly you see how ridiculous all this is and the arguments put forward by Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) and Senator Chuck Grassley (R-IA) like;
“Some claim that the H-1B program helps to create American jobs, but it is currently being used by some companies to outsource American jobs to foreign countries.”

are all just an anti-immigrant and H-1B visa ruse to distract the US public from who is really to blame for the current  economy.

1. US Politicians who were in bed with corporate America and taking their kick backs, campaign contributions and gifts and providing little or no oversight over mass corruption and breaking of the law

2. US Corporations headed by US Executives (mainly in banking and financial sector) who engaged in practices that would mildly be described as extremely reckless while profiting individually regardless of the damage to their own companies or the general public who engage with them and economy as a whole

3, US Consumers for entering into mortgages they could not afford and racking up tens of thousands of dollars in credit card debt.

It almost reminds you of that Simpson’s episode where Mayor Joe Quimby distracts the public blaming the high taxes on immigrants and the public believes it. The sad thing today is that this is real life and not an animated cartoon on Fox.

For arguments sake lets suppose there proposition that the H-1B visa and immigrants are really taking jobs away from US citizens are argue that statements on its own merits by looking at the facts.

Duke & Harvard University Researcher Vivek Wadhwa who did a study for the Kauffman Group found:

  • Half of all Silicon Valley engineers are foreign born, up from 10 percent in 1970, where US innovation for the last 4 decades has stemmed from Apple and Microsoft to Yahoo and Google
  • About 40 percent of all U.S. patents go to immigrants.
  • These immigrant-founded companies employed 450,000 workers and generated $52 billion in revenue in 2005.

To  go further if that does not convince somebody Yahoo, Google, Sun, Intel, Audiovox, Qualcomm, and eBay – were founded and led by immigrants whose successful companies today employ hundreds of thousands of Americans.

Imagine if all those brands were Chinese, Indian or Heaven Forbid to many Americans, even Arabic where many of these hard working entreprenuers and innovators are from. Would the US even be in it’s top place in the world today?

The study also found that many of the highly educated foreigners who came to the US for undergraduate, graduate and PHD degrees to the top universties in the US paying hundreds of thousands of dollars in fees and spending each are chosing to return home because of the difficulty in obtaining an H-1B visa & more alarmingly the greater entrepreneurial opportunities back at home.

The New York Times recently profiled a young engineer for Google, Sanjay G. Mavinkurve, an Indian-born, American-educated entrepreneur who helped write the code for a website that would become Facebook. But now, Mr. Mavinkurve, who once proudly displayed an American flag in his college dorm room, must work in Canada because visa rules make it impracticable to move his wife and family to the United States.

Let me leave you with these final thoughts;

  • When Google built their moster Googleplex in Silicon Valley that seems to grow every day, how many American contruction companies and contractors built, extend and maintain that facility every day.
  • When the tens of thousands of Yahoo employees in Burbank go out for lunch each day to local eateries owned by hard working small businesses owned by Americans, how many US families does that feed.
  • At times like the upcoming Mother’s Day or Christmas, when millions of people all over the world purchase off eBay.com and eBay collects all that fee/commission revenue flowing into the US and then pays say 30% tax on their profits, how many roads does it build, young children does it feed and healthcare does it provide for (including Senator Durbin and Senator Grassley!!)

President Obama has signalled he doesn’t want the US to become an inward, protectionist nation. Well lets hope for all US citizens that holds true and this legislation does not pass as it would the first big dagger into US innovation and supremacy leading the world!

CJ

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