The various employment based visa category
These days the noise levels on the Immigration is constantly increasing. While the bulk of noise is around the illegal immigration, legal immigration are getting all kind of wrong attention for the visa related reforms. While it is generally agreeable that there are abuse going on in the visa category whether it is work related, family related or anything else; we are really not living in an ideal world. People do various things due to limitations. In fact, this zeal that many people show in curbing immigrants, if they show that towards fixing legal immigration system, many of the illegals would gladly join the legal queue. This narrative that there is a wall or fence in the border and people just climb from it is stupid and patently false. Many are already here and become out of status due to various reasons. They push their luck and stay put. Millions get routinely deported as has happened in various past administrations — both democratic and republicans — nothing new there.
Behind all this smoke screen both parties are same in their virulent hatred towards outsiders. That said, a legal immigration system that works well for the skilled and employment based category folks should be in place. And reform and make it more responsive. Some filtering like the 100k minimum wage requirement will be added or maybe this amount will even increase in future. There are going to be groups that will be affected by this in a positive or negative fashion and resulting actions will be taken by them. The big two categories in skills based visa are the H1 and L1.
The difference between the two are profound. H1 is supposed to be a dual intent visa — that means an immigrant there can possibly apply for permanent residency if he chooses to stay back. That is a very important discussion that the mainstream media often ignore. Any narrative you hear after that is pointless. As per the immigration system dating back to the 90s when this visa was introduced, this visa category H1 is for folks who are sponsored by their employers and have either studied here (which I think should be given extra credit and added advantage to the immigrant in expediting the paperwork) or have equivalent degree from outside US, and have generally no family connections that could sponsor them here and are on their own like the earliest immigrants or rather how the immigrants are supposed to be! — this H1 group needs to be nurtured and their path to green card made easier. This is a dual intent immigrant visa and those folks who are in the US for 10+ years and paid taxes and have the requisite 40+ credits from SSA, does it not make sense to just absorb them into the citizenry? Whatever it takes, either create new green card numbers outside of the congress, make them exempt from the regular caps and limits, expedite the process and set limits just like the wage limits so that people do not jump inside the various immigration category such as EB3 to Eb1 ( which is a category reserved for relatively more exceptional folks with not necessarily higher pay but likely higher degree and maybe working in research though the definition of National interest waiver is stretched a lot depending on how your attorney spins it .. btw, many Irish comedians or UK people with mediocre skills or even Asians with sports at high school leagues or extremely silly yet unique capabilities will treat this as a lottery visa and get routinely granted green cards and much of the chargin that everyone has is essentially stemming from these sort of abuse which impacts EVERYONE.) or EB2 to EB1 or EB3 to EB2 and so on. Meanwhile, there is a diversity lottery visa program, a whole lot of trade agreements which facilitate various forms of visa, an investor visa in EB5 which is very roundly abused in the open by ultra rich investors — that is the mess. Anyhow, the H1b itself is a good vehicle through which many entrepreneurs and innovators routinely come in the past and current since it is the best visa out there for freedom and not being tied to any particular employer. Though the green card process does tie you to a sponsoring employer. And for Indians, since the green card process takes decades they are effectively tied to that same employer for decades. Which is why Trump/Sessions et. al should show the same zeal in making H1b to Green card process smoother.
- Grant EAD for Indians at the time of 140 approved just like many other nations.
- Exempt folks who have studied here and come up till this point from the regular green card number caps and give them one after 5 years stay.
- Have a special clearing mechanism for the H1b folks on Eb2 which is sufficiently advanced degrees, work experience and pay scales, not to mention adequate work history in the US and folks meeting this criteria be granted green cards that are exempt from regular caps or just feed them new card numbers that take precedence over family sponsored green cards, diversity lottery and investor green card program (EB5) and myraid such programs.
- Repeat the same above process for EB3 folks till they come to the current 2010- decade.
- Eliminate per country caps. Seriously this is a big form of discrimination based on country of origin. This also is a form of entitlement for say people from Scotland or Ukraine to just waltz in and get a green card where a more qualified candidate who likely has studied in a US school, is drawing big money, has lived here and has a history here is still struggling in the long green card line for Indians. Policies such as this and mechanisms only enforce inequality and injustice being meted out. This is something that is above any political party.
- Any other measures that you can come up creatively that can shorten the wait for the EB2 and Eb3 folks with H1b Background — the visa with specialized knowledge and folks brought here that have contributed well to the economy.
Further, the investigations into abuse and reform should be strengthened with the benefit of doubt and ultimate beneficiary being the little guy with this visa and NOT the lawyer representing him, not his employer, not any other stakeholders. The IT services companies from USA as well as India, like IBM, Infosys, TCS and so on — they don’t care about either American workers nor the Indian workers. Neither does the typical employer here. Result is the companies get away with a system which ultimately abuses the immigrant.
Now on L1 Visa- this is not a dual intention visa. This is an intra company transfer of employees — again managers or special workers. Without getting into it too much, the intention of this is not to secure a green card. Though some managers do and to a lot less extent and with great mercy, some workers might get. But here is the thing — this is not your typical specialized visa and hence they are exempt from the higher salary requirements. Does not that automatically extend to exemption from green card process too ? This whole area is a bit of complex interpretation. Nothing against L1 folks or L1 folks specifically from India. There are lot of skilled personnel here who rightfully get their green cards. There are also a lot of unskilled folks who become managers or who study accounting ( ! Fucking Accounting — sorry that is no match for Computer Science and is a day work for CS folks or even HR folks or sales folks .. seriously sales folks?? and so many others) I am not belittling anyone but certainly there is a place in the scheme of things. And L1 from Germany or Japan do not abuse it this way. Only Indians do. And there is simply not that many green cards allotted this way for other nationals. Anyways, that is a different take. Many L1 folks transfer out to H1B which is how the system was intended and worked earlier. The intra company transfer was done for non immigrants mainly for working here and returning back though some of them are good enough and have a valid reason to stay put and contribute more to their company. Anyway dwelving more into this way is outside the scope of this article.
Big point being, both H1 and L1 are employment visas though H1 has a very clear intention of converting into permanent residency. Grouping all this together just does not do justice when new laws are created. Enhancing H1 to make it easier for Green card process is logical and just. Creating special avenues for H1B folks who are stuck in EB2 or EB3 is only just. Especially when these folks contribute heavily in thousands of dollars to taxes and SSA and towards the medical costs of folks injured in 9/11 apart from the retraining of American workers.