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印度人的美国梦正在破灭……


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4/01/2019

印度人的美国梦正在破灭……

By 周鑫



Sankar Juneja(化名)是一名高级软件工程师,受雇于一家印度公司,为一位美国客户的网站工作。最近,他不得不提前两周离开美国。

Juneja的一位印度女同事面临的情况更糟。她将不得不带着一个出生在那里的孩子离开这个国家,同时也失去了获得绿卡的梦想。

两人的H-1B签证(特殊专业人员/临时工作签证)延期申请均遭拒绝。

他们是数千名印度IT从业者中的一员,他们的签证延期申请被拒绝,或者他们已经收到了多次的申请补件通知(RFE)。虽然从美国公民和移民服务局(USCIS)获得RFE并不意味着申请被拒绝,但它要求候选人提供更多的文件,有时还不止要求一次。而且,即使完成了所有的文件,可能扔无法获得签证延期。

几十年来,印度的软件工程师们一直梦想着能在美国工作,这甚至可以说是他们投身科技服务业的动机。但随着美国保护主义抬头,不仅获得新的工作签证变得困难,那些已经在美国工作的人的签证延期也不是一件易事。许多IT从业者要么在过去两年回到了印度,要么正在印度寻找机会。


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美国梦破灭

“带着一个在美国出生的孩子搬家是很有挑战性的。”九个月前回到印度的一名软件工程师说,搬家之后,孩子面临着生活方式、文化和教育等方面的诸多问题。

这位高官最近随着公司搬回了印度,公司是顶级的软件服务出口商,和他一起回来的还有其他7名IT工程师。

根据美国移民局的数据,在截至2017年的10年里,340万份H-1B签证申请中,印度公民约占220万份。

智库移民研究中心(Centre for Immigration Studies)援引美国移民局的数据称,2018年,在30家科技公司被拒绝的13177份H-1B签证延期申请中,总部位于新泽西的Cognizant和5家印度IT服务公司合起来占了三分之二,即8742份。

Cognizant的大部分员工都在印度的办公室工作。Cognizant在过去一年共收到3548份申请被拒,而印孚瑟斯的2042份申请和塔塔咨询服务的1744份申请也被拒。

该智库表示,“微软、亚马逊和苹果等美国大公司今年增加了H-1B员工数量,而印度大型外包公司则减少了H-1B签证。”



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H-1B签证通常签发3年,可能还会再延长3年。随着H-1B签证第二工期的结束,许多持工作签证在美国多年的高管寻求获得永久居民身份,即所谓的绿卡。REF通常在第一次申请延期或申请绿卡时签发。对印度人来说,等待绿卡的时间可能长达10年。

“RFE的批准率如此之低,以至于我觉得我必须收拾行李走人了。”一位持H-1B签证5年的软件工程师说,“那时候我很难受,我不得不告诉我的客户,我会在工作上花更少的时间,因为我要做很多文件。”

她说,他收到的RFE有多达21份清单,包括两年半的工作计划。

移民律师表示,获得H-1B签证的“舒适程度”发生了巨大变化。

“在美国,优秀的IT技术人员过去拥有的相对确定性已不复存在。这是一个可怕的局面,他们没有获得H-1B签证延期申请批准的确定性,”全球移民和就业法律事务所LawQuest执行合伙人Poorvi Chothani表示。


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保护主义的受害者

行业专家表示,收紧签证程序的主要原因是,美国的签证制度发生了变化,该制度的重点是为美国人保住工作,并推动高技能人才的流动。

收到RFE的一些IT从业者表示,即使他们获得继续从事当前项目的许可,一旦延长逗留期限到期,他们还必须要经历相同的文档处理过程。

其中一人说,“到明年,我又得做同样的事情。”他的延期将在不到一年的时间内结束。

并非所有人都面临这样的问题。两名持H-1B签证并在美国工作的人士表示,他们的延期申请过程一直很顺利。

然而,一家美国科技公司的另一名程序员的延期申请被拒绝了。现在,他可能不得不在项目结束前返回。



    
   
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行业观察人士和人力资源专家表示,大多数技术人员的外排时间为9个月,但其中一些人将逗留时间延长至18个月以上。

“我认为这种模式不会发生太大变化;当然,申请拒绝还会继续发生,”印孚瑟斯前全球人力资源主管Nandita Gurjar表示。

然而,她说,对于那些在美国生活多年并有孩子的人来说,在几周内搬迁可能是一项艰巨的任务。她说,“这种情况是创伤性的。”

IT服务行业协会(Nasscom)称,人们对RFEs的增加感到担忧,但否认了科技服务公司的RFE远高于产品公司。这主要是因为美国的人才缺口——产品类工作通常被视为技能更高的工作。

“对相关STEM(科学、技术、工程和数学)技能的需求远远超过了供应。”Nasscom全球贸易发展主管Shivendra Singh说。

故土难回

专业猎头公司Xpheno联合创始人Kamal Karanth表示,尽管越来越多的印度人才面临被拒,但他们中的一些人仍然更喜欢有机会留在美国的工作,而不是在国内找到更好的工作。

对于那些在印度定居的人来说,无论是继续为同一家雇主还其他公司工作,都可能会变得困难。“这些人(在美国)与客户一起工作,他们带着与美国公司合作的经验回国,但在国内找不到合适的工作。他们也感到失望,因为他们希望在印度得到同样的经历和待遇。”Karanth说。



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LawQuest的Chothani还称,在保护主义抬头的背景下,希望继续留在美国的人的机会越来越少。“例如,一些公司早些时候曾考虑提交30份申请表;现在,考虑到这种不确定性,他们只提交4到5份签证申请表。”

与此同时,许多移居印度的专业人士被全球企业的创新中心所吸收,往往是为了填补他们整体业务的人才缺口。但Karanth认为,这些人并没有公司所要求的经历。


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4/01/2019

An American dream cut short for Indian techies

​​Indian nationals accounted for about 2.2 mn of the 3.4 mn H-1B visa petitions filed in the decade to 2017 

By Ayan Pramanik



Industry observers and HR experts said the onsite stint for most technology professionals was nine months, but some of them extend the stay to more than 18 months. 


Sankar Juneja (name changed), a senior software engineer deployed on the site of an American client by his Indian employer, recently had to leave the US with a two-week notice. 

It was even worse for a female colleague of Juneja. She had to leave the country with a child born there while also nursing the dream for a Green Card. 

Both of them had their applications for the extension of H-1B visas rejected. 

They are among thousands of Indian IT professionals whose visa-extension applications have been rejected, or who have received repeated request for evidence. While getting an RFE from the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) doesn’t mean rejection of the application, it requires the candidate to furnish more documents, at times more than once. And, even after completing all the documentation, the visa extension may still not come. 

For decades, India’s software engineers fancied an onsite stint in the US, and more often than not this worked as a motivation for joining the technology services industry. While increased protectionism in the US has made getting fresh work visas tough, those who are already there aren’t getting visa extensions as easily as before. Many of those IT professionals have either returned to India in the past two years, or are looking for opportunities here. 





“Shifting with a kid who was born in the US was challenging,” an engineer, who returned to India nine months ago, told ET. Children born in the US could face problems over lifestyle, culture and education once they are relocated. 

This executive is one of eight IT professionals at a top Indian software services exporter who recently relocated to India. 

Indian nationals accounted for about 2.2 million of the 3.4 million H-1B visa petitions filed in the decade to 2017, according to USCIS. 





In 2018, New Jersey-based Cognizant, which has most of its employees working out of offices in India, and five Indian IT services companies together accounted for two-thirds, or 8,742, of the 13,177 H-1B extension petitions rejected from 30 technology companies, think tank Centre for Immigration Studies said, citing USCIS data. 

While Cognizant saw 3,548 rejections in the past year, 2,042 applications of Infosys and 1,744 of Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) were disallowed. “The major US-based firms such as Microsoft, Amazon and Apple increased their H-1B workforces during the year, while net reductions were imposed on the big Indian outsourcing firms,” the think tank said. 



H-1B visas are usually issued for three years, with a possible extension of another three years. Many executives who are in the US for years on work visas seek permanent resident status, or the so-called Green Card, as the second term of the H-1Bs comes to an end. The RFEs are usually issued at the time they seek the first extension, or when apply for Green cards. For Indians, the wait time for the Green card is as much as 10 years. 

“The RFE approval rate was so low that I thought I had to pack my bags,” said a software engineer, who was in her fifth year on an H-1B visa. “It was so traumatic at that time that I had to tell my client that I would be spending a little less time in my work, because I have to do a lot of documentation.” 

RFEs come with as many as 21 checklists, including work plan for two-and-a-half years, she said. Immigration lawyers said the “comfort level” of getting an H-1B visa approval has changed dramatically. 

“The relative certainty IT aspirants had in the past in the US is no longer there. It is a scary situation now and they do not have the comfort level of getting approvals for H-1B extension applications,” said Poorvi Chothani, managing partner at LawQuest, a global immigration and employment law firm. 

The tightening of the visa process, according to industry experts, is primarily due to the change in regime that has focused on securing jobs for Americans and pushed for movement of highly-skilled talent. 

Industry observers and human resource experts said the onsite stint for most technology professionals was nine months, but some of them extend the stay to more than 18 months. “I don’t think that model will undergo much change; of course, the rejections will continue,” said Nandita Gurjar, former global head of human resources at Infosys. 

She, however, said for people who have spent long years and have US-born children, it may be an uphill task to relocate in weeks. “Those kinds of cases are traumatic,” she said. 

IT services industry body Nasscom said there was a concern over increased RFEs and denials that were far higher for tech services companies than product companies. This is more so because of the talent gap in the US — product jobs are typically seen as higher skilled. 

“The demand for relevant STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) skills is far more than the supply,” said Shivendra Singh, head of global trade development at Nasscom. 













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