Monday, March 9, 2009

Visa Bulletin for April 2009 is out

The much awaited Apr 2009 bulletin is out.

Eb1 India - Current
Eb2 India - 15 FEB 04
Eb3 India - 01 Nov 01
This is very slow movement.
April 2009
March 2009
One strange thing is, for ROW it retogressed from 15 MAR 03 back to 01 Mar 01 (2 years back) unbelievable !!!!!!!!!
This backward movement for other workers for ROW was predicted by shusterman on his blog found at
Point to be noted is there were rumours for Apr 2009 VB that it may become current for EB3 (rumours created by Ron Gotcher when he answered someones question on his blog).

Friday, March 6, 2009

Microsoft's reply to Senator Grassley on h1b visa

Microsoft replied to Senator Grassley request to lay off h1b workers first.
Here is the real letter from MS to Grassley.
March 3, 2009
The Honorable Charles E. Grassley United States Senator 135 Hart Senate Office Building Washington, D.C. 20510-1501

Dear Senator Grassley,
Thank you for your letter of January 22, 2009. Steve Ballmer asked me to respond on the company’s behalf.
Your letter expressed concern about Microsoft’s recently announced lay-offs and asked us to provide you with information about them. I have included that information below, but first I’d like to provide a bit of context.
Since the company’s founding in 1975, Microsoft’s consistent growth has enabled us to increase employment every year. In the last three fiscal years, for example, our employment in the United States increased by 40 percent. Today we have more than 90,000 employees worldwide and over half of them are in the United States. The vast majority of these U.S. jobs are filled by American citizens.

Because of our partner-based business model, our impact on employment is even larger than these numbers indicate. For every dollar that Microsoft earns in the United States, our business partners earn $6. This creates many additional jobs. One recent study found that 4.2 million people in the United States are working in jobs that are the result of Microsoft’s business model (IDC IT Economic Impact and Microsoft Country Footprint: United States, October 2007. The figure includes individuals who work at IT companies and IT professionals who create, sell, or distribute products that run on Microsoft platforms).
This year, in response to the economic crisis, Microsoft is reducing its employment level for the first time. This was a difficult decision and it was not one we made lightly. We are deeply committed to our employees and we place the highest value on the contributions they make to the company’s success. We understand the impact that each layoff can have on an employee and his or her family. Nonetheless, we concluded that the long-term competitiveness of the company, like the country as a whole, requires prompt and decisive action to adapt to the changed economic reality.

We announced in January that the company would eliminate up to 5,000 Indian IT cos logged in most H-1BsForex ConverterRemittances made easyKnow about NRE/ NRO A/c
jobs over 18 months. It’s important to note that we also expect to create 2,000 to 3,000 new jobs during this same timeframe, as we continue to invest in innovation. As a result, the total net impact on our employment will be a decline of about 2,000 to 3,000 jobs, not 5,000.
Microsoft employees whose positions are eliminated may apply for the new jobs that are being created. In addition, like any employer, we will continue to see some ongoing voluntary attrition as employees retire, accept jobs elsewhere, or for other reasons end their employment. Often, these positions are filled by current employees, but the company will also need to continue to fill these vacancies by hiring new employees, including both U.S. workers and a smaller number of visa holders.
You asked about the kinds of jobs that will be eliminated and how many employees will be affected in each area.
Because the job reduction decisions will be made over 18 months, we do not yet know all of the specific jobs that will be eliminated. We do know, however, that the 5,000 positions that will be eliminated will include jobs in marketing, sales, finance, Legal and Corporate Affairs, HR, R&D, and IT. In addition to the 5,000 figure, our workforce in support, consulting, operations, billing, and manufacturing will continue to change in direct response to customer needs.
We also know that the 5,000 figure likely will include positions in a large number of countries. Given the distribution of our jobs, however, it is likely that the Puget Sound region in Washington State will see the largest number of job eliminations. Of the roughly 1,400 positions that were eliminated in January, which are part of the 5,000 total, over 800 were in Washington State.
As we add new positions to support key investments, we will prioritize R&D investments that promote long-term innovation. That is why we plan to invest over $9 billion in research and development this year, one of the highest such figures in the world. Over two-thirds of this total will be spent in the United States.
You also asked in your letter how we decide which jobs to eliminate, whether employees with H-1B or other work visas are affected, and how many of the jobs being eliminated are held by Americans.
Because these decisions will be made over 18 months, it’s too early to know the precise answers. We do know, however, that the job reductions will impact non-Americans who hold jobs outside the United States, as well as both visa holders and US workers inside the United States. The majority of Microsoft’s workforce is made up of U.S. workers, and therefore the majority of jobs eliminated in January were held by U.S. workers. Workers on H-1B visas and other temporary work visas make up only a small percentage of our overall workforce, but they were also among the employees impacted by the reductions announced in January. Employees outside the United States were also impacted.

As I’m sure you’d expect, we take care to make all employment decisions, Indian IT cos logged in most H-1BsForex ConverterRemittances made easyKnow about NRE/ NRO A/c
including the termination of employment for any individual, in a manner that complies with Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. In addition, we do not base compensation decisions in the US on an employee’s citizenship.
Finally, you asked about Microsoft’s plans for retaining H-1B or other work visa program workers after the job eliminations.
H1-B employees have always accounted for less than 15 percent of Microsoft’s US workforce, the level that is used in immigration law to determine whether a company is “H-1B dependent.” Nonetheless, the ability to tap into the world’s best minds has long been essential to our success. Although they are a small percentage of our workforce, H-1B workers have long made crucial contributions to Microsoft’s innovation successes and to our ability to help create jobs in this country. We are confident this will continue to be true in the future.
We focus our recruiting for core technology jobs at U.S. universities, which continue to be among the best in the world for computer science and engineering graduates. However, as one recent study found, in 2005 temporary residents earned more than 40 percent of the engineering and computer science degrees at U.S. higher education institutions. For doctoral degrees, that number was even higher, as temporary residents accounted for 59 percent of the degrees awarded in these fields that year.
The substantial majority of H-1B petitions filed by Microsoft are for core technology positions, and technology and engineering positions account for about 90 percent of Microsoft’s H-1B workforce. Many of these H-1B employees have been seeking permanent resident status for many years and would no longer be dependent on their H-1B visas but for multi-year delays in the green card process.
With these factors taken together, we do not expect to see a significant change in the proportion of H-1B employees in our workforce following the job reductions.
I want to underscore that we are rigorous in our compliance with the requirements of the H-1B program. We are familiar with published reports about abuse by some employers in the H-1B visa category. We believe that the H-1B fraud issue is important and needs to be addressed. We recognize that every H-1B employer has an obligation to ensure that the program’s rules are followed. We support H-1B reform efforts to ensure that users of the program follow both the spirit and the letter of the law.
Finally, I want to convey our commitment to help broaden opportunities for all Americans. The country’s long-term competitiveness requires that the United States produce more university graduates in science, technology, engineering, and math. While government will take the lead in strengthening America’s public education system, the private sector should support these efforts.

At Microsoft, we have a number of education-focused public initiatives
Through our Partners in Learning program, Microsoft works closely with governments and non-governmental organizations across the country to strengthen information technology training by providing a wide variety of educational resources for teachers and schools. These include training programs and software tools that have already reached over 3 million students and roughly 200,000 teachers. Similarly, we have founded a public-private initiative in Washington State to work with educators and businesses to develop new approaches to improve middle-school math education. And Microsoft Research is deeply involved with important research efforts at universities across the country.
In addition, we recently announced a new program called Elevate America, which will provide technology training to 2 million people nationwide during the next three years, working closely with state and local governments.
Ultimately, as a company and as a country we need to combine short-term adjustments to the economic crisis with long-term efforts to strengthen our economic competitiveness. We recognize the impact that our decisions have on employees who are affected. We strive to make thoughtful employment decisions and then assist the individuals who are impacted by them. We also strive to take a long-term approach that will enable Microsoft to remain a leader in technology innovation and an important contributor to the country’s competitiveness now and in the future.
We hope that this information is helpful to you. We look forward to working with you and your staff if we can be of assistance in addressing these important issues.

Senator Charles Grassley asks Microsoft to fire H1b workers first

Senator Charles Grassley, a high-profile Republican politician, has suggested to Microsoft that it sack foreign workers before Americans in a protectionist outburst highlighting the increased tensions surrounding migrant labour during a recession.
"I am concerned that Microsoft will be retaining foreign guest workers rather than similarly qualified American employees when it implements its layoff plan," Grassley said in the letter, posted to his Web site on Friday.
The company announced plans Thursday to cut a net 2,000 to 3,000 jobs over the next 18 months, its first companywide layoff. An initial wave of 1,400 job cuts were effective Friday.
The senator asked Ballmer for details on the jobs to be eliminated; how many are held by H-1B or other work-visa-program employees; how many are held by Americans and, of those positions, how many similar positions held by foreign guest workers are being retained; and how many H-1B or other work-visa-program workers Microsoft will retain when the layoff is complete.
"My point is that during a layoff, companies should not be retaining H-1B or other work-visa-program employees over qualified American workers," Grassley wrote.
"Our immigration policy is not intended to harm the American work force. ... Microsoft has a moral obligation to protect these American workers by putting them first during these difficult economic times."
In response to a query about Grassley's letter, Microsoft said the initial layoffs include foreigners working here on visas.
Related Info:

11 arrested, indicted in multi-state visa fraud operation

US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents arrested 11 individuals in seven states.
This can happen to you too. Please check if your LCA worklocation is the same as your client location, if not talk to your HR to ensure it is. Pass on this info to your friends...
Why they were arested?
This investigation involves companies that sponsor primarily H-1B non-immigrants, or temporary workers in specialty occupations that require a particular expertise. The companies that are the subject of this investigation have asserted that the foreign workers have been brought to the U.S. to fill existing vacancies. However, the companies allegedly have not always had jobs available for these workers, thereby placing them in non-pay status after they arrive in the United States. In some cases, the foreign workers have allegedly been placed in jobs and locations not previously certified by the Department of Labor, displacing qualified American workers and violating prevailing wage laws.
People who were arrested include:
They are normal consultants google their names to land on linked in website.
  • Shiva Neeli, arrested in Boston, Mass.; charged with conspiracy and mail fraud.
  • Ramakrishna Maguluri, arrested in Atlanta, Ga.; charged with conspiracy and mail fraud. Villiappan Subbaiah, arrested in Dallas, Texas; charged with conspiracy and mail fraud.
  • Suresh Pola, arrested in Pennsylvania; charged with conspiracy and mail fraud.
  • Vishnu Reddy, arrested in Los Angeles, Calif.; charged with conspiracy, mail fraud and wire fraud.
  • Chockalingam Palaniappan, arrested in San Jose, Calif.; charged with conspiracy, mail fraud and wire fraud.
  • Vijay Myneni, arrested in San Jose, Calif.; charged with conspiracy and mail fraud.
  • Venkata Guduru, arrested in New Jersey; charged with conspiracy and mail fraud.
  • Praveen Andapally, arrested in New Jersey; charged with conspiracy, mail fraud, wire fraud, and making false statements in an immigration matter.
  • Amit Justa, arrested in New Jersey; charged with conspiracy and mail fraud.
  • Karambir Yadav, arrested in Louisville, Ky.; charged with conspiracy and mail fraud.

Related Info:

Dont Get Stuck on Bench

Nowadays US government also has come to know about the so called "bench" concept.
With search engines becoming powerful, and forums coming up in search, people forget that even US consulate employees and DOL and USCIS can read all those posts about misuse and fraud being done to immigrants.

I was shocked to see these articles on chennai consulate and hyderabad consulate websites.
But it is good that they explain the rights and responsibilities of h1b holders , read this interesting post.

Don’t Get Stuck on the Bench –
Your Rights as an H-1B Worker
The skilled temporary worker visa program, also known as the H-1B visa, allows foreign nationals with advanced skills to take up jobs with good salaries in the United States. The top H-1B issuing posts in the world are Chennai, New Delhi and Mumbai, and Indians use the vast majority of H-1B visas. While the vast majority of H-1B employers are responsible users of the program, there are some that engage in fraudulent and unfair practices. Please review your rights and responsibilities as an H-1B worker, and make sure you protect yourself and your family from financial or legal difficulties.

You are entitled to the following rights as an H-1B worker
1) You must be paid at least the prevailing wage, as listed on your Labor Condition Application (LCA) form. This in turn must be the same rate your employer pays other workers with similar experience and qualifications, without regard to nationality.
2) You must not be “benched,” or have a reduced or suspended wage for non-productive time caused by the employer, or by the lack of a license or permit.
3) You must receive the same fringe benefits on the same basis as offered to American employees
4) .Your employer may not require you to pay, either directly or indirectly, any part of the petition filing fee, administrative fees, attorney fees or any other costs related to the petition.
5) You must not be required to pay a financial penalty for leaving the employer before a date set in the employment contract.
6) You should receive the same working conditions (such as hours, shifts, vacations, etc.) on the same basis and criteria as provided to similarly employed U.S. workers.
7) Your employer must keep records of the hours you work and the wages you are paid. You should keep your own records as well.
8) Your employer may not intimidate, threaten, discharge or otherwise discriminate against any employee, former employee or job applicant for disclosing possible H-1B violations or for cooperating in a compliance investigation.
You have the following responsibilities as an H-1B worker
1) You must provide truthful and correct qualification documents, such as degrees and experience letters, to immigration authorities throughout the visa process.
2) You should look out for any possible violations of your rights, as well as violations against colleagues or contacts in the U.S., and avoid those employers.
3) If you leave your employer, regardless of who terminated the relationship, you should leave the United States unless you have filed for H-1B status with a new employer.
4) You may not enter the United States more than 10 days prior to the petition validity date.
5) You must follow U.S. laws and regulations while in the United States.
6) Your spouse and other H-4 dependents may not work while in the United States.
Report Violation here:
If you wish to report H-1B abuse, please contact the U.S. Department of Labor at 1-866-4US-WAGE or You can also contact Consulate General Hyderabad at

More info:

New H1b Stamping Checklist - as per Hyderabad Consulate

With the US economy going down along with the world's economy and two groups of folks immigrants and citizens fighting each other on who should be laid off first, US government is making h1b extensions and stamping more and more difficult to get.
Here is a list of h1b stamping checklist documents (required for stamping as provided by US consulate in hyderabad, India). Which is makes is near to impossible to get stamping.

From Your Petitioner:

1) A copy of the petition with all supporting documents as filed to USCIS.

2) A copy of the employment contract or letter of agreement signed by you and the petitioner.
Petitioner’s Income Tax Return for the last two tax years and financial statements.
3) A notarized list of all the petitioner’s employees of the job site listed. The list should show all employees’ names, their specific job titles, start and end dates, and their individual salaries and immigration status.
4) State Unemployment Wage Reports, showing all wages paid to each employee in the state, for the past three quarters. (This should be the actual forms filed to the State authorities listing each employee and wages paid during the quarter.)
5) A letter from the client company sponsoring the project and a copy of the contract between the U.S.-based petitioner and the client company, stating the timing, terms and agreement for your project.
6) A copy of the contract between the U.S. employment agency (petitioner) and the job site (the location where you will actually work).
7) A letter (on letterhead) from the personnel department at the U.S. job site stating that there is a vacancy for you.
8) A detailed and specific description of the internal development project to which you will be assigned. Include a complete technical description of the project, employer, timeline, current status, number of employees assigned, worksite location, and marketing analysis for the final product.

From You (or Your Working Family Member):

1) Your license to practice your profession in the U.S.
2) Original or certified copies of your complete academic credentials.
3) Evidence of previous work experience in the petitioned field.
4) All previous passports, even if not used for travel.
5) Evidence of extension of legal status in the U.S.
6) If you were previously employed in the United States, your U.S. federal income tax returns and W-2 forms for those tax years.
7) If you were previously employed in the United States, copies of all pay slips and monthly bank statements for the time you were employed.
8) Original marriage certificate and wedding photos.

More Info:

Immigration Fraud arrests in Boston, MA

Following the arrests that happened in New Jersey, in feb 2009 there were immigration fraud arrests in Boston, MA too.

In the scheme, four men were charged Dec. 4 with producing documents falsely stating that H1-B visa applicants had a job with the Commonwealth when, in fact, they did not. Richard Schwartz, a now former Massachusetts' employee, signed the documents and is charged with one count of visa fraud, which brings penalties of up to five years in prison time and a $250,000 fine.

Sridhar Reddy, Sudha Rani and Venkat Naidu are also charged with one count of visa fraud. Reddy and Rani face additional charges of visa fraud totalling up to 15 years of prison.
They were running an IT software firm called "Cambridge Resource Group, Inc" , their website is
Related Info
1) District of Massachusetts -
2) Forums -

Direct US Citizenship - MAVNI Recruitment Pilot Program

The US Army has started a new pilot program called MAVNI (Military Accessions Vital to National Interest) program which will help hire immigrants and provide them a path to getting citizenship faster than the usual longer waiting terms, provided you speak one of the languages listed below.

Here is more information about the eligibility and other details.
1. The applicant must be in one of the following categories at time of enlistment
a. asylee, refugee, Temporary Protected Status (TPS), or
b. nonimmigrant categories E, F, H, I, J, K, L, M, O, P, Q, R, S, T, TC, TD, TN, U, or V
2. The applicant must have been in valid status in one of those categories for at least two years
immediately prior to the enlistment date, but it does not have to be the same category as the
one held on the date of enlistment; and
3. An applicant who may be eligible on the basis of a nonimmigrant category at time of
enlistment (see 1b above) must not have had any single absence from the United States of
more than 90 days during the two year period immediately preceding the date of enlistment.
Language specialization
Albanian, Amharic, Arabic, Azerbaijani, Bengali ,Burmese,Cambodian-Khmer, Chinese, Czech, Hausa, Hindi, Hungarian, Igbo, Indonesian, Korean, Kurdish, Lao, Malay, Malayalam, Moro, Nepalese, Persian [Dari & Farsi], Polish, Punjabi, Pushtu (aka Pashto), Russian, Sindhi, Sinhalese, Somali, Swahili, Tamil, Turkish, Turkmen, Urdu, Yoruba

More information can be found here,
1) MAVNI Recruitment Pilot -
2) MAVNI Test Program -