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Skilled workers welcome temporary relief by US Immigration Agency
A peaceful flower campaign addressed to the USCIS and a followup rally in Silicon Valley
Immigration Voice, says "We have had over 5,000 new members signing up in the last week alone." Skilled workers from diverse professional backgrounds and ethnicities got together to voice their concerns collaboratively"
Recent campaigns, such as the peaceful flower campaign and a protest rally in the heart of Silicon Valley, San Jose CA, organized by affected applicants garnered unprecedented media attention. Applicants got together on the discussion boards of Immigration Voice to pull off both events. "It was a team effort. For example, we had members in New York providing logistic support for garnering participation in the San Jose rally. People drove for over five hours to participate in the rally. Similarly, California and Nevada worked tirelessly behind the scenes to ensure the flower campaign went well in DC, receiving media coverage", says Jay Pradhan of Immigration Voice.
"We're hoping that the recent developments will make the concerned agencies rethink this part of the process. We will welcome a move to de-couple the 'adjustment of status' stage permanently from the ability to apply for interim benefits such as the right to work and right to travel, which will provide great relief for qualified applicants and dependents", says Kapoor.
Not wanting to rest on small victories, he added "Immigration Voice commends the efforts of the government agencies as well as some attorneys who were key in disseminating this information to the public. Congresswoman Lofgren's letters as well as efforts from affected US businesses had the necessary impact. However, there are bigger battles to be won- We're particularly interested in proposals that will recapture of unused employment-based (EB) green cards from previous years. That will provide some interim relief while we work towards addressing the core issue of processing backlogs" says Kapoor, referring to 'retrogression', which in other words means the USCIS stops accepting applications while all green card numbers set by the Dept. of State get used up ahead of time."
Outdated regulations such as a cap on the number of green cards available annually to each country results in oversubscription of countries with abundant skills such as China, India, Mexico or the Phillipines. Additionally, incorrect inclusion of dependents while using green card numbers add to the problem.
Says Kapoor, "On one hand, there's no country-based limit on temporary work visas. However, when it comes to green cards, the annual quota is split by country, increasing the wait time in applying for the final stages of the skill-based green card for certain countries with larger talent pools. Also, the agencies include the dependents when using up available green card numbers. This means, a family of four uses up four green cards from the available annual quota, while actually they can be considered as one single unit. These continue to be on our radar in the next several months."
The corporate world is already making other plans. Microsoft has already announced plans of a University in Bangalore to nurture local talent, in addition to new offices in Vancouver, BC. Its only a matter of time before other companies follow suit. A recent Duke/Wharton study highlights that immigrant-founded US companies resulted in employment for nearly half a million US workers in the last decade alone.However, America can still retain its competitive edge provided there is timely and meaningful skill-based immigration reform.
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Immigration Voice is a not-for-profit organization that strives for meaningful employment-based immigration reform in the United States.Founded in December 2005, the organization's membership boasts of 20,000 professionals, several of whom are engineers, scientists, doctors and computer programmers