VOICE: The view from the other side

I have a multidimensional view when it comes to work visas.

On the one hand, born to immigrant parents, I value the intent behind granting legal means for foreigners to enter and work in the country. It allows people from across the world to legally enter the United States and tap into a world of opportunities. It allows companies to benefit from talent globally. It allows economies to flourish. And it allows cultures to assimilate. America is a true melting pot, and immigrants are an essential part of that. Some of my closest friends are folks on visas.

On the other hand, born in this country, as a citizen, I also see the side where loopholes within the legal rules are exploited in ways that limit the opportunities available to me. The cost effectiveness that comes with outsourcing talent acquisition has created a thriving business where consultants have turned into body shops. Companies go through the process of complying with labor certification processes. But hiring is dominated by visa holders, H1B, H4, H4ED and other EAD among others.

I have worked in IT for over ten years and have had a majority of colleagues who were on work visas. I have enjoyed working with them personally, and have forged deep friendships as well. However, I have also been conscious of the preferential treatment that has been given to them.

I believe there are two aspects of the problem.

One is hiring – companies outsource the hiring, post jobs, and interview US citizens to satisfy the labor certification requirements. This is where the process of elimination happens. There are enough verified resources out there to document how the process works. My intent here is to share my experience of that process. Working in the airlines industry, my job was cut due to COVID19. For the last 2 months I have applied to over 50 jobs posted on Indeed, LinkedIn, and directly on company websites. I have received initial calls from the recruiters, lasting no longer than 10 minutes with their focus on salary, basic questions on background, and a promise to call back. I have not had a single call back. Now, I understand that there can be many qualified candidates. But this process of quick, fast, check is to cross out and eliminate as not qualified so that the company can move ahead with hiring a non-citizen. I have not had one conversation with anyone from the company actually hiring. However, around me, my colleagues and friends on work visas have been able to get projects through the same body shops. Many of them stated they have had no interviews, never spoke to anyone other than the recruiter, and are now employed. Some who were clearly under qualified. Many of them hired with no interview.

Second is company politics – the initial part of my career, I worked at the university. There was complete transparency with performance, salary, bonus structures. My performance evaluations were accurate. There was grievance process set up. The later part of my career, I worked for an Indian company (HQ in India) with the client here in the USA. I joined in Arkansas and then later applied for and got a position in Arizona. A cost of living adjustment in my salary was initially agreed to, but then made contingent upon completing some certification. I agreed and moved. My colleagues, same profile as me, were making almost 40% more than me. 90% were on work visas. I completed the certification, and then started an over a year battle to get a salary adjustment. I was told that because I was hired in Arkansas, my salary had to be based there. Even though I was transferred, on a new role, to  Arizona. I was sent in circles where I bounced from certification to hire location. Till finally, I reached out to higher management. The issue was resolved, though my salary was still significantly less compared to the rest in my company. There were also other Indian companies that worked at the same client, and I personally knew some of those people. Particularly one, who was hired through her consultant (their visa was tied to that consultancy) and they had sent the person to NJ for a short project, before they could accommodate here in Arizona. They were hired for a position requiring 7 years of experience, when graduation from home country was less than seven years ago. The client was unhappy with the work, but there was always a cover up (network within the Indian company that covered up). Once the company lost the project, client refused to hire them. However, the person came back for a shot gig at the client again through the same consultancy, under performed and was not extended. As of now they are at “XYZ CLIENT Location”, through the same consultancy and internal network of fellow friends who push for the hire. So, the nexus between internal employees and the consultancy is the second big problem which makes hiring someone like me nearly impossible. The client needs the work done. The Indian companies + body shops have created a conglomerate that has cast a shadow on legitimate immigrants coming in aspiring to make a better life. And it has made it very difficult for a citizen like me to get jobs for which I am both qualified and capable. Unfortunately, I do not have the option to move “back home” since my roots are here.

We need a better system where everyone has an EQUAL opportunity based on merit and qualifications. My citizenship does not automatically make me better qualified. Unfortunately, it is proving to be a disqualifier. And that is why I want my voice to be heard.

Public comments:
Wow!! Very nicely written Article

Shows the actual problem with Indian who have no skills

ande ajay
Great Multidimensional View.
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