H-1B Revamp Could Radically Reduce Visa Users

A proposed revamp of the H-1B visa program is underway, although its specifics remain under wraps. The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has submitted notice of the adjustment to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) for review, under the title: “Strengthening the H-1B Nonimmigrant Visa Classification Program.”

In the accompanying abstract, DHS states that it wants to “revise the definition of specialty occupation to increase focus on obtaining the best and the brightest foreign nationals via the H-1B program, and revise the definition of employment and employer-employee relationship to better protect U.S. workers and wages.” On top of that, DHS also wants to implement “additional requirements designed to ensure employers pay appropriate wages to H-1B visa holders.”

The abstract also states that the move will be “economically significant.” Changing the definition of “specialty occupation” could prove a very big deal, as it would potentially restrict companies to only using the H-1B to source unique and hard-to-find talent from overseas. That could impact the business-services and outplacement firms that utilize massive numbers of H-1B visas to secure software developers, engineers, and other technologists with relatively commonplace skillsets.

Although the specifics are under wraps, that didn’t stop Fragomen, a law firm specializing in immigration law, from hypothesizing in a blog post about the changes’ potential impact on the H-1B: “This could lead to a requirement that H-1B employers and end clients jointly obtain labor condition applications (LCAs) for H-1B workers at client sites. A joint LCA requirement could create de facto joint employer liability for compliance with obligations concerning H-1B wages and working conditions. The regulation could also address other aspects of H-1B wage requirements.”

Any such regulation could also force companies to hire technologists who are U.S. citizens, which has been a longtime goal of the Trump administration’s H-1B actions. Hal Salzman, a professor of planning and public policy at Rutgers University, recently re-emphasized that there’s more than enough talent coming from U.S. universities to power tech companies’ needs: “Are we to believe the talent these companies are looking for is so extraordinarily rare and greater than doctoral scientists? Or engineers?”

The proposed DHS revamp suggests that Trump’s executive order temporarily banning H-1Bs won’t become permanent (although the situation could always change). Over the past few years, various tweaks to H-1B policy, including a substantial adjustment to fees, has led to a rising rate of application and renewal denials. Changing the definition of “specialty occupation,” however, could end up having an even larger impact on how tech firms utilize the visa.  

33 Responses to “H-1B Revamp Could Radically Reduce Visa Users”

  1. if purpose of hiring a visa holder is not to displace or did not find a US Citizen for the position
    End Client to provide job ad to public
    Interview the candidates and hire
    If H/L hired submit resumes, interview results etc to USCIS and also to the applicants
    It will be fair to all and no need for some powerful associations claim that new laws were biased or so to file and win cases to take away Citizen’ jobs for visa holders

  2. Jake Leone

    The question we have all been asking ourselves, for decades. Is WHY ON EARTH are H-1b visas even granted to Offshore Outsourcing companies? Companies that just force an American to train their H-1b replacement, are not innovative, they ARE NOT creating jobs here in the United States. They are forcing better qualified, more experienced U.S. workers to train their H-1b replacement, as a prelude to moving the entire department, overseas.

    Trump has followed the law and found that many of the H-1b visas granted to Offshore Outsourcing companies, were not legally given. All the previous 4 Presidents, were easy on the Offshore Outsourcing companies. Barack Obama was especially easy on them. As a result, during Obama administration, when Americans were losing their homes and jobs, India built a 100 billion dollar per year service export industry, and the U.S. was the #1 export destination (like about 75% of India’s service exports were to the United States).

    Look the Federal Government should not be giving assistance to companies that remove jobs from the United States. This represents CORRUPTION at the highest levels in our government. That same corruption gave us the slowest recovery, from recession, in U.S. History. It cost Hillary Clinton the election.

    Fragomen is a corrupt law firm. They are on video discussing how to completely avoid having to consider Americans for jobs that are taken up by foreign workers applying for a Green Card. Why even talk to such corrupt, unethical, and frankly Anti-Capitalist law firms. And I say this, because H-1b is a U.S. government program, it is corporate welfare designed to avoid the U.S. Free Market, and completely shut-out Americans from being able to compete for jobs on U.S. soil. That is Anti-Capitalist and it is Un-American and it is Extremely Corrupt. Don’t waste a second talking with these guys, they don’t care for the very country that keeps them safe and in secure environment. They are traitors to the core if not bald face liars.

    If you pay attention to what I am saying you will see a clear path that is actually better for American business and will do the best job possible at keeping American unemployment low. But if you listen to people who have ulterior motives that run counter to helping the U.S. and the U.S. economy recover, they will steer you on a course for economic ruin.

    Make no mistake, our export goods are heavily tariffed by India. Our workers cannot go over to India and take a job and get on the job training, unless they are paid 12x or more than the average Indian salary. Our people cannot buy property in India, you can rent but you cannot own. Our business investment is also equally hampered by these restrictions.

    That reality exists, because India seeks at every opportunity to monopolize our industries and hammer us back to an agrarian economy. And the best way to prevent that is to clean up the corruption in our government and part of doing that means making sure our laws (the H-1b laws) are followed. That those same laws are routinely reviewed and changed if necessary to make them better able to help the U.S. economy (not the economy in India or China).

    If fewer H-1b visas go to Offshore Outsourcing companies, that means that more will go to our domestic tech originating companies. And that is an actual win-win for the U.S. economy.

    Watch the Fragomen tape on You Tube (Perm Fake ads). It will tell you all you need to know about Fragomen, they are working against the U.S. economy and they don’t care at all about American workers, they are in it for the quick buck only.

  3. Russell Mullins

    I have done this more than once and it is getting very tiring to the point i simply walk away now when asked to do it. From your post – ‘Companies that just force an American to train their H-1b replacement, are not innovative, they ARE NOT creating jobs here in the United States. They are forcing better qualified, more experienced U.S. workers to train their H-1b replacement, as a prelude to moving the entire department, overseas.’ I simply refuse to do this anymore….

  4. A good percentage of students graduating in STEM from US universities are foreign nationals. This article assumes everyone graduating is a US citizen. The only way for these STEM non US citizen graduates to join a US firm and contribute to US is through the H1B channel.

    All articles around this fail to consider that H-1B can only be availed for certain occupations and within certain industries. It’s very limited. I wish someone can publish those stats.

    This COVID situation has placed a greater emphasis on remote work either within the US or near shoring. As a result, there will be less requirement for someone to be at a client location, thereby rendering the “employer – employee” relationship clause pretty much useless.

    Also, in majority of the cases, companies pay H-1B on par with US citizens.

    Those on H-1B also contribute a lot to social security and medicare which eventually benefits US citizens and not the H-1B. There are a lot of downstream benefits (spending, tourism, tax, real estate investments) US derives from foreign nationals which is often overlooked.

    Inshort, US needs H-1B but with some “common sense” reform

    • You said “Also, in majority of the cases, companies pay H-1B on par with US citizens.”

      The reverse of your sentence is the fact. Because US citizens don’t have a lot of choices, “US citizens accept the same wages on par with H1B rates”.

      In 1995, I was earning $85.00 per hour on a C2C contract. For the same work today – almost 25 years later, I am offered $65.00 per hour. This is our reality.

  5. Jake Leone

    Definitely the H-1b program needs common sense reform. For example, we should not give the H-1b visa to Offshore Outsourcing companies, that is simply a huge waste of an H-1b visa and it provides zero innovation.

    Also, we don’t need H-1b visas for basic programming (the kind you can learn at a community college). We don’t need H-1b visas for software QA jobs. We don’t need H-1b visas for trainees, who then ship the job offshore.

    It’s just that right now, more than half the H-1b visas are taken up by Offshore Outsourcing companies, doing these zero-innovation positions. And, taking away a starting job from an American citizen. I know, because I started out in Software Quality Assurance. Hey, I didn’t even graduate from High School, and I know program advanced server software.

    The people who really have the innovation, you know the Phd guys, those guys are often not preferred hires. What companies want is a workforce that will not leave the job, after training.

    We would get a lot of mileage out of an apprentice system or something that put a person into a position for 5 years and that required on the job training, with a penalty if they left early.

    • We do not need H1B workers for Business, Systems or Functional Analysts roles especially not with low-code platforms like Salesforce or Pega. We certainly do not need H1B Salesforce Admins.

      I went through an interview a month ago. I have 16 years compared to the 4 years experience that the Indian person who interviewed me has. She graduated 5 years ago from a a 2 year program in Florida; left the US for India for 1 year; came back to the US as a graduate intern for 1 year; found work in the US the last 3 years as a Business Analyst. She interviewed me. I didn’t get the job. She told me that the hiring manager is Raj (another Indian). I ask myself, why have I been out of work since March while this person who has 1/4 of my experience has not experienced a week of unemployment in my country?

      • Unfortunately this has become the norm in most companies. They hire these inexperienced cheap laborers not just because they are inexpensive but also because they are scared to ask for any benefits afforded to them through labor laws. They will ask how high before they are told to jump.

    • There are two types of companies that apply for H1B primarily. High-tech companies (the likes are Google, Uber, Amazon etc., which no longer limited to Silicon valley) and the consulting companies.

      These companies. hire fresh grads in India and train them cheap. While formal training could be weeks to months, but allowed to gain experience while working in cheap off-shore projects. With few years of experience they are sent to US for deployment at client site for same projects. Although they are paid the prevailing wages, but exploited to work longer hours thus cheaper than local talent. The sad part is probably about 50% of these have Computer science or computer engineering degrees, rest have other engineering degrees and some even have MBA from Indian unversities..

      So, they invest in developing skills off-shore as it’s cheaper to do, then again exploit them here in US.

      I think, US universities produce enough talent to meet the demands of High-tech companies, especially if we allow foreign student who get Masters in US. It’s the other part where most abuse happens, need to streamlined.

      In fact, L1 visa which is meant for mid-level executives of global corporation is abused more.

  6. In a bid to sway the Indian-American community ahead of the US presidential elections, Democratic party hopeful Joe Biden will reform the H-1B visa system and work towards eliminating country-quota for green cards, his campaign was quoted as saying.

    An H-1B visa is a non-immigrant visa which allows US companies to employ workers in speciality operations requiring technical/theoretical expertise.

    • Please provide a legitimate source. Biden has said no such thing. Also there is tons of rhetoric by Trump but look at numbers and he has not changed anything in last 3 years. He is expert at twisting facts and portraying that he is the one who is making it difficult for h1s.

      Few sensible reforms – all students with a masters degree from a reputable YS university should get H1-b and fast tracked for citizenship. All h4s should not automatically get EAD. They should have independent application and verification process. Also US workers need to drop their attitude that we are superior just because we are US citizens/residents.

      I hire bunch of tech workers and most of the time US citizens don’t apply. When they apply, Some of their resumes are shabby. Some do not prepare well for interviews. If they are hired, they do not want to work hard. If a competent, hard working US works applies, more often than not, they will get hired.

      Ages is also not an issue. Out of my last 29 hires , 7 are 50+ US citizens. I look for best fit for the job first. We pay same wages for H1-bs and US workers for same job. And yes, I BBC am a US citizen myself.

      • You may pay the same wage, but H1-B workers, who are tied to work visa have no option but to work longer hours, thus costing you less. One H1B worker is equal to 1.5 US worker. If this strategy is adopted in all industries, what will happen to US talent eco-system?

  7. Jake Leone

    We know that the H-1b visa is mostly used by Offshore Outsourcing companies to bring in trainees. The trainees are trained by better qualified, more experienced American workers, as a prelude to moving the entire department offshore.

    Most of the workers brought in under the H-1b program, are not “specialty” workers. They only have to have a bachelors degree and the H-1b is their first actual STEM job. No actual work experience or expertise is required to obtain an H-1b visa.

    Any American, no matter how skilled that American is, can be replaced by a person on an H-1b visa (It’s in the law), if the company sponsoring the H-1b visa pays that H-1b worker the fixed minimum (and it has been fixed for 30 years) of 60k/yr.

    The Presidential administration can classify jobs as H-1b worthy (well only if a judge agrees). But for 30 years (until President Trump), practically any job was allowed in under the program. Jobs such as Software Quality Assurance, Web Page Designer, Database Manager, Computer Programmer, were all considered “specialty” jobs. But we know these jobs can be filled by Americans with just a 2-year degree or even just years of self-training.

    It is easier to just state the kinds of jobs that actually require a “specialty” worker. Those jobs require application of some new theory in STEM, that isn’t widely distributed or known. Even in AI, you can buy any one of several books on AI and apply that to your work. Many of the libraries (created in Universities and by open source contributors) can be downloaded and you can work with them on your home computer.

    So, for example, an AI lab might need a few top scientists (O-visa worthy candidates), who published some works in a pier reviewed magazine somewhere. These guys would not be fresher trainees. They might have worked in the field for 10-15 years already. They might have tenured positions at a University, that they can return to.

    But as for the rest, most of the rest of the jobs can be filled with technicians. People who can learn their skills after having studied for a few years in college or on their own. That kind of a model can support apprentice programs, where a person is paid to do the work that is needed (and there is a lot of support work in most AI projects).

    The problem is that the H-1b visa destroys that dynamic for Americans. Americans are only more expensive than other workers around the world, because other countries simply do not care about the value of their money. The U.S. allows foreign direct investment (most countries with low valued currencies do not, or severely limit it, it is basically nationalist protectionism).

    But our high valued dollar, stunts the ability of people in the United States from being able to compete with foreign workers (already here in the U.S. on a student or some other visa). Further the H-1b to Green Card wait time, which traps many Indian and Chinese workers at the same jobs (for decades) is really appealing for Tech corporations. Just read the Email exchange between Eric Schmidt and Steve Jobs, in the Infamous “No Poaching” scandal.

    It is a good thing that these Tech companies (and law firms) have done a lousy job at preventing leaks this vital information about their real hiring motivations. All the tech companies involved in the “No Poaching” scandal, quickly settled out of court (and Obama let them settle quickly out of court with the Federal Government). In order to avoid having to answer questions about their real hiring motivations, UNDER OATH.

    • Lots of misinformation here. I have not hired a single H1if I can find a qualified US employee. When I have hired H1s , they get paid the same wages as US workers.
      When you talk about QA engineering, it is not mere clicking buttons and doing trivial testing. We hire test engineers with programming chops who know how to automate testing, understand business and develop comprehensive test cases. Similarly a good web programmer and someone who just reads few books and does couple of online courses produce completely different output.

      We Americans are also afraid of hard work and feel that we are entitled to everything and we do not have to work hard. I gave never seen a competent American tech worker unemployed. If one keeps up with latest technology and works hard, there are plenty of jobs out there. Once’s complaining about H1s are usually the ones who have worked years on some old technology and never put an effort to upskill themselves.

      • Oh just F-OFF with your generalization. I have kept up-to-date and have gone through several testing and received several certifications. How would you know if US citizens are available before you hire a H1B? Do you have a list of ALL U.S. citizens that are unemployed but who are perfectly capable, qualified to do the work that you need done?

        This, I think, is your story. You put out a requirement and let recruiters know your budget is this much (X) which is what you’ve gotten used to paying H1B workers.

        Recruiters find several American candidates but these candidates live out of your state. US Candidates then say “Geez, a fck-n studio apartment in SF cost $2800.00; or $2500.00 in Boston; or $2700.00 in NY. I would have to ask for $18.00 more per hour because if I don’t, then I would essentially be earning $45.00 per hour. I’ve been in this business for 25 years now and I certainly have upgraded my skills – even coached H1Bs on how to do their jobs properly. I believe I should earn more than $45.00 per hour. I used to earn $85.00 per hour in 1995.” The recruiter then says: “Sorry we can’t pay more than what DICK said”. Recruiter goes back to you – DICK – and say here are our candidates – all H1Bs who are just ecstatic to be paid your rate since they are used to living with 4 other H1B in a 1 bedroom apartment.

  8. The H1b visa scheme (scam) has been a revolving door of corporate greed encouraging political corruption feeding corporate greed etc. for decades. Anyone working in IT in the ’90’s saw how many motivated US citizens were investing their own money in skilling up to match the needs of business. The dotcom bubble combined with an unabated flood of H1b visa workers effectively eliminated a huge proportion of the upcoming wave of domestic IT talent. Taking meaningful action to reduce the unbalanced political power of corporate greed (campaign contributions) is the only long term way to address this bipartisan pattern of abuse.

  9. …it wants to “revise the definition of specialty occupation to increase focus on obtaining the best and the brightest foreign nationals…

    Best and the brightest? This will eliminate 98% of the H1bs. In my opinion, 2% is an acceptable level.

    • Don’t need to revise definitions, just require H1B salaries to be at least twice the prevailing local salary for any occupation. This will allow in the Nobel prize winners and boot out the Indians. Employers will only pay it if they have to, and it will make it worthwhile for them to invest in training.

      • Abdul Debulbulemir

        By God, sir, you are ignorant! This will only drive the offshoring of IT jobs to US foreign subsidiaries. US IT workers need to cultivate a better work ethic. My boss says most of the H1b people he interviews really want to work, while a lot of US citizen applicants expect the job to be handed to them on a plate!

  10. Once again the H1 program continues to baffle the average American. The fact that this program exists proves that the Plutocracts own the American government. It’s only purpose is to drive down wages for American IT workers…PERIOD!!!

    I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, prove that these companies need this so-called talent. Raise the minimum wage of the H1 to $120k or more.

  11. Fred Brandli

    I live in an area that hosts the Worlds largest meat packer, logistics company and thw world’s largest retailer. In all three cases it is an “open secret” that they hire H1b recipients over locals and US citizen as a whole. Yet over year this has been increasing. They have gotten to the point that not only do they hire H1b recipients preferentially, but they have even begun hiring families. That is, they are importing married couples, who hold similar degrees, having both work , but only one of them is on payroll. So not only are they paying the foreign workers less than US workers, but they are getting two-fer at the same time. Local job ads literally reference hundreds of $90k-150k jobs every month. But they are all locked up by the Chinese and Indian outsourcing companies. But these outsourcers are NOT paying the $90-150k, they’e pay $40-60k at best, and then only when they can get the two-fer deals. Sad thing is, that they apply for these programs as if they are “specialty” jobs and the imports have some special hard-to-find skills. Not so. I run an IT Services business and regularly work on projects with some of these people. These programs are importing low level tech to change printer toner and un-box PCs at a workstation…yes. Low end PC Tech work. Some of these imports “graduate” from “college” with the equivalent of a BS or MS, (on paper) but on-site, here in the US is the literal first time they have actually used their “skills” on a computer. Not kidding, they freakin’ memorized stuff to pass tests, and coding was done on hand written notepads. Like it’s the 1980’s and they handed me COBOL coding sheets. I have plenty of problems with some of the stuff El Presidente Naranje has said and done. But he’s 100% spot on, on this topic.

  12. Why do I see only certain areas in IT mentioned here such as Quality Assurance, there are several other areas too such as Project Management, Business Analysis, Product Management which are not highly specialized. These areas also would not qualify for H-1B program that looks for specialized areas of expertise. From this perspective, 70- 80% of IT should not qualify for H-1B

  13. Mike Gordan

    H1B VISA SCAM
    From falsifying documents and setting up fake websites to pretending to be “religious leaders”, Indians are resorting to a variety of tactics in the hope of getting a U.S. visa, according to cables from US diplomatic missions in India published on the whistleblowing website WikiLeaks.

    In the leaked cable dated Oct 2009 and released by WikiLeaks on 24 April 2011, the U.S. Consul in Chennai said in the India Biannual Fraud Update, “Fraudulent civil documentation is common in India, both in terms of documents that have been fabricated outright, and documents issued improperly. (U.S. diplomatic) posts see a myriad of fraudulent documents, including fake civil registry documents, counterfeit entry/exit stamps and third-country visas, employment letters, sponsorship and financial documents, bogus degrees and entrance examination scores, and altered marriage and site photographs.

    “Visa consultants sell such documents to applicants who seek their advice about how to qualify for visas. Peddlers of fraudulent documents abound and operate quite openly in major Indian cities and even some of the smaller towns. Government officials are not above fraudulent issuances either. Virtually all birth certificates, death certificates, and marriage registration documents can be purchased from corrupt local government officials or brokers.”

    The cable, which offers a detailed compilation of the numerous problems facing diplomatic missions in India, sounds a clear warning to tourism and immigration authorities worldwide about the potential downsides of the Indian outbound travel boom. Although countries which require visas from Indian citizens have some mechanisms in place to detect fraud, the many countries now offering Indian citizens visa-free or visa-on-arrival access are bound to see a commensurate rise in illegal Indian immigrants. A reopening of the long-standing debate over tourism promotion policies and visa requirements is a foregone conclusion.

    The cable notes that inspite of booming economic conditions in India, “an opinion poll published in the popular Times of India in January 2007 noted that 37 percent of the 1.1 billion Indians would emigrate if they had the chance. Many Indians have tried to migrate (to the U.S.) using non-immigrant visas, and a greater number of Indian nationals apply for employment-based H and L visas than any other nationality worldwide.”

    Busiest in the World

    According to the cable, “India-wide consular operations are among the busiest in the world. In FY-2008, Mission India processed more than 756,000 non-immigrant visa applications and 27,000 immigrant visa applications.

    “While the majority of applicants from India are bona fide travelers and migrants, the volume of fraudulent applications is still significant. Some states, such as Gujarat and Punjab, are traditional sources of migration out of India and fraudulent applications from these areas are more common than from other regions of India. The state of Andhra Pradesh, and in particular its capital of Hyderabad, has been identified as a large center of documentary fraud which affects all India posts.”

    The cable says, “Mission India processes more H and L visas than any other country in the world, more than 30 percent of the world total in FY-2008. Although H and L visa applications were down slightly in FY-2009 due to the worldwide economic environment, Mission India still processed 120,320 H and L visa applications in the first three quarters of FY-2009, including 60,725 in Chennai alone.

    “Mission India processed 192,332 H and L visa adjudications in FY-2008 and 190,087 in FY-2007. Chennai, Mumbai and New Delhi have been the three busiest H-1B visa processing posts in the world for the past five fiscal years, and we project that India posts will comprise the top four in the world now that the new Consulate General in Hyderabad is adjudicating visas.”

    It says that “in FY-2009, the non-immigrant visa classes most often targeted for fraud were B1/B2 business travelers/tourists, H-1B temporary workers, F1 student visas, and P3 culturally unique artists. Since the implementation of the new petition requirement for R-1 religious workers, Mission India has seen very few fraudulent R-1 cases. The most commonly targeted immigrant visa classes were IR-1s and CR 1s in Delhi and F-2B and F-2A visas in Mumbai and Chennai.

    Specific regional areas

    “During the six month period from March through August 2009, Mission India’s consular sections identified a total of 3,596 cases of suspected visa fraud (Chennai – 1,237, New Delhi – 949, Mumbai – 809, Hyderabad – 523, Kolkata – 78). 5. Most of India’s fraudulent applicants come from specific and easily defined regional areas within each consular district.

    “These states have some of the most mobile populations in India and the largest concentrations of expatriate communities overseas, including in the United States. In New Delhi, cases originating from the Punjab comprise the majority of its IV (Immigrant Visa) and fraud caseloads, while the same can be said in Mumbai with Gujarat. Chennai and Hyderabad’s fraud workload comes principally from Andhra Pradesh.”

    It says that “B1/B2 visa fraud is the most commonplace. Regionally-based fraud rings throughout the country, but especially in Hyderabad, continue to produce fraudulent documents for visa application and travel purposes. Some visa “consultants” and travel agents specialize in fraudulent experience letters and fake document packages, which include passport copies of false relatives, bogus financial documents, and affidavits of support.”

    It cites several examples: The New Delhi post “uncovered an extensive network of fraudulent Lions Club conference attendees. Mumbai recently discovered a scam involving unqualified children being misrepresented as attending different schools in an attempt to boost their financial credibility as Space Camp attendees. As a result, Mumbai now requires signed affidavits by chaperones and has physically canceled the visas of several large camp groups.”

    According to the cable, “H-1B fraud is one of the top two visa categories for fraud throughout Mission India. All posts regularly encounter inflated or fabricated educational and employment qualifications. The vast majority of these documents come from Hyderabad. In the 18 months prior to the start-up of consular operations in Hyderabad, FPU Chennai investigated 150 companies in Hyderabad, 77 percent of which turned out to be fraudulent or highly suspect (ref F). Most of those cases slated for site visits were to verify the experience letters for H-1B applicants who did not meet minimum educational qualifications.”

    Tightened Procedures

    Applicants masquerading as religious pilgrims were also problematic until the procedure was tightened to be petition-based. The cable says, “During the last two years, most R-1 fraud was detected amongst Tibetan refugees, Sikh raagis, and Hindu priests. Mission R-1 fraud includes both fraudulent beneficiaries and fictitious inviting parties. Since DHS began requiring petitions for R-1 applicants in November, R-1 fraud referrals have almost completely dried up. Since DHS requires 100 percent on-site verification of petitioners, however, many potential R-1 applicants now apply for B1/B2 visas in an attempt to avoid closer scrutiny.”

    It outlined religious visa fraud trends from Chennai, Mumbai and Kolkata thus:

    “Mumbai noted that following numerous Fraud Prevention Unit site visits in the states of Gujarat and Maharashtra in which none of the purported Sikhs were legitimate religious workers, CY-2008 R-1 visa refusals have climbed to nearly 70 percent. Mumbai and Kolkata noted similar findings that Sikhs and Tibetan monks had the highest percentage of confirmed fraud during this period. Kolkata confirmed that 85 percent of R-1 Buddhist monks from the Northern District of West Bengal did not belong to the monasteries as they claimed. Most of these fake priests were from Nepal or from the south Indian state of Karnataka. FPU Kolkata observed that Buddhist priests and monks from this region all speak Hindi, and Buddhist monks who claim to speak only Tibetan are not from West Bengal. A recent Mission-wide study of stateless B1/B2 applicants, most of whom were purportedly Tibetan monks, confirmed an overstay rate of over fifty percent.”

    It said that “an astute catch by the FPM in Kolkata caught several fraudulent R-1 applicants applying the same week in Mumbai and New Delhi. Based on an A/RSO-I investigation in New Delhi that uncovered fake stamps for an organization in Michigan, Chennai arranged the arrest of three fake Sikhs, and the Kolkata FPM used Watch Phrase to alert U.S. Mission New Zealand about its applicants connected to the same Michigan organization.”

    For Performer Visas, Chennai, Mumbai and New Delhi have all been active in combating fraud of cultural performers and reporting on P3 fraud trends. According to the cable, the highest rate of fraud is in New Delhi, which has developed a mandatory Fraud Prevention Unit prescreening program for these types of cases. Its study validated an overall refusal rate of 56 percent and confirmed an overstay rate of five percent. Mumbai found that while P3 holders did not overstay their visas, several did report being mistreated and underpaid.

    “An investigation by the Chennai FPU in 2008 uncovered a visa fraud racket through which famous Tamil film actors and industry associates assisted mala fide applicants to obtain B1/B2 visas, purportedly to scout movie locations. Over two hundred applicants applied for visas under this scheme, and 95 were issued.”

    Fictitious Marriages and Divorce

    One of the more “particularly troublesome” visas are the F and CR categories (families and relationships). The cable says “posts see false family relationships and fictitious marriages and divorces every day. The Indian custom of arranged marriages makes adjudicating IR and CR cases particularly difficult, as the husband and wife often do not meet until just before their marriage. Many of the IV fraud referrals in Mumbai are CR-1 or F-21 cases stemming from “arranged” marriages between U.S. citizens or LPRs and Indian nationals. Thus, much of the FPUs’ time is dedicated to determining the legitimacy of the family relationships that sustain the claim to immigrant status.”

    It adds, “Posts also frequently encounter misrepresentations of marital status in order to benefit from later “current processing dates” (e.g. falsely claiming to be single by denying the applicant has a spouse and children in order to qualify for F1 classification) and misrepresentations of the age of children in order to qualify as part of the family eligible to immigrate. Chennai has seen the largest number of these cases originating from the state of Kerala.”

    The cable says that Alien smuggling from and through India using fraudulent travel documents is one of the most serious challenges facing posts in the region.

    “Smuggling ranges from individual document vendors to sophisticated criminal organizations that move hundreds of people to the U.S. each year. Delhi and Mumbai have become key transit points for illegal migrants proceeding to the U.S. from India. DS/CR/VPAU, in consultation with DRSO/I New Delhi, and the Austrian, Canadian, British, and New Zealand High Commissions continue to monitor third-country nationals transiting New Delhi with counterfeit documents. Individuals of numerous nationalities, including Armenians, Iraqis, Moroccans, Georgian, Bangladeshi, Congolese, Nepalese, and Sri Lankans have been intercepted attempting to transit New Delhi with fraudulent documents. Other Indian airports have also been reporting similar patterns. From 10/2008 to 04/2009, there were 32 encounters/off-loads involving Nepalese/Tibetans via New Delhi enroute to JFK alone.

    It says, “Trafficking in persons (TIP) remains an area of concern. India is a source, destination, and transit country for men, women, and children trafficked for the purposes of commercial sexual exploitation and forced labor. Internal trafficking of women and girls for the purposes of commercial sexual exploitation and forced marriage is prevalent. The GOI estimates 90 percent of India’s sex trafficking is internal, although estimates of the number of trafficking victims vary widely and are generally unreliable. Recent years have seen an increase in trafficking to medium-sized cities and satellite towns of large cities. India is also a destination for women and girls from Nepal and Bangladesh trafficked for the purpose of commercial sexual exploitation.”

    Indian Passport Fraud

    It is not just the visa documentation but also the Indian Passport itself which is described as “a significant and continuously worrisome fraud challenge.”

    Says the cable, “For all of the security features and improvements in quality control of current Indian passports, quality and issuance control are lax and penalties are so inadequate that virtually anyone can obtain a genuinely issued, but fraudulent passport with near impunity,” the cable says.

    “The design of the Indian passport incorporates many good security features that would normally lead to a more favorable rating of this document’s vulnerability. The problem lies in production inconsistency and vulnerable source documents. Quality control is lax at production locations. Thus, genuine passports sometimes are partially or completely missing security features. Genuine passports issued on the same day at the same place can look entirely different – a different batch but the numbers are sequentially close.

    “The only documentation required for a passport is proof of birth and proof of residency. Easily reproduced school records can suffice for the former, while a bank statement or utility bill can be used to “prove” the latter. Although police are supposed to verify the information on each application by visiting the applicant’s neighborhood and interviewing neighbors, such checks are often cursory at best. In most cases, police officials will only check warrant records and then hand over a clean record to passport authorities. Notwithstanding these problems, the fact the application process requires a police check is positive,” the cable says.

    All these problems mean that significant efforts have to be made to combat them. This is being done through increased use of technology, training programmes, arrests, better internal coordination as well as “an increasing amount of pressure both from the U.S. government and from other diplomatic missions, primarily the U.K., Canada, Australia, Germany, and New Zealand” on Indian law enforcement to address smuggling and trafficking issues.”

    It says, “All posts have increased efforts to work more closely with Indian authorities in a number of areas of common interest, such as making Indian documents more secure, establishing fraud prevention strategies, verification of civil registry information, and the apprehension of criminals. Airport police and immigration authorities in Mumbai have been aggressive in detaining individuals who DHS deported for fraudulent documents. Law enforcement in New Delhi has been actively involved in arresting visa vendors but has not taken a general interest in arresting persons denied boarding at the airport for presenting fraudulent documents, in part due to the absence of a U.S. presence at the airport.”

  14. The companies outsource to save money. Companies are pushed by share holders and hedge funds to lower their costs and managment are beholden to Share holders than their employees. These share holders also see a need to increase living wages in third world contries so they can sell more stuff to e,erging middle class in China, India etc. US Auto industry is dependent on China now more than ever for survival. GM sells more cars in China than in North America. Now if we increase the minimum wage in US and give our workers a living wage instead paying $7 per hour, we can rebuild our middle class again that would sustain our economy.

  15. In addition to US Govt and Corporates faciliatating H1B, there is also this main entitity – AILA – American Immigration Lawyers Association – which lobby for more Immigration. you have no idea how they force feed immigration in USA. They PAID (through lobby) Dick Durbin with $100,000 to deny S386 (which would remove offshoring companies to hire more than 50% H1Bs).They are over turning every restriction that our President Trump made by filing law suits (look up AILA lawyer on twitter – charles Kuck @ckuck). Dont forget – these lawyers, corporates, admins – are all AMERICAN entities. Yet, “Indians” are called out for biting the bait! Call out these lawyers on twitter. Stop the lawsuits against Trump’s action on immigration!

  16. This whole H1B thing is a big rip off and scam to steal of American white collar jobs and keep wages low. This is exactly the same thing as shipping all American manufacturing jobs to China.

    The culprits and enablers are primarily, corrupt politicians from both parties (yes, including Republicans), US Chamber of Commerce (Can’t believe they have an office in China, go figure that out), Silicon Valley Tech companies (Apple to Amazon). Hopefully, one of these days, we the American people will wake up and stand up against this travesty.

  17. Jake Leone

    Anytime you say, “some group X is lazy” you are being a bigoted racist.

    Anytime you say, “you can’t find anyone who wants to work in some group X”, you are being a racist.

    There are millions of hard-working Americans and millions of hard working people in other countries. It is likely, given that the United States is less than 10% of the world’s population, there are 10+x more hard working people outside the United States.

    A more useful question is why do they all want to work in the United States? Mainly it is because the currencies of many of the highly populated countries, is worthless. The people in some of these countries make the equivalent of 10$/day.

    People in the United States provide an open Capitalist system with asset protection, that other countries simply don’t want (for purely political and nationalistic reasons). In the United States, we protect the value of our currency by decoupling the executive branch from the Federal Reserve (where money is printed).

    We protect the value of our real estate by allowing foreign investment and by having a steadily increasing population. And not just an increasing population, but a population controlled by a largely non-corrupt system.

    But we miss the massive devaluation, by greedy bigoted people, who say we Americans are a lazy group of people. Who are spreading this lie so that people will spread that same lie around to boards like this, to their children, or people of their own ethnic group.

    Now that is something we must address. The founding members of the most valuable tech corporation, Apple, were all raised in the U.S. public school system. Other notable examples are the founders of Intel. Gordon Moore graduated from Sequoia Highschool in Redwood City.

    The bigots spreading lies (for or against Hindustanis, for or against Americans), in this very comment thread, are not worth listening to. Because they are not getting at the heart of the reasons why the United States must have an immigration policy, why the United States must have a trade policy. And they are misleading people into various forms of junk thinking, that can be easily manipulated.

    We need a trade policy, because without one country will take advantage of another, until one country is the Mercantile provider and the other is Resource provider. The resource provider, will likely only be selling a commodity and the value the workforce will also be similarly, marginalized. We also need a Mercantile economy in the United States, because we can’t fight wars (hopefully just fights) without technical manufacturing base.

    We need an immigration policy because local governments will not provide housing at the rate at which an open immigration policy would require. Unless we are content with a 3rd of our population in shanty towns. And we will not allow that, therefore we must limit population growth.

    Also we need an immigration policy so that we do not shut out people who have the heart and desire to pursue careers (that might otherwise go to only non-citizens