Another US Immigration Story

The eagle-eyed Arnold Akien sent me a link to this story about Indian IT workers with valid H1-B and L-1 visas being denied entry by the CBP. In theory such visas only entitle you to work for a single employer in the USA, but if you are a consultant you will inevitably work for clients on behalf of your employer. That’s the way consultancy works. The CBP appears to have got it into its head that this is a violation of the terms of the visas, and once again are denying entry to legitimate visa holders.

The sad thing is that a lot of this work can probably be done remotely, so in attempting to defend US jobs the CBP is probably only sending them offshore, at a significant cost to the US economy.

3 thoughts on “Another US Immigration Story

  1. H-1Bs are a very, very touchy issue right now in the computer world. Half the US IT industry is convinced they are only used to bring in people to do programming at Third World prices, or to train people who will be sent back overseas and used to outsource work. Until the recession, there were yearly stories about how fast the H-1Bs were used up, followed by stories about tech CEOs lobbying Congress to raise the H-1B cap because they couldn’t find qualified people, countered by other stories about qualified programmers unable to find work, growing comment threads with much bile about the general IT industry toward paying for training.

    CBP would not seem to be the ideal point at which to investigate possible misuse of H-1Bs, though.

  2. It used to be that holders of Commonwealth Working Holiday visas in the UK were NOT allowed to work in their ‘chosen profession’ in the UK (along with other restrictions like could only work for 12 months of the 24 months allowed total). So a highly-sought-after programmer had their job listed as ‘Data Entry’, or teachers worked retail. This aspect has been fixed now.

  3. We used to have similar issues with L1B visas where we had to brief each arriving engineer with the correct answers to questions. We’d also do the same with any coming for “meetings” under the Visa Waiver system – especially if they were coming for extended on system training.

    This is where point of entry becomes important. For some reason I’ve only ever had grief at SFO whereas SeaTac have always been pretty straight forward… except, interestingly, to our UK MD who had committed the heinous crime of handing back a Green Card and having been born in Egypt.

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