Friday, May 26, 2006

High-Tech Visas

Along a totally different track, recently NPR broadcast an article which directly pertains to my current job:

Critics: High-Tech Visas Cheat U.S. Workers

If you'd like an idea of the sorts of issues we tackle everyday at the visa window, particularly here in Japan, please listen to the story. Though what the article doesn't tell you is how hard it is to revoke a petition for a job, even when the salary being offered the visa applicant is below the prevailing wage (we've seen it as low as half of Department of Labor standards). The onus is on us to prove fraud on the part of the business in these cases; since the petition has already been cleared by DHS, the applicant only has to prove she has the necessary skills and is willing to take the job, and then we're legally obligated to issue. We're trying to find ways to rectify the situation; in the case where the foreign worker was ready to take a salary at half the prevailing wage, Heather convinced him to let her put his case on hold so she could do more research into the company. Though of course, this wait time hurts the applicant more than the company -- as does the smirch of a 'refusal' in his visa record if we do get the petition revoked. It's frustrating. We see some companies essentially stocking their workforce with foreign 'trainees' being paid as little as $8/hour (justified due to 'trainee' status); for example, if you are buying dental implants in the California region, odds are they were made by low-paid Japanese trainees. It's criminal -- but legal.

And it's sad to see that we'd rather get worked up over illegal immigrants picking fruit. At least their willingness to work for pennies is keeping the price of apples down; have you seen the price of dental implants lately?


Consul-At-Arms said...

Excellent points, thanks for addressing this.

I've linked to you here:

Consul-At-Arms said...

Please see the comment someone has already made regarding your post:

Katie said...

I realized that it is probably incumbent on me to point out that most companies are operating aboveboard... But the longer you work with consular issues, the more likely you are to see fraud everywhere.

Consul-At-Arms said...

Fraud IS everywhere.