Scam Alert: H1-B, L1 visa Consultants on the prowl
Viewpoint and advice for 2017 U.S visa aspirants
I am not actively job-hunting; and even if I were, I don’t need an “H1-B” work visa. Even a cursory look at my LinkedIn profile should provide the sufficient details about me; and the fact that I happen to be an Indian-American with OCI should be obvious.
Then why do I continue to get emails like the following?
XXX SOFTWARE Information Technology Private Limited, is looking to hire IT Professionals on multiple technologies from INDIA to work onsite for various clients (USA employers), We are managing for our clients across USA, Our clients are experiencing tremendous growth and looking for experienced, intelligent, energetic, and self-motivated team members for full-time consulting roles.
ALL VISA TYPES FRESH H1B AND H1B TRANSFER (EXPERIENCED CONSULTANTS IN INDIA / USA) , OPT TO H1B , H4 TO H1B , L1 TO H1B, H1B TO H1B TRANSFER ARE WELCOME TO APPLY.
H1B SPONSORSHIP / TRANSFER ALONG WITH GREEN CARD PROCESSING FOR QUALIFIED CANDIDATES.
(Note: Each employer has own policies on H1B Visa Sponsorship and Green Card. Please feel free to discuss more about this with us)
We are seeking outstanding and bright candidates to work ONSITE at our client location in USA. We are looking for top notch candidates in the following areas.
Android / iOS, BigData (Hadoop) …. Web UI developers
Qualification: Minimum Bachelors / Masters in Computer Science or other related field required.
Job Location : USA (H1B Will Be Sponsored)
Salary : DOE
Candidates with previous US experience will be preferred.
YYYY - H1B Team
XXXX Software Information Technology Private Limited
Email ID: [email protected]
The scammers probably aren’t targeting me, but rather the general cadre of IS/IT workers who are continually reading news on H1 updates.
This email made me reflect on the recent news and the questions appearing in online forums “What effect will the H1B Visa Reform Bill have on existing H1B holders drawing salary of less than 100K P.A.?" (link) Let us dissect the scam mail and understand if there are any lessons here:
• The mails are open-ended. The scammers keep the skill requirements open ended and mention the A-Z of technologies from Android to Web development and everything in between
• There are contradictions in statements in the text. For example, look at the following two statements
- (H1B Will Be Sponsored)
- (Note: Each employer has own policies on H1B Visa Sponsorship and Green Card. Please feel free to discuss more about this with us)
• The mails are timed to coincide with news or other major happenings -for instance, the recently introduced bill that aims to reform H1, L1 and work visas “HIGH-SKILLED INTEGRITY AND FAIRNESS ACT OF 2017 (link)” or timed with news about “H-1B Fiscal Year (FY) 2017 Cap Season (USCIS link)”
• The emails target a broad category and hope a few take the bite “ALL VISA TYPES FRESH H1B AND H1B TRANSFER (EXPERIENCED CONSULTANTS IN INDIA / USA) , OPT TO H1B , H4 TO H1B , L1 TO H1B, H1B TO H1B TRANSFER ARE WELCOME TO APPLY.
The mails come out at a time when employees, even at reputable consulting firms like Infosys, Wipro, TCS, Accenture, IBM and other firms in India and in the US are feeling vulnerable. Most of the top-20 employers requesting H1 visas in the past year have been consulting firms (link to 2016 applicant list)
The Trump administration has already started with Executive Actions to address immigration issues. Lawmakers in the U.S. have promised to take up the issue of work visas H1B, L1 visa at the earliest. A bill - “HIGH-SKILLED INTEGRITY AND FAIRNESS ACT OF 2017 (link)”– has already been tabled in the US congress and will be debated and reviewed soon.
The proposed bill aims to increase the minimum wage limit for H1 visa holders from 65,000 to greater than $130,000. This provision is being watched closely by employers including consulting firms. Smaller firms are going to be especially vulnerable since their margins are going to be squeezed if they have to pay employees at least $130,000 !
Are there any lessons here? Foreign students in the U.S. and those already employed gainfully should plan to wait-and-watch till the dust settles on immigration reforms. One should be especially cautious while dealing with smaller consultants and software services firms. As the adage goes: caveat emptor, buyer beware!