Thursday, July 05, 2007

The Elusive Green Card


Rajiv Thakur from Boston is disturbed. He's been waiting with bated breath over his Green Card application. He's not a software engineer, but works on firmware creation for one of the world's leading high-end audio equipment manufacturer.

Thakur has been in the US for over seven years now and is one among the several tens of thousands of legal, highly-skilled professionals hoping that the USCIS and DOS jointly accept Green Card applications that were received during this week.
Its Thakur's second attempt at getting the much coveted Green Card. His first attempt was trumped by inordinate delays in the Dept. of Labor certifying his application. Fortunately, for him, his current employer then restarted the process.

Like several others, the 06/13 Visa Bulletin gave Thakur and his wife a sliver of hope. "We started dreaming about good life again! Started thinking about buying a home and realizing the American dream. We have 2 US citizen kids, but we're hesitant with making large investments given the uncertainty of getting our Green Card quickly."

He adds "My wife started thinking about working again. We scrambled, made trips to doctor's office, attorney's office with our 3 month old child. Our application was mailed in on Friday, June 29 and reached USCIS on July 2, 2007".

However, the Dept. of State and USCIS retracted their previous statement and revised the visa bulletin on 07/02. Rajiv's a member of Immigration Voice, a group started by highly-skilled professionals of foreign origin.

"We're uncertain if the USCIS will accept our package. I've made numerous calls to my attorney asking for updates. The 07/20 announcement was unexpected. Its going to take us months to overcome this shock. Why can't USCIS at least accept our applications and provide interim benefits?" he asks. His wife has been eagerly waiting to get a employment authorization document(EAD) so that she can pursue her passion - teaching.The EAD, provides unrestricted right to work(annual extensions required) is one among the interim benefits applicants are entitled to, when they file "adjustment of status" applications (popularly known as the I-485).

Earlier this year, faced with a national crisis in attracting and retaining new teachers, hundreds of educators and policymakers from around the nation gathered in March at the Boston Marriott Long Wharf Hotel to grapple with the problem and search for solutions.

The Center on Education Policy reports about a third of new teachers leave the profession after three years and almost half of them are gone by five years. Some are leaving to become stay-at-home moms, but the majority are entering other professions where the pay is much better and the work less demanding. Baby boomers - including many career teachers - are beginning to retire.

It is time Federal agencies got together with Congress to make the immigration system more palatable to highly-skilled professionals so that readily available talent can be utilized to address employment shortages.


Immigration Voice, founded in December 2005, has grown to over 14,500 members and strives for changes to the employment-based immigration system in the United States.

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