The problems and hardships of H1B visa holding employees

1999

The following is an edited letter sent by Ananda Sunkanpally, a software professional, to the Immigration and Naturalization Service, Nebraska.

The Immigration and Naturalization Service Department of Justice United States of America

Dear Sir/Madam,

Sub: The problems and hardships of H1B visa holding employees

Most employers who recruit foreign software professionals on H1B visas exploit these workers by coercing them psychologically.

The American Immigration and Naturalization Service and other law enforcing agencies have laws related to pro-business and pro-American interests. But alas! Nobody thought of the feelings, emotions, career and life of an H1B employee, who comes from thousands of miles away, leaving his job, society, family and relations, with great dreams. He comes to this land of freedom, allured by the benefits promised by a shrewd, calculated, ruthless and greedy employer.

H1B employees face innumerable problems right from the day they land in the US. There is no regulatory body to oversee the well being of the human being (the H1B employee). They are at the mercy of the employer and 99% of the time, the employer exploits the employee through bodyshopping.

Are the H1B employees your cattle? That you use them and kick them out at will? What compensation does an H1B employee get if he protests against the illegal acts of the employer? Well! The employer has to pay a fine to the government. But what about the employee? Why should he lose so much of his career time? What about the mental agony and depression he goes through? Why do you not hold the employer and the American government responsible for ruining a human being's peaceful life in his home country, by false and pretentious propaganda? Why don't you inform the employee about his rights and obligations up front?

Why do you think the people coming from other countries on H1B are an inferior species, that you impose restrictive laws on them? Please remember that an H1B visa employee is a highly educated and skilled professional. And if you want something from these professional employees, give them something in return! Don't entangle them in your draconian, one-sided laws.

Please liberalize the law to allow H1B employees to work independently or start their own businesses. Please free them from the single employer rule. And ensure that an employer who exploits an employee and then abandons him for whatever reason is forced to compensate the employee for the trauma he undergoes.

Sincerely, - Ananda Sunkanpally in Indianapolis

The views of this column are the author's own, and do not necessarily represent the views of NRI Online.

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