Beware of fraudulent consultants to get a job

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Few visa statuses don’t allow their dependents to work in USA like F1 and H1B etc. Dependents who accompany their spouses are well educated and ambitious but unfortunately their status don’t allow them to work. The only option left with them is to find out the employer who can apply and sponsor their H1B visa. Lot of search, hard work and efforts are required to find out the legitimate companies who can sponsor the H1B visa. But during your search beware of fraudulent consultants as there are many of them in market try to lure the people desperately looking for job.

They promise to offer good package and also ask them to take three months training suited to the profile.  In the training program they don’t teach anything relevant but handover study material and ask them to study on their own to clear the interview. After the training program they prepare the candidate for the interview questions and make fake resume with 6-7 years of false experience in the field for which candidate have zero experience. Then they market the candidate with their clients and after the candidate is placed, they pay less salary to the candidate and take maximum cut for themselves. There are many such consultancies prevailing in USA.

It is advised not to fall in the trap of these consultancies as there is a chance of you being caught in the immigration check. It happened with one of the employee of a fraudulent consultant. On 29th December 2012, he was caught during the Immigration check at the port of entry of Chicago. He was asked to submit his i20, OPT Card, employer’s address and offer letter. After verification he was asked to go through the secondary immigration check.  In second immigration check he was asked to provide his resume.

Since his employer (consulting firm) added few years of extra experience to place him in a job, he avoided giving his resume and informed the officer that he don’t have a copy of it.  To his surprise, the officer cross verifying him took out a resume with the fake experience from his desk and was asked to verify if it was his.  He simply said it is not his so officer asked him if he was carrying a laptop and he said yes. He found his resume matching the same which officer was had. The officer then searched his LinkedIn profile on the web, and pointed to his profile. It had real profile of him. It consisted of his master’s degree study which was not included in his resume and there was no mention of fake experience in his LinkedIn profile.

The officer at the Port of Entry then called his consultant to verify the information but his consultant said they don’t know anything about the fake experience in his resume. It was the consultant which included the fake resume but in order to save their company from getting back listed they simply denied his employment. The officer cancelled his visa and then he was deported back to India.

There are also some fake consultancies that charge for the training program and fee to sponsor H1B visa but never place the candidate. So, be careful to avoid fraud.  You should verify about their authenticity and good will before committing to them. It is advised to look for the list of H1B debarred companies to ensure you are in safe hand.

There are still some good consulting companies that can help you get H1B visa. You will have to do lot of research and through analysis regarding the company and look for someone in the company whom you know personally or any of your network friends know to avoid fraud.  It is advised to do your due diligence before you ask them to sponsor your H1B visa.

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Advice by Anna Kristina Beissner, Coach and Business Trainer

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Don’t push the river, it flows. (George Tabori)

When I speak to people who came to the U.S. from all over the world, I often have the feeling that everybody feels under pressure. People seem to push themselves to quickly find a job, quickly build new friendships and quickly adjust to the new culture. When this is not working, many of them are feeling disappointed and lose their energy to deal with challenges they have to face.

But every one of them went through a big transition and such processes, like all change processes, need time. Do not force yourself through your transition process too fast and to adapt to your new life immediately. There are times for everything. Times to be excited, times to be sad about what you have left behind, times to explore new things, times to be overwhelmed and times to start something new.

What people, who come here on a dependent visa and do not have a job, often tell me: They are missing structure in their lives. It can be very difficult, if you have to create every day on your own without being a member of some community. In our society, we usually get acknowledgement for our job. If you are not working, you have to acknowledge the things you accomplish yourself. It is a big and difficult job to adjust to a new life without having any structure and community and you can be proud of what you are going through.

If you have – like many of the so called “traveling spouses” – the feeling of losing self-confidence, it might be helpful to think about what you have already achieved in your lives and which competencies helped you to be successful.

Choose a particular success from you past:
What was the initial situation?
What was particularly difficult/complex/challenging about it?
What exactly did you achieve/establish/decide?
What exactly was the result/benefit?
Which of your skills/characteristics/talents did you use?

Acknowledge these skills. Maybe they can also be helpful in the present situation or in the future.

Sometimes it can also be helpful to see your situation from a different perspective:

Who would be able to solve your problem? What do you think would he or she do?
Imagine, your best friend would come to you with a similar problem and ask for your help. What would you recommend to her/him?
Imagine yourself looking back to the present situation in three years from now thinking: That was an important experience. What could have been important for you?

When thinking about their future and goals, people often think only about what they want to change. But sometimes it is useful to also think about what you want to keep. What is so good at the moment, that it shall always be a part of your life?

Do whatever you like and find interesting. Maybe you like arts or cooking or would like to do voluntary work. There are communities for these activities that could make you feel more welcome in the new country. This might sound silly when you are feeling the urgent need to first find a job. But having fun and thinking about positive things create positive energy. You need this positive energy to face difficult challenges, no matter if it is the adjustment to a new culture and life or the often difficult job search.

Go out. Try to connect with people. Meeting locals is a great opportunity, but meeting people from your own culture speaking the same language and sharing your experience can also be very helpful.

You never know where you could meet someone who has a job offer for you or knows someone who has…

Anna Kristina Beissner

AnnaBessiner

Anna Kristina Beissner is a coach and business trainer for team building and human resource development from Germany. She came to Boston on a dependent visa in 2013, because her husband got a postdoc position at the Harvard University. During her stay, Anna worked as a coach for the Harvard Students` Spouses and Partners Association (HSSPA) and the MIT Spouses and Partners. She supported the members to get to know their potentials better, to set goals for their time in the U.S. or the time after or to solve any problems and conflicts.

But not everything in the garden is rosy

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RashiBhatnagar

Rashi Bhatnagar is from India. She has a group on Facebook called “H4 visa, a curse” which has more than 4,000 members who are on H4 visa  from all over the world staying legally in the US. It is an advocacy cum a support group. Through this group Rashi has interacted with many spouses on dependent visa. We interviewed her and she tells us about the immigration frauds and other ill practices related to dependent spouses. Here’s the full interview.

Question: Tell us something about yourself.

Answer:  I am from India and have been living in the US for the past four years on dependent visa. Back home, I was a lifestyle journalist with a reputed International publishing group.

Question:  What made you start the facebook group and what it is all about?

Answer: I came to the US in 2009 on a dependent visa. Earlier months were not that great. Every time, I was continuously asked (directly/indirectly) about my job status by my friends and dependents especially who got lucky with getting an H1B visa or  an easy Green Card processing. During many social gatherings, I saw dependents whine about their visa status. I went online to search about this sad visa situation but didn’t find much information even on the official immigration websites. That gave me an idea to start this group. I thought of bringing all the dependents under a common group and let the law makers know about our problems. The group was started with 20 members and now it has more than 4, 000 members from all over the US. Also, I got very disappointed to see that the dependents like L2 and J2 visa holders, legal dependents of – family base visa holders, refugee visa holders, and diversity visa lottery holders get their work permits very easily. Laws should be equal for all the legal dependents.

Question: Why do you think that telling the law makers about the issues faced by spouses on dependent visa can change the situation?

Answer: After coming to the US, I read a lot about the political structure of this country. How the Senate and the Congress works? How Bills get framed? How the state level leaders work? That gave me an idea to connect with the Senators and the Congress men on every state level. In 2011, we had received a reply from The White House as well on a petition which we had signed regarding H4 visa situation. An Executive order Rule has been framed for us; unfortunately, it is been pending. We have H4 visa work permit related provisions in the Immigration Reform Bill as well.

Law makers and many Americans are well versed with H1B or high skill work visa but don’t have any about their dependents situation. Getting connected with the law makers via email, town hall meetings, personal meetings etc is a great idea. I have approached various media organizations for supporting this cause. They have been very supportive.  Also, we have legal residency papers, many of the dependent spouses are very smart, have good English skills, wanted to be entrepreneurs so why a long wait of 10 – 15 years to get a work permit. If undocumented ‘workers’ can be on the streets for demanding the citizenship why not legal, smart spouses who can be an asset to the US economy? We just want a chance to stand in the line not the US citizenship.

Question: Through the interactions that you have done through your group what are the various mal practices that you have come across which the spouses on a dependent visa have to face while they are trying to set their career in US?

Answer: I am not an IT or a high skilled worker, so I was unaware about work visa complexities. I had tried for writing and communication related jobs, even got selected but declined due to my dependent visa status. I receive a lot of messages from the members especially high skilled work related degree holders that during the time of H1B filing  job consultants openly ask them to fake their resumes by adding false work experience, education etc.  H4 visa holders have been asked to pay for their H1B visa filing fees in cash which is a fraud, only the employer has to pay for the same. Sometimes, they have even asked not to visit their home country while working on a H1B visa because they will be caught during the visa stamping because these shady job consultancies don’t provide proper paper work.

Question: What are the various protection laws that according to you all spouses on dependent visa should be aware of?
Answer: Domestic violence and abuse is another major issue. I receive so many messages from H4 visa holders about the same. Few months back, even a member of my group stayed at my place. She was in bad shape because she was badly abused by her highly skilled Phd holder husband who works with a reputed US based company. Now days, many H1B workers are filing divorce in the US and abandoning their H4 visa spouses (especially women) in the US  because many states have no fault divorce law which gets an easy divorce if the couple has not been staying together for six months. They don’t have US passports, no permanent US residency, the marriage has been registered in their native country so why a divorce is filed on a foreign soil? Lot of H4 visa dependents go back and file the case in their native countries. These guys never go back for any case hearing. Dependents don’t have money to hire an attorney in the US. Couples with kids are in a bigger mess. In many cases, the H1B spouse threatens the abused H4 visa spouse to go back to her native country alone or give him a divorce (mutually without alimony) after that she can take the baby. According to the law, an American born kid can be taken by any parent out the states only after the consent other parent.

I want the dependents especially who are facing domestic violence to call 911. That is your best friend. Break your silence because you can only change your situation. U visa is another option but it doesn’t work great for H4 visa dependents. It asks so many proofs to prove the domestic violence, takes so much time, hefty attorney fees etc.  In the meantime, a dependent is not allowed to work. Which is a big question mark?  I think the US doesn’t have any protection law meant for legal H4 visa dependents staying in the US.

Question: Are there any other problems related to those who are on a dependent visa in US?

Answer: Yes. Not only spouses but kids on H4 visa are suffering a lot, who are leaving the US after attaining 21 years of age because of no Green Card. But, the DACA is giving work permits to the kids of illegal workers. Lot of males are suffering as well. We lose our self-confidence, identity and skill set. Several dependent spouses are suffering from mental and physical health problems.

Question: What do you think about volunteering in US while being on a dependent visa?

Answer: H4s can work voluntarily with any non-profit organization or community related non-profit work. They are not allowed to get paid. One can only volunteer for the jobs which are not attached with the pay roll ( eg – If you are volunteering for their IT department and you find other US born workers doing the same job and getting paid, than it’s a fraud) otherwise that organization is committing a fraud because they are using the free services of a H4 visa holder who is also taking off the same employment opportunity from the US born worker. Immigration authorities can also think that a person is getting paid in cash. I came to know from many members that non-profit organizations have exploited them at par by saying that they will file their H1B but in reality they have made them work for many years, applauded their work but never filed a H1B visa. So, be very careful.

Please note: All the information shared about H4 visa is based upon the interaction shared by various H4 visa holders staying the US. Check with an immigration or family base attorney for more clarity about this situation