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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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

LinkedIn, an Opportunity for Career success

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If you don’t have a LinkedIn account, you are missing something important. Learn here why LinkedIn is important for your career these days. Let’s first understand the basic definition of LinkedIn. LinkedIn is a social networking site used for professional networking. LinkedIn have huge database of professional and its members use it for professional networking, online connection and job search. Users can send invite to other professionals to connect with them.

As per Forbes “LinkedIn is, far and away, the most advantageous social networking tool available to job seekers and business professionals today”. LinkedIn has more than 200 million users in over 200 countries and territories around the world.  United States alone has the largest member base with over 74 million users. That’s why it is important to have a LinkedIn profile.

It not only helps in job search but helps you to get referrals through your professional networks. You will be surprised to know that 77% of all job openings are actually posted on LinkedIn and 48% of all job openings posted on LinkedIn are not posted anywhere else. Most of the HR professionals and recruiters use LinkedIn. Now you probably know how important it is to have a LinkedIn profile so that employers can easily find you.

Creating an account in LinkedIn is easy and user friendly. It is imperative to have a profile photo to expand your connection as people will find you genuine. When you become familiar with using LinkedIn, join some of the groups on areas of your interest. You can grow your connection through this, as well as can share ideas and comments with members of the group.

It is also important to be active on LinkedIn through regular status updates showcasing your skills and knowledge about your field as it will give a positive impression to the employers. Try not to post an update which relates to your personal life or anything unprofessional as status updates will be visible on the home pages of your connection. Your updates should be general, positive and professional.

If you have a blog site, you can connect the link of your blog on your professional LinkedIn home page. It is a good way to promote your blog among your connections and build your personal brand. With a well written blog, you can demonstrate your expertise and it will also enhance your LinkedIn profile.

Nowadays prospective employers always look up online for candidate profile and LinkedIn profile rank high in search results. So, you can ensure that people looking for you will find all the information that you want them to see.  Make sure to complete your profile with complete information about your skills, awards, training, education and other relevant information.

If you need any help in building your LinkedIn profile, you can contact us at career.transit@gmail.com.

I have an accent when I speak English

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One of our Prof at Harvard University said in his first class to the students from different countries,  “If you have an accent, that tells me that you know more than one language”.  It is his way to motivate the students from other countries to not feel shy while asking questions in class.

Through this blog we want to advice our immigrant readers to not hesitate while communicating in English even if you know little English. The barrier between you and English will widen if you will hold back from communicating in English. In fact it is applicable for any language. If you happen to be in a different country and know a bit of the language spoken there then don’t feel shy to converse in their language. You will be amazed to find out that people will be happy to help you and they will understand that you are in the learning phase and will appreciate your effort.

If you will try to talk in English, it will certainly improve your English. Also, when you will go out in public, you will realize that there are many people in US who ride in the same boat as you. You will find lot of people struggle with English but they do not hesitate to converse and very well manage in making the other person understand what they want to convey. Remember language is the basis of any conversation. You cannot socialize, do your business or even  make friends if you do not know the language. So, it is important to learn the language.

There are various available options through which you can improve your English. If you will search on the internet with “English as a Second Language” and your city name, you will get many available options in your city.

In many US cities there are Centers for Adult Education. Most of them have classes to learn English. You can search on the net for the center nearest to you. YMCA also runs English classes.

ELS has 33 centers in US.  The website link is: http://www.els.edu/en/DiscoverELS

We came across a site which we find very useful in learning English from very basic. It is easy to use even for those who are not very tech savvy. Here is the link: http://www.usalearns.org

If none of these options work for you, then look for a study buddy near you. A study buddy will be another person who wants to improve English and you both can study together. This will not only make you focused but you both can also practice speaking English together.

Amitabh Bachhan, a very famous bollywood superstar, in a super hit movie once said that “English is a very funny language”. So go..Have fun!

Have you ever thought of writing a blog?

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Blog is a personal website or webpage where an individual updates his/her opinion on regular basis. It has become very popular over the past few years. It is a great platform for an individual to share their expertise on specific topics. Over the years it has turned out to be one of the greatest assets for many individuals.

It certainly is one of the best ways for dependent spouses to build their personal brand which in turn would help them get noticed in their job search. Through blogging, you can market yourself to your prospective employer. In “About Me” section of the blog, you can give brief introduction about your qualifications, professional experiences, skill sets, etc. This page could be your online resume and if you follow a dedicated routine of posting the blog, it would show also your prospective employer that you are organized and structured.

Strong verbal and written communication skills are required selection criteria for most of the employer. Through blog, you can improve your writing skills. If you will post your blog on regular basis, you will certainly improve in your writing, grammar and research skills. These skills play very important role in any professional career.

Networking plays an important role in job search and blogging is also one of the great networking tools. You will meet new people who share the same interests as you which in turn would grow your professional network. Writing a blog would also help in building identity on social platforms by providing an RSS feed to a Twitter account, LinkedIn profile etc. Social networking sites are also powerful networking tools. This would also multiply the chances of being noticed by your prospective employer.

 Blogging also helps in earning money. There are several ways to monetize through blogging.  Google Adsense program is one of them. It is a great program for bloggers, as they can display ads in their blog site and earn money from the number of clicks over these ads from their visitors.

 You can blog about the knowledge gained from your career/education/experience so far. However, it is not necessary that your blog needs to be career related. You can write a blog on anything. If you like travelling, write one blog on each city/tourist attraction you visit. If you like photography, food, dance, drama, etc., you can also share your experience through blog. Initially, you might face some issues but once you start writing, you will start enjoying it as writing gives a structure and direction to the random thoughts that come to your mind.

It’s also important to note that running a successful blog takes lot of dedication, time, perseverance and hard work. Success does not happen overnight. If you will write out of passion and dedication, then the success, fame and money are bound to happen. Celebrate every small achievement of your blog like every new follower, new like or comment, and use it to move to the next step. It certainly needs lot of effort but in the end the reward could be a step closer to your dream career. So, why not start a blog today.

Standout Cover Letter Gets Your Resume Noticed

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Have you ever wondered why cover letter with resume is particularly important? Should it be sent with the resume even when it is not asked by company?  Do you really need a cover letter while applying for a job? These are few questions which come to mind while sending an application for a job opening.  If you are still unsure about it, learn here the importance of cover letter and how to write an effective one.

First of all, what is a cover letter? Cover letter is a document which you send with your resume to provide additional information on your skills and experience. It basically provides detailed information on why you are fit for the particular job and reasons for your interest in specific organization. It is an opportunity to prove how your skills and experience match with the potential employer’s requirement. Mostly employer receives hundreds of application in response for an open position and a well-written cover letter with resume will distinguish your application.

Your cover letter should be concise but say enough to make a good impression on a prospective employer. It should be one page containing three or four paragraphs. State clearly in your opening sentence the reason for writing the letter. Then use the rest of the letter to support your candidacy. It’s an opportunity to showcase to potential employer why you are a strong candidate and how they can benefit from hiring you by mentioning about your qualifications and achievements, giving examples of work experiences to support your claims and mentioning knowledge of the organization. You should always try to write to a specific individual and include their job title. Do not address your letter to “Dear Sir or Madam.”

It is important to ask somebody to check your grammar, spelling and style as reader will view your letter as a sample of your writing skills.

Here is the general guideline for a cover letter

Your Name
Complete Address
Date
 
Ms Employer’s Name
Vice President
XYZ Company
Complete Address
 

Dear Ms Employer (Address it to a specific Individual)

First Paragraph: Tell why you are writing, name the position or field, in which you are interested, and how you heard of the open position or organization. In a sentence or two express how this position fits with your current career goals or how your unique skills or experience can be beneficial for this open position.

Second Paragraph:  Explain why you are interested in the company (mention some facts about the company) and mention reasons for your interest in this particular job profile. If you have related experience, education or specialized training make sure to highlight it. If you are applying to an ad, it is recommended to use key words (skills, abilities) mentioned in the job description. Emphasize on specific skills, abilities you have with examples that relate to the job. Refer the reader to the enclosed resume, which will give additional information of your qualifications and achievements.

Last Paragraph: Make sure your closing is not passive. Mention about your desire for an interview and you may write that you will follow up in a week or so to request an appointment. Pave the way for a specific action from the reader likely.

Sincerely

Your Name

It is important to do some research on the company before you start writing your cover letter. Many companies on their website have a section ‘Our employees’ or a similar one. In this section they demonstrate the values their employees have and the culture of the company. Among those values, look for the ones that you have and try to demonstrate them in your cover letter. It’s important to personalize your cover letter specific to the job and company you’re applying to and try to make the best use of cover letter by describing additional details which have not been mentioned into single page of your resume.

Reference: Career Development Handbook- MIT

Why your resume isn’t helping you to get interview calls?

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Resume Tips

Your resume is the first step to a successful job search and may also be your first chance to make an impression on any recruiter. Hence, it is important to work on your resume format first before looking for a job. Different countries have different resume styles. If you are planning to secure a job in the US, it is important to customize your resume accordingly. Your resume should entail a concise summary of the high points in your education, work experience, skills and other qualifications.

Resume Format

Your resume should not exceed the page limit of one page, single sided.  You can extend the length to two pages only if you have extensive experience (10+ years). Make your resume on 8.5”x 11” paper with 0.5- 1 inch margins on all sides and font size should be 10-12 points. It is safe to use a conservative font, such as Arial or Times New Roman. Usually a recruiter will take between 10-15 seconds to scan your resume so make sure you leave sufficient space to make the page easy to scan.

Resume Content

At the top of the page, put your name, address and phone number. Do not include personal information such as age, gender, marital and health status. It is illegal for recruiters to seek this information in the US. Avoid writing, ‘references are available upon request’. Employers assume that you will provide the information when needed. Back your experience and how you contributed to your organizational goals by citing numbers for example, size and/or scale of projects, budgeting, staff etc. Education and work experience should be ordered chronologically with the most recent at the top. Education should include information about all post secondary institutions attended, degree received along with the dates attended. Work experience should include information about organization name, location, title and duration. At the end of your resume, you are encouraged to add a section about your accomplishments such as honors, awards, foreign languages and relevant skills.

Resume Style

It is strongly recommended not to use first person, I, or any pronouns. Instead use action verbs and strong adjectives to catch the attention of the recruiter. For e.g., Developed and conducted stay and exit interview for 300 shop floor employees. Few examples of action verbs are; analyzed, coordinated, supervised, designed, programmed etc. Try to leave out unnecessary words, sentences, and phrases such as “Responsibilities included/Roles/Hired to. Proofread to eliminate all spelling, punctuation, and grammatical errors and also use an English (United States) spell check program.

Tailor Your Resume

Tailor your resume according to the job description. Different jobs have different requirements therefore it is imperative to customize your resume according to the position you are looking for. Try to emphasize on the specific skills required for that particular job. Nowadays, some companies select candidates through online resume scanning technology. They use specific keywords to identify candidates so try and use as many of those necessary words. You can speculate keywords through job requirements and responsibilities.

Reference: Career Development Handbook- MIT

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