This week issue of Information Week, which I had in the mail today, had a little news article titled: “Of Green Cards & YouTube”, which caught my attention.
The law firm Cohen & Grigsby published a video on YouTube.com from its May conference discussing immigration laws with employers. The speaker describes a practice that sounds not so nice if taken out of context. The video was pulled from the site after the firm got a letter from the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL).
The Programmers Guild was able save a copy of the video before it was removed. They re-edited it and added text messages and comments to it and then re-published it at YouTube.com again. The video is available below.
The video has been viewed over 160,000 times while I was writing this and over 1,400 comments were made. The comments were mostly garbage that mix-up this case with illegal immigration and industry migration to low labor cost countries.
The video speaks about the PERM (PDF), also known as Labor Certification, which is the first step of the Green Card process for foreign workers who already live and work in the United States and have a valid work authorization via a work visa, such as H-1B or L1. The first step of the PERM requires employers to post a Job Ad in three places to find an U.S. citizen who would qualify for the job. If no qualified U.S. workers respond, an employer can immediately apply for certification.
The lawyer in the video states: that the goal is to find ways to comply with immigration laws and not to find qualified and interested workers at the same time.
This sounds bad, if taken out of context as I mentioned already. I was going through the process myself and can relate to it. I do not agree with using shady methods though, but I also do not agree with how the immigration process is handled right now as well.
What are they talking about here is to speed up the process to acquire a Labor Certification and do not delay or jeopardize it. This is not done because of kindness and love for the employee, at least not primarily, but for very selfish reasons. A foreign worker who works for the company already for some time, often year does so based on a work visa. To acquire a work visa for a foreigner are similar steps necessary as for the Labor Certification and is IMO the right time when it makes the most sense. Why hire somebody from out of the country, if you have domestic workers available and looking for such job?
Now a foreign worker cannot stay forever in the country based on a work visa. The duration of such visas (including extension) is usually five to six years. If the foreign worker wants to stay longer in the country than that, he has to start the immigration process to become a permanent resident (= Green Card).
The company who sponsors a Green Card process is obviously satisfied with the foreign worker and wants him to keep beyond the lifetime of the work visa. The worker qualifies for the job, knows it very well and fits into the organization. If that would not be the case, they would not sponsor the process, period.
They do not want to replace the employee with somebody else and invest time and money into his training to come up to speed and 100% effective and to find out if the person fits into the company or not. The Labor Certification adds some risk that the company might be forced to do that, because of shifts in the job market. Take the job market for web developers and engineers in the Bay Area in 2001, after the DOT COM crash. The end-result for the foreign worker would be horrible as well, because he is forced to leave his newfound home as result of that.
The video talks about ways to reduce that risk for the employer and the worker. I personally do not understand why another Labor Certification is necessary for somebody who qualified already for the work visa earlier. There are no higher skills and education necessary to qualify for the Labor Certification than it is for a work visa, as far as I know.
Well, but this is a complete different issue.
Because of my own issues (or better delays, which are an issue for me) with the U.S. immigration process, did I create a web page that contains useful tips and resources for people who want to start or are in the process of getting a Green Card. My resources are clean and straightforward though.
This was a personal post and unrelated to art, but I thought I have to comment on this.
Carsten aka Roy/SAC