Monday, July 11, 2011

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  • yibornindia
    08-05 12:11 PM
    I need to find out how many people are interested in pursuing this option, since the whole interfiling/PD porting business (based on a year 2000 memo) can seriously undermine the EB2 category.

    I am currently pursuing some initial draft plans with some legal representation, so that a sweeping case may be filed to end this unfair practice. We need to plug this EB3-to-EB2 loophole, if there is any chance to be had for filers who have originally been EB2.

    More than any other initiative, the removal of just this one unfair provision will greatly aid all original EB2 filers. Else, it can be clearly deduced that the massively backlogged EB3 filers will flock over to EB2 and backlog it by 8 years or more.

    I also want to make this issue an action item for all EB2 folks volunteering for IV activities.


    Hey Bro! Think of you this way.

    You are no different than those trying to move from EB3 to EB2. They are doing this to get GC faster then others.

    You are stopping others from entering in your line, to get GC faster. :p

    Ultimately you both are the same.

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  • NKR
    08-06 04:16 PM
    Don't know how you saw that :-)
    I wish, but no! How do you change the id on a post anyway? And if you delete a post it should show as a deleted post shouldn't it? If you know, share the secret, might be of some use :-)))

    ps: Might involve a serious gender change too!

    I thought you ported pascal's id :)

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  • ganguteli
    03-24 03:29 PM

    I can't help asking this.
    I have been following your posts for a while. I know you are quite knowledgeable in immigration.

    But many of your posts indicate you have a bias against Indians. You seem to be going hard against H1B and saying Indians are screwing H1Bs.

    I like to believe you are unbiased. Please let us know.

    Do you disagree about Indians?

    Indians are in majority. Indians do most consulting. Indians did most sub labor. Indians are the ones getting caught in raids. So there is your proof.

    But the problem is USCIS and lawmakers are not interested in solving the problem. They only want to punish. Punishing is not a solution.

    I disagree with UN that enough is being done against illegals or against consulting. If ICE was rounding up illegals every week, you will not be seeing so much illegal problem. Likewise if USCIS was alert on labor substitution, consulting, lawyer-employer nexus, employee abuse, we will not be seeing so much mess.

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  • NKR
    03-25 04:11 PM
    not as easy as you say.
    when you actually sell - you need to get it cleaned - empty and it stays on th block for sometime. about parents - your remark again would be different for different people.
    would you be able to care for yr parents more if you are renting or if you own a house with big bills ?? with renting, you can leave at a day or 2 days notice !! with house - not so easy ! . with renting you can probably stay there for a longer time - if u have a house maybe not. This is another big reason I chose to rent even though someone in India is taking care of the elders. GC matters here too - maybe u can take longer vacations if u have GC and a house. but on EAD --renting seems to be the way :-).
    as for kids - till the age of 5 - 6, apt and house does not really make much difference for kids ..they just need a place to jump / spoil walls / have friends and play in park / school.
    ofcourse the foreclosures and firesale deals may change things - hey if you can get a house for half its cost and if you have the guts / courage to go through the whole thing ..then why not. people need to be careful too ..if people are still staying in the house is a nightmare to remove repos or thru agents would be safer

    Nobody said it is easy mate. If you are paranoid and want to be safe and prepare for the worst case (like getting fired or your 485 getting rejected) then don�t buy a house. It is a long haul and no one knows when his/her PD would become current. By the time one gets GC, the kids would have grown up and missed their childhood. Read my previous 3 posts. My suggestion was for the person who started this thread and for his situation only. I know each and every person�s situation is different. Like I said if I was in CA, probably I would be renting too.


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  • unitednations
    03-24 02:59 PM
    I read your replies and it seems you are ignoring some facts and are forming a one sided opinion.

    -----------------------Not really; i have much more knowledge on this then everyone on these boards. I'm just hesitant of giving very specific examples as it will give some people more information then they need to know.

    - Why did USCIS allow labor substitutions? Why did it take them so long to stop it? Why did they wait until after July 07 to stop it. Were they not allowing people to use this back door and lawyers to make money?

    ------------------labor subsitution issues seemed to be confined to a specific industry, specific people. People thought retrogression was going to go away. Did it go away? Main issue with EB is more people then # of greencards available. It may change the ordering but not the number of people going for greencard.

    - If consulting is a problem, what were they doing in the past few years? What are they doing now? Do you think just a few raids once is enough to stop the problem? Why can't they enforce their own laws so that they punish the companies and not the immigrants.

    ------------------------------------they are your sponsorers. They are the reason why you are here. Without them; you are not here. If they are not following the laws the way uscis wants then they will make it difficult for them. They are going hard after them to directly go after you. Don't you guys understand that?

    - Why is USCIS making paperwork difficult. Why can't the system be simple like Canada or Australia so that we can do our own paperwork? Why are lawyers in the picture?

    -----------------------------Those systems are designed becasue they want people there. USA system is not designed for this. Increasingly; it is becoming apparent that uscis/government is becoming hostile towards immigration. Once; they determine they actually want people here then they'll make it easy.

    - If they find problem in consulting, why are they not going after Tata, Wipro etc. Don't tell me these companies are clean?

    --------------------------------------who says they are not going after them. they are all getting a healty case of denials. Main issue is they are thinking there is fraud in IT. IT is dominated by people from India. Kill staffing companies; then you kill h-1b.

    - Why is USCIS so disorganized without good IT. Do you think other agencies are also same? Do you think USCIS does not have enough money?

    ---------------------------------------Problem is that with the myriads of laws and USCIS discretion in following laws; there is no perfect IT system since much of it is related to adjudicator discretion.

    - Why can't they ban DV lottery? But go after H1Bs. You will say to do that law must be changed. But at least go strict on whom you approve once they are selected in the lottery. Are they not bringing lot of criminals, fanatics, unemployed and uneducated poor through DV.

    -----------------------no idea. I do see that people talk about "highly skilled". There is no definition of "highly skilled" in immigration. Skilled worker is job that requires two years of experience. I bet just about every person coming through DV or family base would meet the definition of skilled worker in employment base sens.

    - Why can't ICE do their job of enforcement and round up illegals. If they were strict we will not have so many illegals or the problem of illegals.

    ----------------------who says they are not. It is just a different perspective of what people think they should go after. Right now DOL is visiting consultants at their end client locations and interviewing them.

    The questions will go on. But you need to step back and think more from the perspective of a applicant waiting for his GC or H1B .

    I was one of you and I mainly deal with many of you guys. Unfortunately, people want to come into this country in many different ways and just because we want to; doesn't mean they are going to let us.

    btw; see --------------------------------for my comments.

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  • senthil1
    04-08 07:28 PM
    Finally anti immigrants will make the immigrants to fight to keep atleast whatever they have it now. If we want EB reform we may have to accept some H1b restrictions. Otherwise get ready for status quo and wait years and years to get gc with same H1b mess as this year. If you ask liberal H1b and liberal GC then you may not get anything. I will be surprised if Strive bill passes without meaningfull H1b reform. The situation is completely different from 1999 or 2000. If they bring multiple anti immigrant bills then everything may be dropped. Best way is to introduce that 50% of hires should be US workers. That will be best bet and that will not have any impact on current H1b holders

    Hi pitha,

    Thanks for posting this info. Could you please share the source of this information?

    None of us should take this bill lightly. There is a saying - "one should never watch sausage or law being made". The guys who vote on the bills, in most instances, don't actually know what they are voting on. Most lawmakers may vote in favor of this bill as the anti-lobby is warpping this bill around a message "this bill is to enhance protections for American workers, so are you going to vote against American workers?" As such most lawmakers could vote in favor of this bill. The current environment is very dangerous where most people watch news in the sound-bites and half of the Senate is running for President. In such an environment, if you ask Obama, Hilary, Dodd, McCain etc., they are all likely to vote in favor of this bill, without going into the nuances and actual implications of this bill. None of these guys would want to be headlines saying something like �Obama is against American Works�. No one will actually care to look at the long term implication of such a bill whereby most of the IT jobs will be outsourced.

    From tomorrow, we should all email and inform everybody that we can, including our employers. What is the direction from IV core? We are all waiting for the matching orders��.


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  • django.stone
    06-26 07:13 PM
    as you can see in this chart, 1940 was the lowest point in house values, so obviously the number looks good, but in reality, house prices never increase until the recent crazy buying by financially clueless and greedy

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  • walking_dude
    10-01 11:11 AM
    I agree to point (1) for both Obama and McCain. Chances of them happening are very high. I, however, disagree with point (2) for both of them.

    A bill similar to HR5882 can be added to CIR as an amendment (like the Cornyn-Cantwell amendment to CIR2007, which unfortunately didn't get voted on as the CIR died!). Most of the CIR backers like Hispanic caucus or Sen Menedez aren't opposed to EB increases/recaptures as such, but have prevented the passage to make pro-business Republicans make concession toward legalization. If Legalization passes through, they are unlikely to stand in our way.

    On the other hand, anti-immigrant groups such as FAIR, CIS etc. oppose us as much as they oppose legalization ( according to their bizzaro definition every immigrant is illegal). They will oppose stand-alone bills such as HR 5882 as much as they oppose the CIR . Infact it was filibustering by Repubs such as Steve King and Smith - who are sympathetic to these groups - that killed our bill.

    CIR + our EB ammendments will face only opposition from anti-immigrants, where as Hispanic Congressmen and CIR backers will be supporting our bills as well, where as EB-only bill face the ire of both anti-immigrants as well as the CIR backers and the powerful Hispanic caucus. That's the lesson we should learn from the failures of this year.

    Focus may be on Economy, but Immigration cannot be ignored due to political considerations. If there is a democratic senate, democratic House and democratic President - Hispanic lawmakers will not let them rest, until they get the CIR on the floor.

    IMO, our focus should be to find the EB-killer clauses in the CIR, get them ammended, and add our bills as ammendments to CIR. And not to oppose it in favor of highly-unlikely-to-pass piecemeal legislation.

    If Obama becomes Prez

    1)Sen. Durbin will play major role in immigration policy which may take us to Stone Age.
    2)CIR is only resolution for the immigration ( Bills like HR 5882 will go away)

    If McCain becomes Prez

    1)Anti �immigrant lobbyist will take center stage and will not allow CIR to pass through
    2)Smaller measures like HR 5882 will have chances to pass through

    This is my opinion and it may differ from others. Its like catch 22, I have very little hope on either of them, more over based on the current economic situation. whoever the prez their focus will be on fixing the economy rather than immigration - my 2 cents


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  • lfwf
    08-05 03:53 PM
    If that's the law then there is not much of a debate here!

    I think admin should close the thread as the point of a lawsuit is moot.

    Of course porting is derived from law!
    As I was pointing out earlier, this debate has become warperd. The question is about porting with BS+5, not porting per se. I believe the BS+5 came from a legacy INS memo after a lawsuit or something. Perhaps we should ask the question on one of the attorney forums.

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  • sledge_hammer
    03-24 02:17 PM
    Again, I am not the one you should be asking to define "full-time" and "temp" type jobs. Ask USCIS or DOL or whoever is going to adjudicate your green card.

    I am simply saying that if USCIS has made a distinction between perm job and temp job, AND if they feel that consulting job is of temp type, someone along the line has dropped the ball and missed this. They also missed the fact that the employee needs to work at the LCA specified location. They also missed (or circumvented) that benching is not allowed.

    You can blame anyone and everyone for it. Maybe the immigration attorneys were the ones that should have warned both the employers and employees that consulting jobs do not fit the H-1B requirement. Maybe USCIS was sleeping all the while and suddenly they decided to start enforcing this. But the fact that they can ALL-OF-A-SUDDEN claim that H-1B visa is for permanent jobs only, AND that employees need to stay in the LCA location means that our lawyers, employers, and employees were incompetent in their judgment and did not do their due diligence to protect against potential audits and queries.
    I am telling you the same thing I told the other guy .... you don't need to give me justifications.

    Just hope that USCIS will buy your story!


    Why don't you define what a "permanent" job is ?
    You think FT job is a permanent job and consulting is a temporary job ? I don't think so.

    There are consultants working for years in a consulting firm. ( Don't bring H1B into the picture) . There are many FT employees being laid off from companies before contractors are let go. Contractors are temporary from a client's perspective not from the sponsoring employer's perspective.

    Try to define a permanent vs temporary job in US without bringing H1B into the picture.


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  • Macaca
    12-27 06:39 PM
    Onions vs. Corruption on the Outrage Scale ( By Rupa Subramanya Dehejia | IndiaRealTime

    Are we a democracy in name only? Is the Indian electorate apathetic? Why aren�t people marching in the streets protesting the recent spate of corruption scams?

    Well, OK, some marched last Wednesday as the BJP sponsored demonstrations against corruption in the major metros. But it was hardly a spontaneous and large-scale outpouring of popular disaffection. And it was rather late at that.

    While India�s political classes and the English speaking elite are working themselves into a rhetorical frenzy over the succession of scandals that have beset the United Progressive Alliance government, contrast this to the apparent complete lack of engagement by the common man. While most Indian commentary has focused on the political intrigue within Delhi, Paul Beckett in the WSJ remarked on the fact that �this is the sort of event that in a less apathetic democracy would lead to genuinely convulsive outrage.�

    At least every five years, India is a vibrant democracy, with a high participation rate and a robust tendency to punish incumbents who perform poorly, even more so than in most Western democracies. But why do we become so lethargic in between? Where are the convulsions that we surely should be seeing?

    Recently, I�ve been posing this question to just about everyone I meet from Mumbai taxi drivers, construction crew in the neighboring apartment, Twitter followers, and whomever else I can buttonhole. Some professed no interest, saying that all of their energy and time are occupied by putting food on the table. Others expressed a sense of helplessness: �I�m a day laborer barely making ends meet; how can I influence what these big politicians do? Who will listen to me?�

    This sense of resignation needs to be questioned. If common folk felt that helpless, why would they bother to vote in such large numbers and turf out politicians they don�t like every time an election comes around? As the recent state election in Bihar demonstrates, voters are quite prepared to reward good governance and punish grandstanding populism. Clearly, as an electorate, we�re responsive and agile when we want to be.

    So what�s going on?

    One hypothesis is that people largely see this as political theater. So long as the economy is booming and there�s no direct impact on their pocketbook, it�s business as usual. Let�s not forget when existential questions such as land acquisition or the price of staples are at issue, we do see the common man coming out on the streets and expressing his displeasure, forcing governments to react. Witness the recent uproar over the price of onions.

    The estimated $40 billion loss to the exchequer from selling the 2G spectrum below its value is money not spent on electrifying Indian towns and villages, building schools and hospitals, etc. Why don�t people see it this way? It is not merely a �presumptive� loss as Kapil Sabil contended to Barkha Dutt on NDTV recently but a real economic loss. After all, a rupee not earned is a rupee wasted.

    Another reason could be that two-thirds of the people are poor and don�t pay much in the way of income taxes. Perhaps they don�t see the recent scams as costing them. Contrast this to the West where every allegation of government money misused is widely portrayed as a waste of taxpayers� money and galvanizes opposition. In India, the bulk of the tax base is rich individuals and corporations who, as we should expect, are the ones who�ve been screaming loudest about the recent scandals.

    A related explanation may be that there�s been a failure by the opposition parties in articulating the cost to the common man of these various scams. Broad and sweeping condemnations of corruption don�t speak directly to the fact that the money lost could have been used for productive social ends. The talking heads on cable news channels and the pundits in print seem so caught up in the minute details of parliamentary and judicial procedures that they miss the forest for the trees.

    The crux of the matter is this: government strategists have presumably deduced that none of these recent scams will be consequential at the polls. What animates the common man is not television debates between Anglicized lawyers who use fancy words but fundamental issues such as food, water and land. Despite all of our economic progress, there remains a fundamental divide between the interests of the urban middle and upper classes and of the poor, whether urban or rural.

    Until that changes, the price of onions will always be politically more salient than whatever corruption scandal is making headlines, and will dictate electoral fortunes.

    Do you agree? Share your thoughts in the Comments section.

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  • alterego
    11-11 10:50 PM
    Americans are fair minded for the most part. They saw the propoganda of the far right for what it was. This election did not tilt on immigration, but on other issues. However the fact that the conservatives got zero traction from their hard line approach implies that the country was looking for a more comprehensive solution.
    I think that the american public does want secure borders and to some extent is unhappy with the status quo on the border. However they are also cognisant of the fact that immigrant labour benefits them and their lifestyles tremendously. They by and large do not favour a get tough only policy. They could easily embrace a policy where hardworking people can "earn their way" into the kingdom. Bipartisanship will perhaps show the way forward. Imagine those guys like Sensenbrenner,Tancredo would not even negotiate with the Senate or allow anything pro any kind of immigration to a general house vote taking advantage of their majority position by their "majority of the majority rule". They even actively stripped legal immigration provisions in conference last year. As for Sensenbrenner and his types. Lets see how much they enjoy being in the "minority of the minority" now, I guess the bulldog that chewed out the senators and cleaned his teeth with their bones is now but a mere poodle in the room! Gotta love elections in a democracy.


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  • validIV
    06-25 02:37 PM
    And according to your theory, renting is a better investment? Throwing your money away is a good investment to you? Then I don't think we are on the same page.

    There are many homeowners who are underwater but not foreclosed. That does not make it a good investment. All I'm pointing out is unless your property's rent covers your monthly mortgage+property tax+insurance+maintenance and upkeep it can not be called a good investment. You should have positive (at least non negative) cash flow out of your rental properties. Is this a general case? I think not. At least in my area I'm 100% sure rent does not cover mortgage and the difference between the two is significant.

    If you have a negative cash flow on your rental properties then the only thing you are betting on is price appreciation of your properties (above inflation) in future which is speculation again.

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  • lost_in_migration
    04-07 08:22 PM
    The point missed here is most of us have our GC applications pending at a stage in which we cannot change employers... If we had our GCs we didn't had to worry about this bill ..and a lot of things :(

    I am not sure why we are worrying about this bill. This makes restrictions on Consulting companies, so what Clients won't be able to find people, so they do hire people as full time instead of temporary consulting position. That is good for us we can find more full time positions from client it self. I even heard that this bill makes sure H1B are paid by market rates instead of DOL wages which are often very less than market value. Good thing for us the staring salaries would be at higher rate than present rates. This bill is bad for consulting companies but good for us. Am i missing any thing here??


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  • Pineapple
    12-24 04:31 PM
    Dude, I have donated over $ 1000 to IV so far, and participated in every campaign, and made enough calls to give me blisters, all without seeking attention or green dots. Next please?

    I think you and many others like you didn't want to go in the first place. You are just inventing an excuse.
    There are other threads on this forum, this is not a good excuse. If you don't like this thread, don't bother reading it. Its really simple.

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  • qasleuth
    06-05 03:09 PM
    Yeah, but why do you have to BUY that house to live in it if in the same neighbor hood same or similar house can be rented at much lower price?

    Kids can still play and enjoy the sprinklers and you can still enjoy your beer. Isn't it?

    don't think the rent will be much lower than paying the mortgage, it is true atleast in the city where I live. For example: If I am paying a mortgage of $1200 and the rental of an equivalent is $ 900, the $300 difference you get back in tax refund at the end of the year. So why pay rent when I can buy a house and do whatever I want to with it ?

    Infact we have attached a sense of pride in owning even if we can't afford it. I am not talking about you but in general. People bought 700K houses in 100K salary. And this is a VERY good salary but it still can't afford a 700K house!

    Where I live, the median house price is 200,000. I bought a house which is lower than the median and when the market was on the downward trend (september 2006). If you look at the post I quoted, you would notice that I am not subscribing to the crazies who bought houses with the example dollar amounts you gave. If you know your limits and do 2 hours of internet research, then the person probably will make a much better decision. The information and warning signs were there everywhere starting 2005, if people chose to ignore and got burned then shame on them.


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  • chmur
    09-30 09:31 PM
    he is going to delay my GC further. Simple .I cannot vote but I would rather give my money to McCain if he is a better help in getting GC faster or atleast does not delay it any further.

    I am surprised at the arguments like "I know Obama will hamper our GC further but he is such good talker that my kids future will be safe "

    At best Obama will turn out yet another democrat pres . I doubt if he can match Clinton ...he will be more on Carter lines. Either way I could,nt care less.

    I guess it's time we focus only on our selfish needs ..which is GC ....why would something else be important in next 4 years for this community ...nothing else should matter ...

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  • lfwf
    08-05 03:17 PM
    So why are those of us not in IT suffering the consequences of this?
    Jobs in my field are pretty well defined so all this crap that is being said on thsi thread is really surprising to me.

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  • ghost
    07-17 11:00 AM

    We, members of IV who are on H-1B visas, can bring our spouses and children with full rights to travel. Family members are NOT counted in the quota for H-1B. Spouses cannot work as their status is dependent (H-4).

    Our agenda is to resolve the Green Card Queue. People are waiting in the queue since 2001. The current status of queue can be found at: (Look under the employment based numbers)

    We do not mind waiting in the queue until we get the Green Card. The problem is that the Green Card process is currently Employer-Centric. In the sense, once the GC process is initiated (Let's say Microsoft), the employee has to stick with Microsoft until the Green Card is approved.

    Even worse, we cannot get an official promotion during the wait as this will result in starting the GC process from scratch and inadvertantly sends their application to the end of the queue. Imagine Skilled Labor (people with BS, MS and PhD degrees in Science and Math) who are waiting in the queue for more than 5 years with out an official promotion and at employer's mercy.

    The employer precisely knows that the employee is stuck with their firm until they get their GC and they can conveniently ignore our professional growth (pay raise, promotion, etc). Make no mistake:rolleyes: , on the record they always sympathize our plight but they will not do anything about it. They always want more H-1B numbers but not GC numbers. Talk about employer exploitation.

    IV wants to make the GC process employee-centric so that the employers do not exploit the skilled labor.

    The problem of mis-match between H-1B numbers and GC numbers is created because of the disconnect between two programs. H-1B numbers do not have country limits where as GC numbers have a country limit.

    For example, let's assume that out of the current 65000 H-1B visas, 25000 are from India and 25000 are from China (First come first served basis) and the remaining 15000 are from the Rest of the World. However, the GC numbers have a country limit: 10000 for India, 10000 for China, etc. This results in a queue that will only increase with more H-1B numbers and a disconnected GC program.

    IV members are not against H-1B program (we are here on this program) but at the same time the H-1B increase is not our agenda (we leave it to the exploitant employers who lobby for it). We want to make the GC process employee-centric so as to stop the employer-exploitation and not hinder our professional growth.

    I am not aware of AFL-CIO/Programmers Guild agenda but my understanding was that they want to completely shut-down the H-1B program instead of reforming it. The bottom line is there aren't enough American Citizens who have advanced science and math degrees. So, we need a H-1B program. How to make this program more effective and less exploitative is debatable.

    This thread is very interesting to me. I've kind of lived though both sides, and it is really aweful for everyone but the abusive employer.

    My understanding of Immigration Voice's agenda is that this group is really for people who have H1B visas and are in the country already to bring their spouses and children here with full rights to travel and work, make sure renewals of H1Bs happen so you can stay in the country, and, even better, to convert H1B visas to green cards.

    My understanding is that the only reason that Immigration Voice supports increased H1B visa numbers is because people whose current visas are about to expire, and family members, are counted in these same numbers.

    Please correct if I'm wrong. I really would like to get this right.

    Anyway, if I do have it right, it seems to me that the AFL-CIO position (give people green cards instead of H1B visas) bridges the core concerns of members of Immigration Voice and the Programmers Guild. Whether or not everybody recognizes this is a different story, but it is good to know where the overlapping concern is, and hopefully in long term, get people talking about a solution that really does try to bridge the gap.

    05-30 05:44 PM
    What Will It Take for Companies to Unlock Their Cash Hoards? ( By JASON ZWEIG | Wall Street Journal

    There is a cash crisis in corporate America�although it comes not from a shortage of the stuff, but from a surplus.

    In the first quarter, the five companies with the greatest cash hoards�Microsoft, Cisco Systems, Google, Apple and Johnson & Johnson�added $15 billion in cash and marketable securities to their balance sheets. Microsoft alone packed away roughly $9 billion, or $100 million a day. All told, the companies in the Standard & Poor's 500-stock index are sitting on more than $960 billion in cash, a record.

    To be sure, at many companies the cash piling up is at global operations that generate "undistributed foreign earnings" that can't be brought home, under U.S. law, without incurring taxes of up to 35%. But hundreds of billions in cash remain available�and idle.

    Meanwhile, the payout ratio�the proportion of earnings paid out as dividend income to shareholders�fell to 28.9% for the past four quarters. That, says S&P senior index analyst Howard Silverblatt, is the lowest level since 1936. Dividends are going up�Intel, UnitedHealth Group and WellPoint have recently raised them�but cash is still piling up far faster than most industrial giants can possibly find a prudent use for it. Of course, investors themselves might have a better use for the cash, if they could get at it.

    As Daniel Peris, co-manager of the Federated Strategic Value Dividend fund, says, "The likelihood of spending money poorly is increased by having a surplus of it."

    Microsoft's purchase price for the online telecommunications firm Skype, widely criticized as too rich at $8.5 billion, almost precisely matches the amount of cash that Microsoft raked in last quarter. Was that torrent of cash burning a hole in Microsoft's pocket?

    "No way," says Bill Koefoed, general manager of investor relations at Microsoft. "We see this as being a very strategic acquisition."

    The heart of the problem, as the great investor Benjamin Graham pointed out decades ago, is that the best interests of corporate management and outside investors are at odds. That is especially true for giant companies whose growth has been slowing. "The more dubious the company's prospects�the more anxious management is to retain all the cash it can in the business," Graham wrote. "But the stockholders would be well advised to take out all the capital that can be safely spared, because these funds are much more valuable to them if in their own pockets, or invested elsewhere."

    Amnesia is another culprit. In the past, companies paid out vastly more of their profits as dividends, and they should again. "If there were a greater historical sensibility among investors and managers," Mr. Peris says, today's low payouts "would be called out as an abnormal situation that's likely to lead to that money being less well-spent than it otherwise might be."

    Dividends have gotten short shrift in recent years as investors have come to favor companies that instead use cash surpluses to buy back their shares. Meanwhile, with the economic recovery barely out of the sickbed, many companies are reluctant to invest heavily in expansion. Others want to keep cash handy for potential acquisitions. So cash sits idle�even as interest rates, after inflation, are so low that cash often produces negative real returns.

    Benjamin Graham made three simple proposals in 1951 that deserve to be revived.

    First, investors need to realize that a company's cash is a valuable asset, even when interest rates are low; if management won't put it to good use, investors must speak up. As Graham wrote: "When the results on capital are unsatisfactory, it is appropriate for stockholders to�insist that it be returned to stockholders on an equitable basis."

    Second, companies should set formal dividend policies. Rather than paying or raising dividends out of the blue, they should state in advance what proportion of earnings they expect to pay out as cash dividends. If, instead, they plan to use excess cash to buy back shares, they should offer hard evidence that the stock is undervalued.

    Finally, Graham advocated that leading companies should pay out two-thirds of their earnings as dividends. That rate isn't as radical as it might sound, even though it would amount to more than a doubling from today's levels. The dividend payout, as a percentage of total profits, has averaged 52.3% since 1936 and 46% over the past two decades, according to Standard & Poor's.

    If the companies in the S&P 500 raised their payout ratio to 50%, Mr. Silverblatt estimates, that would put an extra $207 billion into investors' pockets�at a time when shareholders' dividend income is taxed at historically low rates.

    "Companies are basically earning more than they've ever made before, but their payouts are nowhere near that high," says Mr. Silverblatt. "They're holding their cash really tight. You can call them Scrooges if you want."

    A Generation of Slackers? Not So Much ( By CATHERINE RAMPELL | The New York Times
    Made in America: Manufacturing Jobs Are Coming Home ( By Patrick Smith | Fiscal Times

    another one
    12-18 08:59 AM
    Nobody came to Kasab's house and killed his brothers and sisters, yet he went on to become a terrorist. It is very easy to stop rational thought and breed hatred. It is loose thinking like yours that perpetuates terrorism. There are injustices all over the world, yet not everyone goes on a spree killing inncoent people.

    be it Palestine, Iraq, Afghanistan Somalia,Darfur,Chechnya, Kashmir, Gujarat... everywhere muslims are killed for being muslims...noone goes to cuba,srilanka,north korea,zimbawe or whereever for watever reason...just imagine God forbid someone comes into your house, occupies it, kills your family, your brothers and sisters in front of you and kicks you out of your home and you are seeing no hope of justice... you wont stand outside your home sending flowers like munna bhai's gandhigiri.. trust me you will become a terrorist.

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