Guest worker program-more backlogs
Sorry, I am going to have a moan, then try to do something about it!
I am sick and tired of every time I watch the news at Bush going on about how he wants to introduce the Guest Worker Program. The truth of the matter is America cannot do without these workers, and its all about getting more tax dollars for Uncle Sam
Can you imagine if the DOS/USCIS have to start to document these 12 million ilegals, what hope will there be for the rest of us
Staff will be directed to work on this leaving us all (Decent legals) with further dealys, errors and even more backlogs!
Right, I will start calling the news channels. Any offers of help?
Have a great day
I understand your feelings. Things look pretty grim. We saw Siva on NBC today and that was positive.
how about if we send our faxes (bulk faxes) to NPR, NBC, ABC, CNN, Washington Post, NY times etc.
I shoot essays and letters to editors on my own accord from time to time. So far I have sent essays and letter to all the above mentioned at least a couple of times. No effect - but will keep doing the same irrespective of the result.
We just cannot afford to stay put anymore or our cases will be put away for a long long time.
Agree with you. Its going to not only increase backlogs, but also make the work of the USCIS more complicated.
My analysis of the Guest Worker program(Its a month old, so excuse any anomalies)...For leisure reading:
DISCLAIMER: The following is based on my analysis of the GWP and contains my opinions only, and is not from any news source.
The current discussion of guest worker programs has been prompted, in part, by the continued high levels of illegal, or unauthorized, immigration to the United States and related deaths along the U.S.-Mexican border. Analyses based on data from the Current Population Survey (CPS) and other sources estimate that the unauthorized resident alien population totaled 9.3 million in March 2002 and 10.3 million in March 2004,
Between 2000 and 2004, this population grew at an average annual rate of about 485,000 per year. DHS has not published a recent estimate of the unauthorized alien population.
USCIS estimated that in January 2000 there were about 7.0 million unauthorized aliens residing in the United States based on data from the 2000 census of the U.S. population and other sources.
Mexico remains the largest source country for unauthorized immigration.
According to the recent estimates, the unauthorized Mexican population was about 5.3 million in 2002 and about 5.9 million in 2004, in both cases comprising 57% of the corresponding total unauthorized population. 1
Impact on USCIS’s affiliate agencies
As is with other "dual-intent work permits" 2 such as the H1 visa program, it is likely that employers will have to demonstrate that an American with minimal qualifications cannot fill in the job opening. This process, filed with the Dept. of Labor called Labor Condition Approval currently takes around 6 months. The Labor Condition Application ("LCA") requires the employer to certify through the U.S. Department of Labor that the wage that will be paid to the employee is a fair and equitable wage in the region. This process is meant to ensure that international workers do not undercut U.S. workers and also protects international workers from being exploited. The employer also agrees to abide by fair and legal labor practices. 3
The DoL might institute a "premium processing" fee to get this done faster, as it is done for H1 work permits currently.
If the GW program indeed requires a Labor Certification, the DoL will need to expand or open a separate wing, or it will have to greatly simplify its filing procedures. It is assumed that employers hiring guest workers with blue-collar skills are not large organizations, and hence may not have the resources or the knowledge to follow arduous procedures, or spend thousands of dollars in attorney fees.
Impact on employers
There could be different types of fallouts.
As discussed earlier, smaller employers might shy away from hiring undocumented (converted into guest) workers due to the arduous process they will have to follow, and stop hiring undocumented workers altogether. Note that undocumented workers are mostly in menial jobs such as janitorial services, gardening, construction work, etc., (referred to as "blue collar" jobs henceforth). These smaller employers might also fear retribution by the Government, unless they are offered a waiver for having hired undocumented workers.
These smaller employers will have to then institute better wages, and benefits plans, which may not turn out to be as effective, if they were to just continue with undocumented workers.
Larger employers say the likes of Wal*Mart4, will welcome this move because they have the resources and capital to initiate mass hiring activities.
Employers may utilize unscrupulous means to get hire such workers. One article5 suggests "To make the program truly “temporary,” H-1B visas should be limited to one non-renewable three-year term.", though it refers to the H-1 program. The same applies to the new GW program. From the President's news release, GW applicants can pursue their permanent residence processing (green card) as other applicants would normally do. This also would increase the workload for permanent residence processing on the USCIS, as several applicants will file for green cards.
Impact on USCIS :
To say that the USCIS is currently busting at the seams would be an understatement. If labor condition approval (LCA) is required, the USCIS will process applications only after successful completion of the LCA.
The USCIS will need to ideally expand its operations (may be create a separate wing) to cater to the GW program due to the sheer volume of potential applicants. There could be additional overheads on the FBI (fingerprinting) and the CIA (name checks) that will only add to the cycle time.
Will this increase the number of applicants?: The new program may encourage undocumented workers to acquire work through unscrupulous means ("buy work back from their employers"). Large employers will advertise job-openings in other countries. Some may even “hawk” job openings. Needless to say, it will also increase the number of workers coming into the country, who would have otherwise entered without inspection (meaning "illegally").
How many undocumented aliens to consider?: In order for the program to work successfully, a cut-off date (alien must have been present in the US before a certain date to avail of the program) as well as an annual “cap” must be established to ensure that this does not become a "normal" route for new contenders.
Additional paperwork and workload: The encouraging news on the misuse of the H and the L programs is that the USCIS has become more stringent in the last 2 years. The burden lies on the beneficiary (applicant) and the petitioner (employer) that he/she possesses the right skills and has undergone the right training.
Career Changes and Portability: This may not be as stringent for the GW program. Will the USCIS expect a janitor to remain a janitor through the 6 years granted on the GW program? Its likely that the janitor might want to change jobs. It is very important for the USCIS to outline the boundary conditions. The existing H1 work permit is “portable”, which means one can switch employers provided that the nature of work is the same. The emphasis indicates that the nature of work may not be exactly the same. Will the USCIS permit GW program applicants to switch employers? If so, this will create additional paperwork.
Employers going out of business: It is important to note that the existing L1 visa program, for intra-office transferees of multi-nationals is not “portable”. If indeed portability is not applied to the GW program, what happens if the employer goes out of business? These are larger questions that need to be addressed, and will only create additional and complex workflows for the USCIS.
Challenge of detecting fraudulent and frivolous applications (hawking of applications): The DoL has recently abolished (after a long debate) the much-abused practice of “Labor Substitution”. 7Previously, approved labor certificates could be used for initiating green cards for other applicants if the original applicant was not intending to pursue the application for some reason. This resulted in large-scale “hawking” of labor certifications. It is likely that some employers may advertise fake job openings abroad for the Guest Worker program.
Cross-filing and Switching from one visa category to another: If the applicant is permitted to switch jobs, then the question may be why not from a GW to a H1 visa? A blue-collar worker may possibly study and acquire higher education during the time he or she spends in the US.
Also, would the GW worker be allowed to switch from one visa category to another? (This usually requires the worker to leave and re-enter the US).
Also, the employer could file for multiple types of work permits (say H1 as well as a GW permit) for the worker, assuming that the employee would be hired based on whichever work permit gets approved first.
Additionally, people on other visas could also switch to the new GW program in order to be able to work
could we have two streams?
We hear the politians saying that no one will be jumping the queue, well maybe correct, but maybe not correct.
It depends on where the end of the queue is defined.
Given the current law you could wait for labor cert in Philly BEC for years, be forced into changing jobs just before getting the LC, and loose your priority date, putting you in the queue behind the 12 million! After having already waited for several years and paid loads of fees.
If that was to happen maybe I would apply as an illegel, that would raise a strange question, would I have to deliberately break the law to obtain the benefit of being able to sponsor my own GC as the bill currently stands? Would I be able to get an "official" job washing cars, but moonlight as a software engineer?
However, another concern is that adding 12 million to the queue will slow it down. Do we think that two streams could work and be viable, such that in law there would be a guarentee that the queues for those waiting legally would not be clogged.
For example, by requiring that each month the applications by those here legally are processed before moving on to the rest. All outstanding applications by legals would have to be proceeded first each month. That would apply to DoL USICS, FIB (name check), and any other agencies. That might even speed things up for us.
Do we think that this would fly?
It would be a way that the politians could add a touch of legitimacy to their claim that no one would be queue jumping.
Be Cuban and become Cuban
Today my american friend suggested renting a boat, going to Cuba, changing name and coming back. It would be adventurous and thrilling too. You have instant EAD and no need to worry about multiple queues in the Gc process.
We should not forget to say when the coast guard stops us - Senor, Castro is bad. Very bad.
In Title 6(Not sure which section) of the Bill Reported out by SJC, it was clearly mentioned that people coming in on the Guest Worker Program will not be able to get their GCs before the people who have already applied for their GC in FB and EB get their GCs except if they have to wait for more than 6 years.
Assuming that all of us will get our GCs with 6 years (A Big Assumption!!), the people in the guest worker program will get it only after us. So the delay due to them will not be much but it would still be there given the sheer numbers.
Don't be so sure
Each time politicians say something like this we have to take it with a truckload of salt. There is no way they can implement that rule.
Further they have not said anything about per country quota and the time it is taking for people from certain countires. Thus illegals from India(few) may be after legal indians(many) and illegal hondurans(many)may be after legal hondurans(few). However the net result may be that ILLEGAL hondurans and other illegal ROW folks may end up BEFORE legal immigrants from heavily backlogged countries.
Mexicans will be taken care of by AgJobs and Temporary worker programs. So we have to be careful when we hear this sort of thing.
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