H-1B and Employment-Based Advocacy for Your Clients

Cite as "AILA InfoNet Doc. No. 06091160 (posted Apr. 18, 2007)"

The H-1B blackout and employment-based (EB) green card backlogs are bad for business, and only relief from restrictive caps and unwarranted delays will improve the situation. These are three simple ways to help your clients advocate for the legislative fix they need:

1 - Encourage your H-1B and EB clients to contact Congress
2 - Collect H-1B horror stories from clients and send them to H1Bhorror@aila.org
3 - Ask your clients to join AILA's H-1B and EB sign-on letter


1 - Encourage your H-1B and EB clients to contact Congress

The 30-second version: Ask your clients to email Congress using this link: http://capwiz.com/aila2/issues/alert/?alertid=10518201 . Just copy the link into an email, bcc your H-1B and EB clients, and ask them to take 30 seconds to urge their legislators to end the H-1B crisis and the EB backlogs.

The 10-minute version: Ask your clients to take a little extra time to personalize AILA's model letter and fax it to members of Congress. A personalized letter will make a much greater impact! Simply download the model letter as a Word document and email it to your clients. Ask them to customize the letter and then visit Contact Congress to find their legislators' fax numbers at http://capwiz.com/aila2/directory/congdir.tt?action=myreps_form.

The VIP version: Do your clients have connections to legislators? Would they be willing to meet with district staff or speak with legislators directly to explain the H-1B situation? In-person meetings are the best way to educate Congress about the H-1B crisis. If your clients have connections, or if they're willing to reach out to congressional staff, please encourage them to do so. AILA has talking points to help you and your clients discuss H-1B visas with members of Congress at http://www.aila.org/content/default.aspx?docid=18797.


2 - Collect H-1B horror stories from clients and send them to H1Bhorror@aila.org

AILA is collecting examples of how the inability to hire H-1B workers and the delays in getting EB green cards are adversely affecting companies, hospitals, universities, and other organizations. If your clients are willing to share examples, please email them to H1Bhorror@aila.org. If the company would prefer not to be named, we will accept stories without attribution (ie, "a high-tech company in Ohio…"). Please include as many details as possible!


3 - Ask your clients to join AILA's H-1B and EB sign-on letter

Encourage your clients to join over 900 companies, hospitals, universities, and other organizations on AILA's H-1B and EB sign-on letter to Congress. Simply copy and paste AILA's model email and sign-on letter text below, and send it out (using bcc) to your clients. Then, email Loren Crippin at lcrippin@aila.org with the name and location (city and state) of any employers who decide to sign on. If the company has more than one office, be sure to note whether the entity signing on is the headquarters or a local office.

Download the model email as a Word document, or copy and paste below.

SAMPLE MESSAGE TO YOUR CLIENT:

From: [your name here]

Subject: H-1B/EB sign-on letter to Congress: Raise the H-1B cap and alleviate EB green card backlogs! bcc: [your clients' email addresses here]

As you know, there are no normal H-1B visa numbers available for the next year, until October 1, 2008. The H-1B visa limit was filled on April 2, 2007, 18 months before the end of the next fiscal year. There are also increasing delays in obtaining employment-based (EB) green cards from some countries.

The American Immigration Lawyers Association is organizing U.S. companies to 'sign on' to a letter that will be sent to each member of Congress urging an increase in the H-1B quota and EB numbers. I urge you to agree to sign that letter, which is pasted in below. If you already agreed to sign on to the letter below before, you don't need to agree again.

If your company would lend its name to the letter to Congress, chances of raising the H-1B cap back to a more rational level and of obtaining more EB green card numbers would improve. We hope to have 1,000 companies sign the letter. Please reply to me by email to let me know if your company is willing to 'sign on' to the letter below. You don't need to actually sign and send the letter; just tell me you are willing to sign it. Please let me know if you are agreeing to sign on behalf of the headquarters office or your local office.

Only your company name, city and state need appear. Individual responsible persons at a company need not be named.

Thank you in advance for your help on this important issue!

Regards,

[your name here]

Sign-On Letter Text:

American Businesses Call for Relief from the H-1B Blackout and Employment-Based Green Card Backlog Crisis

[date]

The Honorable __________
United States Congress
Washington, DC ______

Re: Employment Crisis

Dear Senator/Representative ________:

We are writing to urge Congress to take immediate steps to address the crisis facing American businesses as a result of an H-1B "blackout" and serious employment-based (EB) green card backlogs. Companies seeking access to the best and brightest global talent have been confronted with an unprecedented 18-month restriction on access to new H-1B temporary professional employees and multi-year delays in EB green cards for permanent hires. This is in addition to the 16-month H-1B blackout we suffered the prior fiscal year.

The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services announced that the FY 2008 numerical cap limiting the H-1B program for workers was reached on April 2, 2007, the very first day H-1B petitions could be filed this year. The USCIS received over 130,000 H-1B petitions that day, well over the statutory limit. That means that H-1B petitions will undergo a random lottery to determine which ones will actually be selected for processing. This also means that U.S. companies are being denied access to topflight global talent for 18 months, disrupting-if not destroying-crucial research and development projects in critical industries. It will also retard technological innovation and undermine our ability to create and sustain domestic employment opportunities.

A similar crisis is occurring with EB green cards. Because these visas are distributed equally among all countries, with a quota set for each country, backlogs have resulted for individuals coming from high-demand countries, even when the overall cap has not been reached and regardless of the fact that these high-demand countries are often the only source of individuals capable of filling high-skilled jobs American businesses need. Once the quota is met for nationals of a given country, only those who applied before a set cut-off date are able to get visas. The rest are forced to spend up to seven years waiting, unable to become true stakeholders in our country, putting their lives on hold in the hopes that a green card will eventually become available to them. Not surprisingly, these talented professionals often tire of waiting and leave the U.S. to put their knowledge and skills to use in other countries eager to compete with and surpass the U.S.

Every day that passes without access to these high-skilled workers is a lost opportunity for growth, productivity, and innovation. The undersigned entities thus urge swift Congressional action to provide relief from the H-1B blackout and EB backlogs. If U.S. companies do not gain immediate access to the best and brightest, our competitors on the global stage will continue to advance and America's competitive advantage will decline.

We thank you for your attention in this urgent matter.

Sincerely,

[Company name] [City] [State]

 
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