NEW YORK (TIP): Global Organization of People of Indian Origin (GOPIO-New York), South Asian Council for Social Services (SACSS) and the Kerala Center organized an immigration seminar looking at the changing rules and updates for 2015 on Sunday, September 27th at the Kerala Center, Elmont, New York. The panelists were attorneys Michael Phulwani and David Nachman of NPZ Law Group, P.C. (Ridgewood, NJ) and Anand Ahuja (Law Offices of Anand Ahuja, Hicksville, NY). The seminar was moderated by GOPIO International Founder President Dr. Thomas Abraham.
Kerala Center President Thambi Thalappillil and GOPIO-New York Vice President Inderjit Singh extended a word of welcome. SACSS Executive Director Sudha Acharya was also present.
Initiating, Attorney Michael Phulwani spoke on how to read the visa bulletin which is available to everyone, H-1B alternatives, present status of DACA and DAPA.
Attorney Anand Ahuja, who also serves as GOPIO-New York president, spoke on business and investment visas and special juvenile status.
Attorney David Nachman spoke on AC-21, STEM OPT issues/changes, provisional wavers, President Obama’s immigration reform initiatives and consular processing issues.
Some of the community issues which emerged out of this seminar included:
- it’s time that US includes India into Treaty Investment and Treaty Trader category for the immigration visa purpose. This is been the source of a great deal of frustration between the United States and India for many years. It is not clear why Bangladesh and Pakistan and Sri Lanka all have E visas but India does not.
- Need grass-root actions to support President Obama’s executive actions that were announced in November 2014. While immigration reform holistically seems to be stalled, President Obama’s executive actions are designed in a piecemeal manner aimed at improving the overall immigration law system.
- The present Visa bulletin reflects extreme backlogs for Indian nationals in many visa classifications. These backlogs have resulted in families being separated for long periods of time. One of the major tenets underlying US immigration law is family unity. It continues to be our hope that these backlogs can be reduced in some fair manner.
- H-1B nonimmigrant professional and specialty occupation work visas continue to be scrutinized heavily by such agencies as the US Department of Homeland Security, the US Department of State, and the US Department of Labor. Additionally, many of the largest users of the H-1B visa are very significant technology companies from India. Grassroots efforts should be made to help the government understand that India is not the only user of these technology visas. Attempts to avert a form of reverse discrimination should be undertaken soonest.
It was resolved that GOPIO and other community groups must campaign with Obama administration and elected officials on these issues.
GOPIO-New York Treasurer Rekha Sahgal concluded the seminar with a vote of thanks.