NEW YORK:  Indian American group GOPIO have called for a campaign on immigration issues affecting the Indian diaspora including use of H-1B visa by technology companies from India and growing backlog of family visas.

An immigration seminar was organized by Global Organization of People of Indian Origin (GOPIO-New York), South Asian Council for Social Services (SACSS) and the Kerala Centre in Elmont, New York on Sep 27. The panelists included attorneys Michael Phulwani and David Nachman of NPZ Law Group, P.C. (Ridgewood, NJ) and Anand Ahuja (Law Offices of Anand Ahuja, Hicksville, NY) and was moderated by GOPIO International Founder President Dr. Thomas Abraham.

Attorney Anand Ahuja, who also serves as GOPIO-New York president, spoke on business and investment visas and special immigrant juvenile status. Attorney Michael Phulwani spoke on the topics such as how to read the visa bulletin which is available to everyone, H-1B alternatives, present status of DACA and DAPA. Attorney David Nachman spoke on AC-21, STEM OPT issues/changes, provisional wavers, President Obama’s immigration reform initiatives and consular processing issues.

Grass-root actions were also required to support President Barack Obama’s executive actions that were announced in November 2014, participants said.

While immigration reform holistically seems to be stalled, Obama’s executive actions are designed in a piecemeal manner aimed at improving the overall immigration law system.

The participants also hoped that extreme backlogs for Indian nationals in many visa classifications may be reduced in some fair manner.

These backlogs have resulted in families being separated for long periods of time despite one of the major tenets underlying US immigration law being family unity.

H-1B non-immigrant professional and specialty occupation work visas continue to be scrutinized heavily by such agencies as the US Homeland Security, State, and Labour departments, the seminar noted.

Additionally, many of the largest users of the H-1B visa are very significant technology companies from India, the seminar noted.

Grassroots efforts should be made to help the government understand that India is not the only user of these technology visas, it suggested.

Attempts to avert a form of reverse discrimination should be undertaken soonest, the participants suggested.

Among other issues raised was India’s exclusion from Treaty Investment and Treaty Trader category for the immigration visa purpose.

It is not clear why Bangladesh, Pakistan and Sri Lanka all have E visas but India does not, the participants noted.

It was resolved that GOPIO and other community groups must campaign on these issues.

“It is important for the Indian American community to take up such issues with Obama administration and elected officials and make them aware of importance of such issues for the country as a whole,” said GOPIO’s Founder President Thomas Abraham.