After the presentation, I felt a huge relief and also felt quite good. But then came the bad news. My future employer with whom I start a job in August called to say that my H1-B visa petition was not selected in the random lottery. I hadn't received my master's degree by April 2nd, when they had to apply and hence my application was subject to the regular cap of 65,000 visas for which they had received over 130,000 applications within two days. :( :( :( Its very depressing. I have been in this country for six years now and contributed to the economy (spent) well over a hundred thousand dollars towards my education, living etc and yet it seems the country doesn't want me of my education. Its very depressing. As NPR said in one of their stories, its essentially a deportation order for US educated foreign graduates.
To the credit of my firm, they are committed on still hiring me and continuing for one year on OPT. When that runs out in May '08, who knows what will happen? They have said they will apply for H-1B again next year under the Master's cap, which they expect I should get without any problem. But there is a gap between May (when my OPT runs out) and October (when the visa is issued effectively) where I cannot work in the US legally. I can only hope that they will still keep me on the payroll and send me to work in the UK or India.
Although this year the Master's cap took a whole month to get filled, I am fairly certain that next year, even the Master's cap will be filled in one day (just like the regular cap did this year).
In the unlikely scenario that I have to leave the country and go home, its not too sad. I am fairly certain that with the experience in VC and an MS degree I will qualify for some great jobs in venture capital or microfinance in India or elsewhere around the world. That one thing is the only surety and helps me sleep soundly at night.
Nevertheless, from the point of view of a US educated foreigner, the whole H1-B fiasco is very frustrating. Its very disappointing to have this uncertainty looming over my head though.
Besides, I also dont like being called an "Alien" by the USCIS in all their press releases and materials. Are we really aliens? Foreigners - yes, but aliens? Its ridiculous! I really hope that this great country they called the United States of America, which itself is built on immigrants, thinks about this long and hard, brings about reform and learns to treat its foreign-born students and workers better.
After the disappointing H1-B news, I couldn't concentrate on work all day. There wasn't any work anyway. Everybody who was at the investment committee meeting today morning, felt the blues later on in the day after all the grilling in the morning. I ran into PacMan on iGoogle and played it for a bit. It brought back some happy memories of myself as a sixth grader glued to my green and black monochrome computer monitor for hours playing pacman. Decided to end the day early, came home and just tried to cope with the sad news by sleeping for two hours. Got up at 7 pm even more depressed and since it was still sunny and bright outside, I ran two miles at the liberty park. It was refreshing. Then I hit some tennis shots against a practice wall at the park, then came home and had dinner.
Thats pretty much for a lousy day that today was except for the successful investment pitch in the morning. That is the only thing that I really like about today.
Update: Isn't there any regulation that frees up h1-b multiple visa allocations wasted by people like this, who applied for and obtained more than one visa, possibly through consultants and dummy employers and are grabbing away opportunities from countless others? I'm beginning to get really disappointed with all this happening.
Tagged: Personal, H1-B