NPR: "MANEUVERING THE SYSTEM THAT IS THE H-1B VISA PROGRAM"

by Joseph McKeown


NPR has a short (but fairly accurate) look at the H-1B process and also gives a glimpse inside the Vermont Service Center in St. Albans (which "looks like a law school library on the day before exams"). The news report follows the H-1B petition for Paddy, a programmer from India. GymPact, a web-based exercise motivator in the US, is petitioning for H-1B classification for Paddy (incidentally, I asked Protima, our managing partner who is Indian, how many Indian Paddys she shows. Zero, she said). NPR Reporter Zoe Chace gets inside the Vermont Service Center at 75 Lower Welden and speaks, yes, to a real immigration officer! As anyone who has spent time on either the national USCIS 1-800 customer service number or the premium processing line will know, this is a rare treat. Unfortunately the immigration officer doesn't know about Paddy's H-1B petition (perhaps it's at the California Service Center?). But Zoe Chace does get an adjudications officer to show her the Occupational Outlook Handbook and tells Zoe that in adjudicating an H-1B she looks for evidence of the degree and transcripts. Not exactly revelatory, but still reassuring. Perhaps the important information we can take from this report is that much of it "comes down to how precisely Paddy's lawyer filled out his paperwork." Ah yes, lawyers. They are useful sometimes.

[Listen to NPR story >]