Beware of fraudulent consultants to get a job

Few visa statuses don’t allow their dependents to work in USA like F1 and H1B etc. Dependents who accompany their spouses are well educated and ambitious but unfortunately their status don’t allow them to work. The only option left with them is to find out the employer who can apply and sponsor their H1B visa. Lot of search, hard work and efforts are required to find out the legitimate companies who can sponsor the H1B visa. But during your search beware of fraudulent consultants as there are many of them in market try to lure the people desperately looking for job.

They promise to offer good package and also ask them to take three months training suited to the profile.  In the training program they don’t teach anything relevant but handover study material and ask them to study on their own to clear the interview. After the training program they prepare the candidate for the interview questions and make fake resume with 6-7 years of false experience in the field for which candidate have zero experience. Then they market the candidate with their clients and after the candidate is placed, they pay less salary to the candidate and take maximum cut for themselves. There are many such consultancies prevailing in USA.

It is advised not to fall in the trap of these consultancies as there is a chance of you being caught in the immigration check. It happened with one of the employee of a fraudulent consultant. On 29th December 2012, he was caught during the Immigration check at the port of entry of Chicago. He was asked to submit his i20, OPT Card, employer’s address and offer letter. After verification he was asked to go through the secondary immigration check.  In second immigration check he was asked to provide his resume.

Since his employer (consulting firm) added few years of extra experience to place him in a job, he avoided giving his resume and informed the officer that he don’t have a copy of it.  To his surprise, the officer cross verifying him took out a resume with the fake experience from his desk and was asked to verify if it was his.  He simply said it is not his so officer asked him if he was carrying a laptop and he said yes. He found his resume matching the same which officer was had. The officer then searched his LinkedIn profile on the web, and pointed to his profile. It had real profile of him. It consisted of his master’s degree study which was not included in his resume and there was no mention of fake experience in his LinkedIn profile.

The officer at the Port of Entry then called his consultant to verify the information but his consultant said they don’t know anything about the fake experience in his resume. It was the consultant which included the fake resume but in order to save their company from getting back listed they simply denied his employment. The officer cancelled his visa and then he was deported back to India.

There are also some fake consultancies that charge for the training program and fee to sponsor H1B visa but never place the candidate. So, be careful to avoid fraud.  You should verify about their authenticity and good will before committing to them. It is advised to look for the list of H1B debarred companies to ensure you are in safe hand.

There are still some good consulting companies that can help you get H1B visa. You will have to do lot of research and through analysis regarding the company and look for someone in the company whom you know personally or any of your network friends know to avoid fraud.  It is advised to do your due diligence before you ask them to sponsor your H1B visa.

Advice by Anna Kristina Beissner, Coach and Business Trainer

Don’t push the river, it flows. (George Tabori)

When I speak to people who came to the U.S. from all over the world, I often have the feeling that everybody feels under pressure. People seem to push themselves to quickly find a job, quickly build new friendships and quickly adjust to the new culture. When this is not working, many of them are feeling disappointed and lose their energy to deal with challenges they have to face.

But every one of them went through a big transition and such processes, like all change processes, need time. Do not force yourself through your transition process too fast and to adapt to your new life immediately. There are times for everything. Times to be excited, times to be sad about what you have left behind, times to explore new things, times to be overwhelmed and times to start something new.

What people, who come here on a dependent visa and do not have a job, often tell me: They are missing structure in their lives. It can be very difficult, if you have to create every day on your own without being a member of some community. In our society, we usually get acknowledgement for our job. If you are not working, you have to acknowledge the things you accomplish yourself. It is a big and difficult job to adjust to a new life without having any structure and community and you can be proud of what you are going through.

If you have – like many of the so called “traveling spouses” – the feeling of losing self-confidence, it might be helpful to think about what you have already achieved in your lives and which competencies helped you to be successful.

Choose a particular success from you past:
What was the initial situation?
What was particularly difficult/complex/challenging about it?
What exactly did you achieve/establish/decide?
What exactly was the result/benefit?
Which of your skills/characteristics/talents did you use?

Acknowledge these skills. Maybe they can also be helpful in the present situation or in the future.

Sometimes it can also be helpful to see your situation from a different perspective:

Who would be able to solve your problem? What do you think would he or she do?
Imagine, your best friend would come to you with a similar problem and ask for your help. What would you recommend to her/him?
Imagine yourself looking back to the present situation in three years from now thinking: That was an important experience. What could have been important for you?

When thinking about their future and goals, people often think only about what they want to change. But sometimes it is useful to also think about what you want to keep. What is so good at the moment, that it shall always be a part of your life?

Do whatever you like and find interesting. Maybe you like arts or cooking or would like to do voluntary work. There are communities for these activities that could make you feel more welcome in the new country. This might sound silly when you are feeling the urgent need to first find a job. But having fun and thinking about positive things create positive energy. You need this positive energy to face difficult challenges, no matter if it is the adjustment to a new culture and life or the often difficult job search.

Go out. Try to connect with people. Meeting locals is a great opportunity, but meeting people from your own culture speaking the same language and sharing your experience can also be very helpful.

You never know where you could meet someone who has a job offer for you or knows someone who has…

Anna Kristina Beissner

AnnaBessinerAnna Kristina Beissner is a coach and business trainer for team building and human resource development from Germany. She came to Boston on a dependent visa in 2013, because her husband got a postdoc position at the Harvard University. During her stay, Anna worked as a coach for the Harvard Students` Spouses and Partners Association (HSSPA) and the MIT Spouses and Partners. She supported the members to get to know their potentials better, to set goals for their time in the U.S. or the time after or to solve any problems and conflicts.

But not everything in the garden is rosy

RashiBhatnagar

Rashi Bhatnagar is from India. She has a group on Facebook called “H4 visa, a curse” which has more than 4,000 members who are on H4 visa  from all over the world staying legally in the US. It is an advocacy cum a support group. Through this group Rashi has interacted with many spouses on dependent visa. We interviewed her and she tells us about the immigration frauds and other ill practices related to dependent spouses. Here’s the full interview.

Question: Tell us something about yourself.

Answer:  I am from India and have been living in the US for the past four years on dependent visa. Back home, I was a lifestyle journalist with a reputed International publishing group.

Question:  What made you start the facebook group and what it is all about?

Answer: I came to the US in 2009 on a dependent visa. Earlier months were not that great. Every time, I was continuously asked (directly/indirectly) about my job status by my friends and dependents especially who got lucky with getting an H1B visa or  an easy Green Card processing. During many social gatherings, I saw dependents whine about their visa status. I went online to search about this sad visa situation but didn’t find much information even on the official immigration websites. That gave me an idea to start this group. I thought of bringing all the dependents under a common group and let the law makers know about our problems. The group was started with 20 members and now it has more than 4, 000 members from all over the US. Also, I got very disappointed to see that the dependents like L2 and J2 visa holders, legal dependents of – family base visa holders, refugee visa holders, and diversity visa lottery holders get their work permits very easily. Laws should be equal for all the legal dependents.

Question: Why do you think that telling the law makers about the issues faced by spouses on dependent visa can change the situation?

Answer: After coming to the US, I read a lot about the political structure of this country. How the Senate and the Congress works? How Bills get framed? How the state level leaders work? That gave me an idea to connect with the Senators and the Congress men on every state level. In 2011, we had received a reply from The White House as well on a petition which we had signed regarding H4 visa situation. An Executive order Rule has been framed for us; unfortunately, it is been pending. We have H4 visa work permit related provisions in the Immigration Reform Bill as well.

Law makers and many Americans are well versed with H1B or high skill work visa but don’t have any about their dependents situation. Getting connected with the law makers via email, town hall meetings, personal meetings etc is a great idea. I have approached various media organizations for supporting this cause. They have been very supportive.  Also, we have legal residency papers, many of the dependent spouses are very smart, have good English skills, wanted to be entrepreneurs so why a long wait of 10 – 15 years to get a work permit. If undocumented ‘workers’ can be on the streets for demanding the citizenship why not legal, smart spouses who can be an asset to the US economy? We just want a chance to stand in the line not the US citizenship.

Question: Through the interactions that you have done through your group what are the various mal practices that you have come across which the spouses on a dependent visa have to face while they are trying to set their career in US?

Answer: I am not an IT or a high skilled worker, so I was unaware about work visa complexities. I had tried for writing and communication related jobs, even got selected but declined due to my dependent visa status. I receive a lot of messages from the members especially high skilled work related degree holders that during the time of H1B filing  job consultants openly ask them to fake their resumes by adding false work experience, education etc.  H4 visa holders have been asked to pay for their H1B visa filing fees in cash which is a fraud, only the employer has to pay for the same. Sometimes, they have even asked not to visit their home country while working on a H1B visa because they will be caught during the visa stamping because these shady job consultancies don’t provide proper paper work.

Question: What are the various protection laws that according to you all spouses on dependent visa should be aware of?
Answer: Domestic violence and abuse is another major issue. I receive so many messages from H4 visa holders about the same. Few months back, even a member of my group stayed at my place. She was in bad shape because she was badly abused by her highly skilled Phd holder husband who works with a reputed US based company. Now days, many H1B workers are filing divorce in the US and abandoning their H4 visa spouses (especially women) in the US  because many states have no fault divorce law which gets an easy divorce if the couple has not been staying together for six months. They don’t have US passports, no permanent US residency, the marriage has been registered in their native country so why a divorce is filed on a foreign soil? Lot of H4 visa dependents go back and file the case in their native countries. These guys never go back for any case hearing. Dependents don’t have money to hire an attorney in the US. Couples with kids are in a bigger mess. In many cases, the H1B spouse threatens the abused H4 visa spouse to go back to her native country alone or give him a divorce (mutually without alimony) after that she can take the baby. According to the law, an American born kid can be taken by any parent out the states only after the consent other parent.

I want the dependents especially who are facing domestic violence to call 911. That is your best friend. Break your silence because you can only change your situation. U visa is another option but it doesn’t work great for H4 visa dependents. It asks so many proofs to prove the domestic violence, takes so much time, hefty attorney fees etc.  In the meantime, a dependent is not allowed to work. Which is a big question mark?  I think the US doesn’t have any protection law meant for legal H4 visa dependents staying in the US.

Question: Are there any other problems related to those who are on a dependent visa in US?

Answer: Yes. Not only spouses but kids on H4 visa are suffering a lot, who are leaving the US after attaining 21 years of age because of no Green Card. But, the DACA is giving work permits to the kids of illegal workers. Lot of males are suffering as well. We lose our self-confidence, identity and skill set. Several dependent spouses are suffering from mental and physical health problems.

Question: What do you think about volunteering in US while being on a dependent visa?

Answer: H4s can work voluntarily with any non-profit organization or community related non-profit work. They are not allowed to get paid. One can only volunteer for the jobs which are not attached with the pay roll ( eg – If you are volunteering for their IT department and you find other US born workers doing the same job and getting paid, than it’s a fraud) otherwise that organization is committing a fraud because they are using the free services of a H4 visa holder who is also taking off the same employment opportunity from the US born worker. Immigration authorities can also think that a person is getting paid in cash. I came to know from many members that non-profit organizations have exploited them at par by saying that they will file their H1B but in reality they have made them work for many years, applauded their work but never filed a H1B visa. So, be very careful.

Please note: All the information shared about H4 visa is based upon the interaction shared by various H4 visa holders staying the US. Check with an immigration or family base attorney for more clarity about this situation

Advice by Lindsay McMahon, Founder of Speakative

5 Tips for a Successful Job Search in the United States

Are you planning to look for a job sometime in the next few months? If so, don’t assume that the same strategies that work in your home country will also work in the United States. In this article I will give you 5 tips for a successful interview in the United States.

1. Stand out and be memorable to the interviewer

In your culture, is it a good thing to stand out or is it better to fit in with the group? In a job interview in the US, you need to be sure that you stand out in the interviewer’s mind. This is extremely important! Yes, you do have to “sell yourself” a bit.  While in some cultures it’s better to fit in and emphasize your role as a part of a team or to de-emphasize your contribution to a project and show humility, in the US, you should be very clear about the results that you created on projects throughout your career at different organizations.

2. Pay attention to nonverbal communication

Watch out for the weak handshake! This is a great way to be seen as lacking in confidence. It might seem like a small issue, but so much is communicated nonverbally. Make sure that you make direct eye contact with your interviewer and that you offer a firm handshake to show that you are sure of yourself, well-prepared, and glad to be at the interview.

3. Use action verbs on your resume and in the interview

Don’t be vague when you submit your resume. Show exactly what you did at your previous jobs by using action verbs such as “organized”, “led,” “directed,” and “managed.” Your goal is to help the interviewer see exactly how your skills could be of use in the organization. If you don’t directly communicate exactly what you did, how can the interviewer understand your skill set?

4. Get to know the company before the interview

Be sure to do your research on the company before you enter the interview. Understand their goals, their strategy and figure out how you will communicate the ways in which you could fit in with the organization.

If you have a specific set of skills that could help them with something that they are currently struggling with, be very direct in communicating that fact and perhaps go even further by offering them a few strategy suggestions on that problem during the interview if it seems appropriate.

5. If you are an English learner, practice your response to the most common questions

In the United States, there are some very common interview questions that you can practice. It is important to get a conversation partner who can help you practice your answers to these questions ahead of time. Have a clear idea about how you will answer the following questions:

• Why should we hire you?
• Tell me about yourself.
• Give me an example of a time when you took on a leadership role at work. Please explain the project and your challenges.
• Why did you leave your last job?
• Tell me about a time when you had to deal with a difficult customer. What happened? How did you resolve the situation?
• If I spoke with your previous employer, what areas would he or she say that you need improvement?
•What are the first four things that you would do if you got this position?

Lindsay McMahon 

Lindsay

Lindsay McMohan is the Founder of Speakative, an English conversation program that helps you gain confidence through regular practice with native English speakers by Skype.
Sign up for your free trial session here and prepare for your next job interview with a native speaker!

Help Anna study the situation of people going through transition

Going through a transition

How does it feel going through a transition? What thoughts, dreams and fears do people have at different stages? How do people benefit from transitions?

A Harvard spouse, Anna, has designed this questionnaire to find out more about the situation of people at different stages of the transition: before they come to the U.S., while they are here and after they go back.

The results will increase the understanding of the needs people have at different stages of the transition process and how they benefit from it.

If you have gone through the transition of moving from your home country to U.S., please take some time to fill out the questionnaire. All information is treated confidentially. It will take you some time to fill it but it is going to help people in similar situation in which you are. The findings will be shared with the readers.

If you arrived in the U.S. within the last six months: Please use the following link:

https://docs.google.com/forms/d/1njgqj45hTEiQ03ZhuWi0Dt0iTK_UsYzgKcDaUoghmfo/viewform

If your arrival lies more than six months in the past: Please use the following link:

https://docs.google.com/forms/d/1dhkX7JIUDj1zvBxWI7qVC39XilQ0O3eXqaBf8vCtHds/viewform

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact Anna at: anna.beissner@gmail.com.

Thank you very much! Your help is highly appreciated!

LinkedIn, an Opportunity for Career success

If you don’t have a LinkedIn account, you are missing something important. Learn here why LinkedIn is important for your career these days. Let’s first understand the basic definition of LinkedIn. LinkedIn is a social networking site used for professional networking. LinkedIn have huge database of professional and its members use it for professional networking, online connection and job search. Users can send invite to other professionals to connect with them.

As per Forbes “LinkedIn is, far and away, the most advantageous social networking tool available to job seekers and business professionals today”. LinkedIn has more than 200 million users in over 200 countries and territories around the world.  United States alone has the largest member base with over 74 million users. That’s why it is important to have a LinkedIn profile.

It not only helps in job search but helps you to get referrals through your professional networks. You will be surprised to know that 77% of all job openings are actually posted on LinkedIn and 48% of all job openings posted on LinkedIn are not posted anywhere else. Most of the HR professionals and recruiters use LinkedIn. Now you probably know how important it is to have a LinkedIn profile so that employers can easily find you.

Creating an account in LinkedIn is easy and user friendly. It is imperative to have a profile photo to expand your connection as people will find you genuine. When you become familiar with using LinkedIn, join some of the groups on areas of your interest. You can grow your connection through this, as well as can share ideas and comments with members of the group.

It is also important to be active on LinkedIn through regular status updates showcasing your skills and knowledge about your field as it will give a positive impression to the employers. Try not to post an update which relates to your personal life or anything unprofessional as status updates will be visible on the home pages of your connection. Your updates should be general, positive and professional.

If you have a blog site, you can connect the link of your blog on your professional LinkedIn home page. It is a good way to promote your blog among your connections and build your personal brand. With a well written blog, you can demonstrate your expertise and it will also enhance your LinkedIn profile.

Nowadays prospective employers always look up online for candidate profile and LinkedIn profile rank high in search results. So, you can ensure that people looking for you will find all the information that you want them to see.  Make sure to complete your profile with complete information about your skills, awards, training, education and other relevant information.

If you need any help in building your LinkedIn profile, you can contact us at career.transit@gmail.com.