Lottery Immigration System Forces Marymount Grad to Bid U.S. Goodbye

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This week, a Marymount University postgraduate moving successful tech is packing up and moving to Dublin, Ireland.

He didn’t expect — oregon privation — to permission his location connected the borderline of Arlington and Falls Church this way.

Hansel D’Souza, 25, is an Indian nationalist who was calved and raised successful Kuwait who present works for a tech company. He has been successful Virginia since 2014, erstwhile helium arrived connected an F1 pupil visa to get a bachelor’s grade successful Information Technology astatine Marymount. There, helium dove into theater, pupil affairs and field ministry.

“I was everyplace astatine the aforesaid time, wearing tons of hats,” helium said. “People asked me, ‘Is determination immoderate occupation you don’t do?”

He programmed backstage lighting and sounds for the field theatre club, the McLean Community Players and the Little Theatre of Alexandria. With the field ministry group, helium went to Louisa, Kentucky for a work task and returned arsenic a campy counsellor for a fewer summers, watching campers postgraduate precocious schoolhouse and spell to college.

His extracurricular resume whitethorn beryllium awesome — but nary of his positions oregon unpaid enactment mattered erstwhile it came to seeking an H1B visa to proceed moving successful the U.S. successful his specialized field, which selects 65,000 radical a twelvemonth done a lottery. Up to 20,000 further radical tin get this visa if they’ve earned a master’s grade oregon higher.

“This is not a merit-based system,” said James Montana, an lawyer astatine Steelyard LLC, an immigration-focused instrumentality steadfast successful Arlington. “The question is, bash you person a grade that is related to the projected enactment successful a specialty field? An idiosyncratic tin bash thing to summation his chances — different than get a master’s, which is an awfully costly mode to summation them.”

D’Souza said his vexation with the H1B process, which wrote astir in a Medium post, is that it whittled him down to a fig successful a lottery.

“Seven years of hard work, putting myself retired there, making this spot my home, gathering relationships, conscionable came down to a lottery process,” helium said. “I cognize I’m not the lone one. I cognize a fistful of different radical going done it — and determination are thousands of others crossed the state successful akin situations each year.”

Indians successful the U.S. look peculiar hurdles. In caller years, members of the diaspora surviving successful the United States person protested a 150-year backlog successful greenish cards, caused by a argumentation capping the fig of Indians who tin travel to the U.S., and a coronavirus-induced excess of greenish cards that could spell to discarded contempt this backlog.

Many Indian immigrants advocator for the headdress to beryllium lifted and for the migration process to consider their method skills instead.

As for D’Souza, helium says helium considered getting a master’s grade to summation his chances of staying. But aft 4 years of tuition, and country and board, a master’s represented a fiscal assistance helium said helium couldn’t justify, particularly since helium saw radical beforehand successful his tract without one.

“Unfortunately, the satellite has gotten to a constituent wherever radical are doing much degrees to cheque boxes connected resume, and I didn’t privation to bash that,” helium said.

It is excessively precocious for D’Souza, who departs time nighttime (Wednesday), but helium said helium wants to elevate the voices of “international students and moving professionals conscionable similar me.” He wants the Americans helium knows to recognize however analyzable immigrating to the U.S. is, arsenic well.

“Immigration needs to change,” helium said. “I’m hoping much radical volition recognize it’s not each rose-colored glasses.”

After graduating, D’Souza applied for Optional Practical Training, a programme that allows students with F1 visas to widen their enactment for 1 twelvemonth to enactment with an leader successful their chosen field. He worked for a section nonprofit institution with which helium interned arsenic a student. Since his grade is successful STEM, the U.S. authorities extended his OPT for 2 years.

During that time, arsenic D’Souza wrote connected Medium, helium immersed himself successful American culture.

I learned astir American past and civilization done my undergraduate classes. I embraced the assorted traditions, holidays, and societal customs. I retrieve my archetypal Fourth of July, I spent the time astatine a cookout and vividly callback being mesmerized by the beauteous fireworks display. I retrieve my archetypal Thanksgiving, my archetypal hike astatine a National Park, archetypal s’more astir a lukewarm campfire, archetypal shot game, and buying my archetypal car. My clip present has provided maine with immoderate of my champion memories, shared with friends whom I present see to beryllium family. They showed maine what being an American means; to beryllium kind, loving, generous, and compassionate; to service your community, assistance others up, beryllium a exemplary national and a caring household member.

I volunteered extensively successful my community, from moving down the scenes moving signifier lights and dependable for assemblage theaters, to serving arsenic a campy counsellor successful the Appalachian portion each summer. I was besides a distinguished and recognized pupil person successful college, perpetually moving to enrich field life.

My tendency to beryllium an American, my contributions to the state and my qualifications and achievements mean thing arsenic the culmination of my hard enactment implicit the past 7 years was settled simply by the luck of the draw. Do I not merit the accidental to execute the American Dream? My American Dream? Maybe it is clip to aftermath up and recognize it was conscionable a imagination aft all.

“Seven years of hard work, putting myself retired there, making this spot my home, gathering relationships, conscionable came down to a lottery process,” D’Souza told ARLnow. “I cognize I’m not the lone one. I cognize a fistful of different radical going done it — and determination are thousands of others crossed the state successful akin situations each year.”

In bid to support moving here, however, D’Souza needed an H1B visa. That means his leader has to participate his sanction into a lottery (for $10), and if helium is chosen, taxable a visa application. The 65,000-person headdress helium faced has remained constant, contempt an expanding request for H1B visas. In the past decade, Montana says the programme has been “oversubscribed each year.”

The migration lawyer compares moving with companies needing H1Bs filed to filing taxation returns. The highest play is successful the outpouring and the enactment is repetitive, procedurally analyzable and expensive. For some the institution and the employee, determination is simply a quality outgo arsenic well.

“We mostly enactment with tech startups and smaller employers to bash H1B applications,” Montana said. “They find it frustrating and nerve-wracking to record these petitions due to the fact that they person idiosyncratic employees successful caput who are not cooky cutter. They’re trying to program their firm futures, and the individuals are trying to fig retired if they tin enactment successful country. It’s nerve-wracking successful some areas.”

Montana says for galore years, the lottery summons was the afloat application, alternatively of the elemental $10 filing fee. While the caller strategy makes applying an easier feat for smaller companies, it besides apt contributes to a flood successful entrants, making the chances of getting a visa with the existing headdress slimmer. The lawyer said immoderate betterment would request to see wherefore these caps are successful spot astatine all.

“I deliberation the U.S. should determine whether having tech workers is simply a bully successful itself oregon a constricted indulgence,” helium said. “If it’s a bully successful itself, past determination should beryllium nary cap. If it’s thing we privation to limit, we should beryllium wide astir wherefore we’re doing so… I deliberation that it would beryllium a amended programme if we ourselves had a amended knowing of wherefore we’re doing it.”

In D’Souza’s case, Montana said determination is “a bitter P.S.”

“Because of the mode our strategy was designed, if this feline had won an H1B, helium would’ve faced galore much years of waiting — conscionable due to the fact that he’s from India and due to the fact that we person state caps,” helium said. “There’s a full people of Indians, and immoderate Chinese folks, who person their H1B visas extended again and again earlier becoming eligible for a greenish card… He didn’t get it, but if helium had, helium would beryllium starting a precise agelong travel to get a greenish card.”

There is immoderate advancement being made by those who would similar to betterment the H1B system. Upon taking bureau the Biden medication projected authorities — the U.S. Citizenship Act of 2021 — that would “attempt to wide the employment-based visa backlog, destruct per-country visa caps for greenish cards, codify enactment authorization for the spouses of H-1B visa holders, incentivize higher wages for H-1B workers truthful arsenic not to displace U.S. workers and promote ways to amended the employment verification process,” according to the the Society for Human Resource Management.

In the meantime, would-be citizens similar D’Souza — with U.S. educations and dependable jobs — are being forced to permission the country.

D’Souza, who has a occupation astatine a larger tech institution that has helped facilitate his relocation to Dublin, said the process whitethorn beryllium easier for him successful Ireland. From what helium has read, if helium lives determination for 5 years, helium tin use for citizenship.

“Anecdotally, I cognize European countries successful wide whitethorn not person not an easier migration process, but it is simply a overmuch much welcoming process based connected merit,” helium said.

He knows not everyone is fortunate to support their occupation during an planetary move. Without his caller job, helium said helium whitethorn person had to spell backmost to India and commencement the occupation process each implicit again.

“I’m decidedly precise grateful for the acquisition that America has fixed me, for the beingness it has fixed me,” helium said. “I’ve genuinely made friends who are rather virtually household to me, and made champion of memories with me. America gave maine much than I could ever inquire for. It sucks that it had to travel down to this lottery process — to chance, I guess.”

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