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  • SunnySurya
    08-05 03:10 PM
    It is not the Law. It is just a guidance provide in one 2000 Memo by a USCIS director.
    Nothing great ever happens by trying to undermine each other. Laws are laws, some fair and some unfair, just deal with it and focus on remedying the whole broken system.

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  • akred
    04-07 03:09 PM
    Let me guess, you work at a R&D facility, right? May be, looking for the best way to fit in your individual situation. No offense meant, however, I would request IV and its membership to have a bigger perspective in dealing whit this bill. Otherwise, 500,000 people will be systematically purged from US. And that includes most people waiting for their green cards.

    For sure, this bill is bad. However I do think that the H1B program should have some way of making a distinction between what is essentially a market access issue for foreign companies and a means for domestic companies to hire foreign talent.

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  • xyzgc
    12-24 02:19 PM
    Ghazni's best-kept secret - The Indian Express
    S.C. Sharma ()
    April 25, 1998

    Title: Ghazni's best-kept secret
    Author: S.C. Sharma
    Publication: The Indian Express
    Date: April 25, 1998

    Provocative Ghauri was the title of an editorial that appeared
    on this page earlier this month. Pakistan has named its missiles
    Ghauri and Ghaznavi with the specific intention of taunting
    India. These worthies' claims to fame and glorification, in the
    perception of the Pakistanis, lies in the fact that they were
    credited with plundering and devastating north-western India time
    and time again in the eleventh and twelfth centuries.

    In their enthusiasm to score brownie points, the Pakistanis have
    got mixed up on chronology, they have produced Ghauri before
    Ghaznavi. Also, they have perversely sought to commemorate these
    Afghan rulers of Turkish descent in utter disregard of the fact
    that most of the territories they plundered are their own - the
    North West Frontier Province, the Punjab and Sind. The men and
    women they tortured, enslaved, ravished and put to the sword were
    their own forebears.

    If Pakistanis wish to revel in the inglorious misdeeds of
    foreigners perpetrated on their own soil and on their own
    ancestors, they are welcome to twirl their moustaches in euphoria
    and say: " Where ignorance is bliss, it is folly to he wise."

    Indians may look forward to future generations of Pakistani IRBMs
    and similar sophisticated weaponry named after the likes of
    Changez Khan, Nadir Shah and Ahmad Shah Abdali. Alexander the
    Great and Harshavardhan also have strong claims, but they might
    be disqualified for obvious reasons.

    In the course of his many abortive forays into India, Mohammad
    Ghori is said to have been captured once by the forces of Delhi.
    But Prithviraj Chauhan, king of Delhi, magnanimously let him off.
    Legend has it - and it is widely believed in India - that when
    Ghori eventually succeeded in defeating Prithviraj Chauhan at the
    Second Battle of Tarain in 1192, he blinded him and took him in
    chains to Afghanistan along with his friend, the poet

    Ghori held a grand durbar to celebrate his victory. His prize
    catch, the king of Delhi, blind and a prisoner, was paraded and
    publicly humiliated. Deeply incensed by the treatment meted out
    to his monarch, Chandravardai took refuge to a subterfuge. He
    announced that though completely blind, Prithviraj could still
    hit a target guided solely by sound, and he asked for permission
    for this feat to be performed.

    Prithviraj Chauhan was handed a bow and arrow, and Chandravardai
    sang a now-famous verse which told him of the elevation and
    distance to Ghori's throne. And thus, guided solely by sound,
    Prithviraj shot his arrow through Ghori.

    The legend may not be entirely true, but it would be absolutely
    accurate to say that even after eight centuries have elapsed,
    Prithviraj is regularly subjected to indignity in the land where
    he was taken as a captive. I have seen it at first hand.

    Many years ago, while travelling by jeep from Kandahar to Kabul,
    I had to make a night halt en route at Ghazni. At the hotel, I
    learned that there was a grand mausoleum over the tomb of Sultan
    Mahmud Ghaznavi near the town, and I determined to see it. A few
    extra Afghanis (the local currency) helped my driver to
    comprehend the necessity of making a small detour the next

    The mausoleum was indeed grand -judging by local standards - with
    a high, arched doorway like the Buland Darwaza. lie tomb proper
    was in a cellar about four or five feet be low ground-level. It
    intrigued me considerably to note that there were no steps
    leading down into the tomb. Instead, a metal chain hung from the
    ceiling of the cellar. I was told that I would have to hold the
    chain and jump down.

    I asked for the reason for this peculiar method of entry. The
    caretaker was evasive at first. But after much persuasion, he
    disclosed that there was another tomb at the exact spot where you
    jumped down. There, the infidel king of Delhi, Prithviraj
    Chauhan, lay buried.

    ================================================== =====================
    Might I add, that the very Islam these Pakis seem to be proud of, was forced down upon them.
    Most of these are descendents of forced converts to Islam!

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  • lfwf
    08-06 02:50 PM
    But you see, what YOU think RollingFlood wants cannot be achieved through a lawsuit. From what I and pretty much most of us understand from the letter of the law is that it allows for earliest priority date. A lawsuit cannot change the law. Also remember that GCs in the employment based category are given based on SPONSORSHIP by an employer. So an EB3 got an earlier priority date based on a labor petition that existed at some earlier period in time when RollingFlood, I, and plenty of others decided we wanted to get a PhD instead. That was OUR choice.

    Also, this is a free country. People who are really committed to get an advanced degree, can enroll in graduate school part time, which is what many people I know did. They hopped onto the GC line as EB3 and went to grad school part time. Some now have graduate degrees from places like Stanford.

    Also note that the law accounts for really smart people to be unfettered by allowing for things such as EB2 National Interest Waiver and EB1 exceptional ability.

    To say that just because someone was doing a PhD and therefore needs to get an earlier priority date that accounts for their graduate program is, to say the least, weird. It is mixing up the employment based system with a merit based system. In fact, one could argue a merit based system should not have any notion of priority dates whatsoever!

    Also, just like you, I have no personal gain from this, one way or the other :-)

    I have desisted from posting here because all people do is give hystero-emotonal resposnses ranging from "advanced degree means nothing in law' to "his parents must have waived him goodbye". However recently I see some sane posts that actually consider the issues rather than the rhetoric and I feel constrained to point out that you are wrong.

    1. I cannot judge the merits of a lawsuit but the "equivelance" of an advanced degree is set at 5 years by regulation not law. That can be challenged in court. Again- I don't know if it will be thrown out, but it can be challenged all right. It would satisfy the goal of OP, whose primary grouse was with people who do not qualify initially for EB2, using the 5 years to both jump to EB2 and preserve their PD.

    2. The employment based system is actually stratified by "merit" or" "level of job difficulty" (rightly or wrongly so- that's a separate issue). So they are not different things. The preference categories are set up so that it's easist to qualify for EB3 and toughest for EB1. Therefore the jump that BS +5 takes to EB2 already gives them the advantage of a better cut off date in a smaller category. The PD porting magnifies that to the extent that genuine (adding this to avoid renewed attacks on the terrible things EB2 folks do to qualify) original EB2 filers are left at a huge disadvantage. I asked repeatedly why people who spent the same years getting adavanced education should be left behind. No one addressed that, instead gave me alternative sob stories about being wrongly placed in EB3. Two wrongs do not make a right! And I (at least) am not challenging the rights of people who initially could have qualified for an EB2 to port.

    And if its a free country OP has every right to question the regulation. Why have fits over it? How about analysing the issue itself instead and figuring out it's strengths and weaknesses? Do you think USCIS or Congress care that your attorney "made you file EB3"?

    3. EB2 NIW still gives you a PD only AFTER you complete your advanced education and prove yourself exceptional. Still the same EB2 line. EB1 similarly gives you a PD much later- of course for now it does not matter since its current- if it backlogs, expect the same questions from them.

    I fear this thread is fodder for anti immigrants. Virtually every EB3 here has questioned "most EB2's" classification and accused all of us of some kind of fraud. Really guys, be ashamed.


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  • Madhuri
    09-30 01:40 PM
    I love to see Obama in White House too. My only concern is who drives his Immigration Policy. Sen. Durbin? The provisions in CIR 2007 were scary.

    I am here legally in this country from Sept 2000.
    Applied for GC in March 2006 (EB3 I), filed 485 in July 07, used AC 21 in April 08 and now working on EAD.

    I already had backup plan for Canada. If I wanted to keep my Canadian PR current I had to fulfill the 2 yrs out of first 5 requirement and was required to relocate to Canada in Aug 07. After July 07 fiasco and getting EAD, I thought of giving up on that back-up plan. It was not an easy decision, but we decided to bite the bullet and were thinking that AC-21 memo and EAD are good enough safe-guards for any denial if and when it comes. Also other thing I thought as it is it's going to take ages for my date to become current by that time at least my child's education will be done (he is in high school) and he doesn't have to go through relocation pains as far as school is concerned. He has already done that 4 times in last 8 years. So all in all we were satisfied with the decision to abandon Canadian PR and using AC 21. But now all of a sudden I see there are so many denials for straight forward AC21 cases and moreover if Obama wins then immigration policy are driven by Durbin. AC-21 is the thread that I am hanging on to, if that goes away then what....just don't want to think about it.

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  • gc28262
    09-26 01:07 PM
    I wish there was a rule not to pay any taxes till we the GC , that will change a lot doesnt it .

    Along with our efforts here, we should push Indian gov for the social security deal with US.

    Once the deal is done, potential EB immigrant leaving the country with all his/her social security deposit will make everyone in this country rethink about being harsh on EB immigrants.


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  • Macaca
    05-25 08:17 PM
    Cleaning Up Congress ( The House gives lobbying reform a boost, but the battle is far from over, Friday, May 25, 2007

    IT WASN'T EASY, it wasn't pretty and the battle isn't over, but the House managed yesterday to pass a credible ethics bill that would require lobbyists to disclose the bundles of campaign checks they round up for lawmakers. The lopsided 382 to 37 vote belied the ferocious behind-the-scenes opposition to the bundling provision. Few lawmakers were willing to cast a public vote to oppose letting their constituents know what the lawmakers themselves are already keenly aware of: just how much they are indebted to which lobbyists. In private, however, many Democrats fought to prevent the vote. It was only the steadfastness of Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), Caucus Chairman Rahm Emanuel (D-Ill.) and Reps. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.) and Martin T. Meehan (D-Mass.) that brought the measure to the floor. House Judiciary Committee Chairman John Conyers Jr. (D-Mich.) served a key role in offsetting the opposition of some members of the Congressional Black Caucus.

    It's critical now that the bundling provision not be killed in the quiet of a conference committee. The Senate version of lobbying reform contains a slightly different bundling provision, which can easily be reconciled with the House measure.

    Other provisions of the bill approved by the House yesterday would provide for more frequent and detailed disclosure, including lobbyists' contributions to lawmakers' charities. To win support for the bundling amendment, reformers had to abandon their effort to double, from one year to two, the cooling-off period for lawmakers and staff who leave the Hill for lobbying jobs. The Senate-passed lobbying bill includes this effort to slow the revolving door. That, too, should be part of the final package. In addition, the work of the House will not be complete until a credible ethics process is in place, one that includes an independent office to assess and investigate allegations of unethical conduct. A Pelosi-appointed task force is expected to come up with a proposal soon. That will be the Democratic majority's next test.

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  • mrajatish
    07-08 11:01 AM
    The other posters are correct in that they are telling you that your spouse is covered under section 245k. That is as long as a person hasn't overstayed an I-94 card by more then six months; no major criminal or health issues then everything is reset upon leaving and re-entering USA.

    However; USCIS officers try to find other ways to nail people when a person needs protections such as 245k.

    I have seen a couple of cases where people have had an i-140 denied due to education. They appealed and re-filed another 140 and in the eta 750b they omitted certain education diplomas that were listed in the first application. USCIS then accused them of fraud and a permanent barrier to getting greencard.

    Now; it looks like the officer is going down the same road on your husbands case. Accusing your husband of essentially fraud by claiming that he was working with a company listed in the g-325a biographical information when it appears to uscis that he wasn't working with them. 245k or any other part of immigration law which could protect him becomes difficult to use when they accuse you of fraud.

    To get a better grasp of things; you need to post the RFE's that he received on his original case (don't post general stuff but be specific) and what they are saying now. It will allow people to help you better assess the situation.

    Particularly worried about what you just mentioned about USCIS using other means to deny application - this seems to go against the principle of 245(K) which was to allow folks to get GC irrespective of a violation in the past. If the intent is to not let folks use 245(K), why even publish such a law? MOre importantly, for folks who have been staying and working in a country for many years (read > 5 yrs), it is possible that they might have some glitches and 245(K) was there to cover that (I am not saying every one has gone through this but a lot of people in 2000/01/02 went through this).

    What are the grounds for I-485 denial if my I-140 is approved?

    The followings are the grounds for an I-485 denial.
    a. Some crimes committed by the applicant.
    b. The applicant is out of status or illegally worked for over 180 days.
    c. If the I-140 is employer-sponsored, the applicant changes job before I-485 has been pending for 180 days.
    d. The applicant drastically changes occupation or job field.
    e. The applicant travels abroad without Advance Parole (H/L visa or status is excepted).
    f. The applicant’s failure to RFE or fingerprint.


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  • pappu
    08-11 08:46 AM

    maybe we can do an official press release showing how dumb these people are. as far as i know all this information can be downloaded directly from the flc datacenter. we need to start writing op eds against people like lou dobbs who keep skewing the debate
    great find yabadaba. Thanks. I have sent this link to someone who can do some data analysis in our favor. However we are looking for EB GC data.

    do you/anyone know of any data sources for EB greencard applications on USCIS site/someone has already done stat research based on uscis data? We would be able to get independent analysis of that data by experts to our advantage. This analysis can be used by media when they interview us and also can be given to lawmakers to win their favor. you can PM me or post any such information on this forum and I can send it to experts I know.

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  • unseenguy
    06-21 09:49 PM
    What do you mean by they will give you?

    The moment your I-485 is denied, Form the date of denial, your stay is considered unauthorized. You may have to leave soon as possible. If you accumulate more than 180 days and leave the country, you will be barred for 3 years from entering US. If you stay more than 365 days, you will get a 10 year ban. From the date of 485 denial till you leave the country, If you own a home, they know where to find you..if you decide to overstay...

    Please do not post wrong information..

    i 485 notice may have grace period on it. One of my friend's h1/l1 was denied (extension) and he was given 15 days from denial date to leave.


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  • SunnySurya
    08-05 01:49 PM
    I think he knows quite a bit about the immigration rules. He raised a point that it is merely a guidance. What it means that it can be contested and challenged...unlike if it were a law.

    With all due respect, I totaly disagree with original poster. probably, he needs to know more about immigration rules..

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  • Macaca
    06-20 02:11 PM
    Learning From Microsoft's Error, Google Builds a Lobbying Engine ( By Jeffrey H. Birnbaum ( Washington Post Staff Writer, June 20, 2007

    When it comes to lobbying, Google does not intend to repeat the mistake that its rival Microsoft made a decade ago.

    Microsoft was so disdainful of the federal government back then that it had almost no presence in Washington. Largely because of that neglect, the company was blindsided by a government antitrust lawsuit that cost it dearly.

    Mindful of that history, Google is rapidly building a substantial presence in Washington and using that firepower against Microsoft, among others.

    Google is reaching beyond Washington, as well. To publicize its policy positions and develop grass-roots support, the company introduced the Google Public Policy Blog ( this week.

    "We're seeking to do public policy advocacy in a Googley way," said Andrew McLaughlin, Google's director of public policy and government affairs. "We want our users to be part of the effort."

    In its first major policy assault on a competitor, Google's Washington office helped write an antitrust complaint to the Justice Department and other government authorities asserting that Microsoft's new Vista operating system discriminates against Google software. Last night, under a compromise with federal and state regulators, Microsoft agreed to make changes to Vista's operations.

    Google credits Microsoft's missteps in the 1990s with helping it see the wisdom of setting up shop in Washington in a big way and using the many tools available in the capital, such as lobbying and lawyering, to get its way on major policy matters.

    "The entire tech industry has learned from Microsoft," said Alan B. Davidson, head of Google's Washington office. "Washington and its policy debates are important. We can't ignore them."

    Two years ago, Google was on the verge of making that Microsoft-like error. Davidson, then a 37-year-old former deputy director of the Center for Democracy & Technology, was the search-engine company's sole staff lobbyist in Washington. As recently as last year, Google co-founder Sergey Brin had trouble getting meetings with members of Congress.

    To change that, Google went on a hiring spree and now has 12 lobbyists and lobbying-related professionals on staff here -- more than double the size of the standard corporate lobbying office -- and is continuing to add people.

    Its in-house talent includes such veteran government insiders as communications director Robert Boorstin, a speechwriter and foreign policy adviser in the Clinton White House, and Jamie Brown, a White House lobbyist under President Bush.

    Google has also hired some heavyweight outside help to lobby, including the Podesta Group, led by Democrat Anthony T. Podesta, and the law firm King & Spalding, led by former Republican senators Daniel R. Coats (Ind.) and Connie Mack (Fla.). To help steer through regulatory approvals in its proposed acquisition of DoubleClick, an online advertising company, Google recently retained the law firm Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck.

    "We've had to grow quickly because our company has grown so fast and the issues that impact the Internet have come into greater focus in recent years," Davidson said.

    Google's path is not unlike the one eventually taken by Microsoft, which was essentially represented in Washington for a long time by a single lobbyist. For a couple of embarrassing years in the mid-1990s, Microsoft's primary lobbying presence was "Jack and his Jeep" -- Jack Krumholz, the software giant's lone in-house lobbyist, who drove a Jeep Grand Cherokee to lobbying visits.

    But after the Justice Department filed its antitrust lawsuit in 1998, Microsoft under Krumholz began what was then considered the largest government-affairs makeover in corporate history. The company now has one of the most dominating, multifaceted, and sophisticated influence machines around -- one that spends tens of millions a year. Microsoft has 23 people working out of its government affairs office in Washington; 16 are lobbyists.

    Google is not that big. But it is set to move from temporary space on Pennsylvania Avenue NW to new and larger digs on New York Avenue NW. The suite will include a large meeting area where the company plans to hold seminars about the Internet and high-tech issues.

    To make friends on Capitol Hill, Google plans to initiate Google 101, a series of tutorials for congressional aides that will teach them how to use Google's search engine better and faster. The aides will learn, for example, how to do simple math by writing numbers in the proper order on Google's search line.
    Google has gotten serious about Washington's money game. The company established a political action committee last year and raised $57,220. For the next election, the PAC already has nearly half that amount on hand and company executives expect its political donations to soar.

    Google is also attracting attention in the presidential campaign. It is co-sponsoring two candidate debates (one Democratic and one Republican) and has already hosted four presidential contenders at its California headquarters: Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.), Gov. Bill Richardson (D-N.M.), former senator John Edwards (D-N.C.) and Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.).

    Google executives are parading through Washington with some frequency and being well-received, thanks to the advance work of their capital-based staff. In just the past few weeks, Google executives testified to Congress on such issues as immigration (Google wants more highly educated immigrants to work in the United States) and the future of video (Google owns YouTube, the popular video Web site).

    The company has peppered the Federal Communications Commission with recommendations on how to handle a major upcoming auction of telecommunications spectrum. Google Washington's Richard S. Whitt, a former head of regulatory affairs at MCI, helped write those suggestions, which the company hopes will enhance people's ability to access the Internet -- and Google.

    As for the company's future in Washington, "I expect we will grow in all dimensions," Davidson said. "We're not finished yet."


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  • gc_on_demand
    08-05 02:21 PM
    Solution to all this is HR 5882. Even if will not make date current for all it will clear major backlog so people will see some hope in next year

    Please call your lawmakers and educate them ... once we reach house floor we might not have time to call all lawmakers.

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  • perm2gc
    08-11 11:51 AM
    The Two Faces of Lou Dobbs
    Zachary Roth

    In April, John Kerry's campaign released a TV ad attacking President Bush for supporting the export of U.S. jobs overseas. The ad was misleading -- although Gregory Mankiw, the chief White House economist, has said that, "outsourcing is just a new way of doing international trade," Bush himself has never explicitly said he favors sending jobs abroad. But Kerry's ad highlighted the fact that Democrats see corporate outsourcing -- in which American corporations abandon the U.S. in favor of cheaper sources of foreign labor -- as a potentially damaging issue for the president. During the Democratic primaries, both John Edwards and, to a lesser extent, Kerry attacked the president for policies that, they argued, encouraged job loss in the United States. The issue resonated with voters, especially in states like Ohio and Michigan, which have been hit hard by the loss of manufacturing jobs.

    Enter Lou Dobbs. The distinguished-looking host of CNN's "Lou Dobbs Tonight" has established a reputation this year as one of the most outspoken opponents of corporate outsourcing. Dobbs has turned his nightly news show into a one-man campaign -- the head of the Business Roundtable called it a "jihad" -- against the practice. Night after night, he roundly attacks government trade policies that he believes encourage American corporations to ship jobs abroad.

    But it's not just U.S. policymakers who are the targets of Dobbs's indignation. He makes little attempt to hide his disdain for the companies that are, as he puts it, "exporting America." And Dobbs is watched, so it's fair to say his views sway voters.


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  • GC08
    02-02 10:14 PM
    Whether that stupid guy knows or not is not important. The most important thing is the American people. I guarantee that most Americans do not know how H1Bs contribute to the American society. If they are misinformed, the government and Congress can only further mistreat people like you and me. The real danger of those lies about H1Bs is that it will stir up a sentiment of anti legal immigrants

    Remember, the sentiment of the American society plays a vital role in American policies as all the politicians want votes!

    By the way, pro-immigration does not necessarily mean pro-legal immigration. Sometimes, the so called pro-immigration policies can only jeopardize those who are here legally, mainly those employment-based immigrant, most of whom take the F1-H1-GC route ... just like you and me. So be careful when we support any bills. We need to understand what exactly our legal immigrants get from the bill before we support it. :)

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  • suavesandeep
    06-26 04:25 PM
    Sorry hpandey wasn't intentional :),

    My data is restricted to bay area. You are definitely looking at least at 600k for a decent home in bay area. This is taking into account the 20% correction as of today.

    But i would still think the thumb rule (Total Interest ~ Total Principal) would hold in your example too:
    Loan Amount: 410K
    Total Interest: 383K

    Good figure to make 600K loan .. that must mean people are buying at least a 650,000 house across the whole of US . You are talking about prices going down across economy you should take the average home value also across US which is definately not 600K or else most of people will never be able to buy a house.

    I am taking about a home of an average 450K ( even that is more than the US average ) and at least 10 % down.

    I don't think even anyone here would buy a 600K house in this economy to say the least !

    Lets stick to real world calculations.


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  • Ramba
    01-29 10:06 PM
    Interesting to watch this video. How CNN and Lou is propagating false information and not airing how H1B system works. They think viewers are idiot. It may be true that USCIS might have approved more than mandated numbers. It does not matter. Even they can approve 1 million H1B petition. But everyone has forget one thing. One must verify how many actual new H1B visas are issued by the consulates (DOS) based on approved petitions and how many adjusted to H1B status from other non-immigration status in US. There are so many H1B visas denied by the consulates. CNN do not air that.

    Furthermore, there are so many cases in which more than 1 employer might have applied H1B visa for same person. It is legal. Finally the guy come to US thro one employer. Other approved petions are wasted in this case. They can not do labor subsitution in H1B like in GC.

    CNN is smartly hiding the actual facts.

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  • Macaca
    05-30 05:44 PM
    What Will It Take for Companies to Unlock Their Cash Hoards? ( By JASON ZWEIG | Wall Street Journal

    There is a cash crisis in corporate America�although it comes not from a shortage of the stuff, but from a surplus.

    In the first quarter, the five companies with the greatest cash hoards�Microsoft, Cisco Systems, Google, Apple and Johnson & Johnson�added $15 billion in cash and marketable securities to their balance sheets. Microsoft alone packed away roughly $9 billion, or $100 million a day. All told, the companies in the Standard & Poor's 500-stock index are sitting on more than $960 billion in cash, a record.

    To be sure, at many companies the cash piling up is at global operations that generate "undistributed foreign earnings" that can't be brought home, under U.S. law, without incurring taxes of up to 35%. But hundreds of billions in cash remain available�and idle.

    Meanwhile, the payout ratio�the proportion of earnings paid out as dividend income to shareholders�fell to 28.9% for the past four quarters. That, says S&P senior index analyst Howard Silverblatt, is the lowest level since 1936. Dividends are going up�Intel, UnitedHealth Group and WellPoint have recently raised them�but cash is still piling up far faster than most industrial giants can possibly find a prudent use for it. Of course, investors themselves might have a better use for the cash, if they could get at it.

    As Daniel Peris, co-manager of the Federated Strategic Value Dividend fund, says, "The likelihood of spending money poorly is increased by having a surplus of it."

    Microsoft's purchase price for the online telecommunications firm Skype, widely criticized as too rich at $8.5 billion, almost precisely matches the amount of cash that Microsoft raked in last quarter. Was that torrent of cash burning a hole in Microsoft's pocket?

    "No way," says Bill Koefoed, general manager of investor relations at Microsoft. "We see this as being a very strategic acquisition."

    The heart of the problem, as the great investor Benjamin Graham pointed out decades ago, is that the best interests of corporate management and outside investors are at odds. That is especially true for giant companies whose growth has been slowing. "The more dubious the company's prospects�the more anxious management is to retain all the cash it can in the business," Graham wrote. "But the stockholders would be well advised to take out all the capital that can be safely spared, because these funds are much more valuable to them if in their own pockets, or invested elsewhere."

    Amnesia is another culprit. In the past, companies paid out vastly more of their profits as dividends, and they should again. "If there were a greater historical sensibility among investors and managers," Mr. Peris says, today's low payouts "would be called out as an abnormal situation that's likely to lead to that money being less well-spent than it otherwise might be."

    Dividends have gotten short shrift in recent years as investors have come to favor companies that instead use cash surpluses to buy back their shares. Meanwhile, with the economic recovery barely out of the sickbed, many companies are reluctant to invest heavily in expansion. Others want to keep cash handy for potential acquisitions. So cash sits idle�even as interest rates, after inflation, are so low that cash often produces negative real returns.

    Benjamin Graham made three simple proposals in 1951 that deserve to be revived.

    First, investors need to realize that a company's cash is a valuable asset, even when interest rates are low; if management won't put it to good use, investors must speak up. As Graham wrote: "When the results on capital are unsatisfactory, it is appropriate for stockholders to�insist that it be returned to stockholders on an equitable basis."

    Second, companies should set formal dividend policies. Rather than paying or raising dividends out of the blue, they should state in advance what proportion of earnings they expect to pay out as cash dividends. If, instead, they plan to use excess cash to buy back shares, they should offer hard evidence that the stock is undervalued.

    Finally, Graham advocated that leading companies should pay out two-thirds of their earnings as dividends. That rate isn't as radical as it might sound, even though it would amount to more than a doubling from today's levels. The dividend payout, as a percentage of total profits, has averaged 52.3% since 1936 and 46% over the past two decades, according to Standard & Poor's.

    If the companies in the S&P 500 raised their payout ratio to 50%, Mr. Silverblatt estimates, that would put an extra $207 billion into investors' pockets�at a time when shareholders' dividend income is taxed at historically low rates.

    "Companies are basically earning more than they've ever made before, but their payouts are nowhere near that high," says Mr. Silverblatt. "They're holding their cash really tight. You can call them Scrooges if you want."

    A Generation of Slackers? Not So Much ( By CATHERINE RAMPELL | The New York Times
    Made in America: Manufacturing Jobs Are Coming Home ( By Patrick Smith | Fiscal Times

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  • puddonhead
    06-26 04:43 PM
    All your calculations are meaningless if the house price keeps going down 20% like the past few years. We will reach a point where the house price crash stops and starts to stabilize. That point is couple of years away. Until then, we can ignore the rent vs mortgage calculations.

    Well - your approach smells of speculation, which is pretty dangerous!!

    I take the following approach

    Left Side: Add my rent

    Right Side: Add all my expenses (mortgage + maintenance + tax)

    As soon as Left > right - it is a time to buy.

    If you get to the nitti-gritties - it can get very complicated. e.g. you usually put 20% down. Plus the principal payment is technically not "expenditure" - it is "investment in your home equity". Owning means you lose flexibility. It is impossible to put numbers against all these.

    However, my personal "estimate"/"Tipping point" (taking into account the loss of flexibility etc) is when I have positive cash flow from owning (i.e. rent > mortgage + tax + maintenance). Some very successful RE investors I know take the same approach and are very successful.

    08-05 06:49 PM
    A guy in a bar was talking about how he always watched his wedding video backwards.

    When asked why, he replied:

    "Coz I love the end bit where she takes the ring off her finger, goes back down the aisle, and jumps in the car and disappears..."

    Too Good.......I could not control

    12-27 12:40 AM
    So what in your opinion is the reason for the state and the government of Pakistan to provoke India, with the risk of starting a war with India that Pakistan cannot win, at a time when the economy is in a very very bad shape and there are multiple insurgencies and regular suicide attacks within Pakistan?

    There is no coherent state or government in Pakistan anymore, there are only personalities pulling the country in various directions. So let's only talk of personalities. My hunch (and that of the many world intelligence agencies too) is that Kayani did it! He was being pushed to a corner by Zardari, who was rapidly chipping away at his power at the behest of US. Apparently Zardari is wiling to give US a much freer hand in western Pak than Kayani. Kayani feared that Zardati may topple him and appoint another COAS. So he played this masterstroke. Zardari and Gillani were taken completely off guard by this hit.