Voice of Immigration

H-1B Outlook for FY 2021 and Framework for Success

Episode Summary

We teamed up with a prominent association of tech companies and collected denials from many different lawyers and many different companies. This allowed us to see a broad spectrum of issues associated with visa denials.

Episode Notes

We have created as a framework that addresses the five primary reasons for rejections.

 We team up with the HR department or whoever is in charge of hiring to help them improve their immigration processes.

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Episode Transcription

David Kelso: Hi there. It's Dave Kelso. I'm your host of OnlineVisas.com: The Immigration Show. Here with me again today, CEO of Online Visas, Mr. Jon Velie. Jon, how are you, sir?

Jon Velie: I'm doing great, Dave, how are you?

David Kelso: Well, I'm actually very excited to talk to you because I was looking through the news the other day at H-1B visas. Since I've been hanging out with you, I kind of see more of it, you know? My reticulum has been activated. I see more of this stuff and I noticed that H-1B visas, a visa that the tech industry uses a lot of, that staffing... Big companies use this visa a lot and it's being denied like crazy right now but I know that your OnlineVisas approval rating is 90-95% or something like that. So I'm wondering what it is. I'm wondering what makes you so special?

Jon Velie: Well, how we approached it. So it's 95% last year, it's at 100% so far this year. We haven't gotten everything back, so it'll probably be a little bit lower than that, of course.

David Kelso: Maybe in the mid-90s.

Jon Velie: Well, we'd be fine with that.

David Kelso: While the rest of the industry is in the 50s I understand.

Jon Velie: 59% yeah.

David Kelso: That's crazy.

Jon Velie: Yeah and the staffing industries' are even lower. We inherit a lot of these cases and now our approval rating on inherited cases is not quite so high. Sometimes they're really bad off, but we'll take on a tough case to help a company retool how they do their intervention.

David Kelso: Right.

Jon Velie: And so what we do is, this is a copy of what we actually submit. We call it the visa petition and we make it look like Newsweek.

David Kelso: Yeah, looks cool.

Jon Velie: And so it's a cover and there are some simple concepts like 'a picture speaks a thousand words.' So, you know, we want to personify the foreign national, we want to talk about the company, we want to talk about the job but what most companies do, is they sort of bring a table of contents and very little discussion about what the evidence is. And that's what we call a 2016 petition. 2016, 88% approval rating. You didn't have to put that much work into it.

David Kelso: You just had to ask nicely.

Jon Velie: Well not quite, but it has gotten tougher and it has gotten tougher for a number of reasons. Number one: this administration has narrowed the types of jobs that it thinks are specialized, which is what is the requirement for an H-1B visa. So an H-1B visa is typically a job that requires a university degree and then the worker has to have that or a similar type of university degree.

Jon Velie: Attorneys, for the longest time, would rely on a database called O*NET and immigration sort of determined that O*NET is no longer sufficient and they have another database. So it was always there but much narrower it's called the OOH, the Occupational Outlook Handbook and in the OOH, it says how to become whatever profession this is and then it talks about... It has language, whether it requires a degree, whether you can have this job based on numerous degrees or even work experience.

David Kelso: Sure.

Jon Velie: And if there is anything that doesn't say it is required then immigration has taken as a position that it's not a specialized job or if there are too many degrees, it's not a specialized job or if the candidate's degree is farther away than what used to be acceptable, they won't apply the H-1B.

David Kelso: That seems a little arbitrary and capricious to use the keywords.

Jon Velie: Well, those are terms of arts in which agencies must not be and so there is a lot of litigation out there. So we support the litigation that's going on but what we do is like, "Let's get the visas approved under today's situation."

David Kelso: Sure.

Jon Velie: So, what we did a number of years ago... or about two years ago, as part of an association called ITServe Alliance, we looked at a lot of denials from different companies, different lawyers, and we sort of mapped it out and we saw five major reasons that immigration cases were being denied and what the philosophies were that immigration was using, what were their strategies, what cases were they relying on? And then immigration came out with a memo. Now with our visa petition here, we were able to... This is produced by our software OnlineVisas.

David Kelso: Sure.

Jon Velie: And so what we do is we, in our strategy sessions with either a company or employee or both, we'll take information and we'll dump it into our model.

David Kelso: Yeah, your template.

Jon Velie: And our model, it has the table of contents. We tell the story about the beneficiary, we tell the story about the company, we talk about the profession. And what we do is we go right to the memo, that immigration put out.

David Kelso: Sure.

Jon Velie: And we were able to add this memo in just a weekend. And it came out in February. We were a hot and part of the H-1B seasonal deal. We were able to change that up and change the way we-

David Kelso: Change the language just because the template was already there and we applied the memo to it, bam. Off and run it.

Jon Velie: Right. So what we're doing is we're evaluating the job, we're evaluating the company, we're evaluating the third party relationship when there is an end-user that might be different. Those are really tough things and what we also do, and we offer this to potential clients, is we will take a look at how they're doing their immigration. Now, we'll also take a look at all their documents. It's the organic documents that are much more important than they used to be.

David Kelso: The I-9s and the things you fill out when you hire people.

Jon Velie: Not those. I'm talking about the contract between the employee and the employer. Talking about their employee handbook. I'm talking about the invoicing, the statements of work, the job orders that they produce. All of those things can be... You can provide language in there that addresses a number of the issues that immigration is looking for.

Jon Velie: Then those things become pieces of evidence. Instead of just saying, "The lawyer calls it this," or, "The company calls it this." Well, we've got to look at everything that's involved. Proof of work is an important thing and instead of just emails back and forth between employees and the employer, you can actually use project management software and there are some good ones out there. You can use internal sort of portals.

David Kelso: Sure.

Jon Velie: Where there's engagement and so we're working with companies that are on the staffing side to become more service providers. Instead of just having a resource go to a third party, it's the companies being hired because it has skills in a certain technology.

David Kelso: Right.

Jon Velie: Maybe it's robotics, maybe it's artificial intelligence or blockchain or any of the things. They're all pretty good at different specializations but they're not focusing on that. And so we work with companies on how to do that and that increases our approvals.

David Kelso: So you work on your process, but at the same time you'll work with a company's HR department to work on their process at the same time.

Jon Velie: Absolutely.

David Kelso: Absolutely.

Jon Velie: How do they even hold themselves out. And it's really looking at immigration and H-1Bs in a holistic way. And just saying, "Look, it's different," and understand that it's different. Understand that our regulation has had a regulatory change. Now the tech industry hasn't had any regulatory change, but the immigration issue has.

David Kelso: Right.

Jon Velie: The industry has. And that's one of the realizations that aren't out there. So you know, we can't just keep doing the same things and accept a 59% approval rating. You know, we have to go in and change things.

David Kelso: Right.

Jon Velie: It's going to be at something that is going to be worthwhile for the company's continued to do.

David Kelso: Do you see this changing anytime soon? Do you see that 59% going up? Do you see this getting easier? Is this trending toward better?

Jon Velie: Not at the moment with our current administration at all. I mean, for some reason the H-1B and the Indian tech companies have gotten a negative for what's inexplicable.

David Kelso: Right.

Jon Velie: Right now, there are... What do you call it? Negative unemployment rates in certain areas. In the tech industry.

David Kelso: We have too many jobs, not enough people.

Jon Velie: Absolutely. We have really big companies that have lots and lots of jobs open and what it's doing is it's forcing jobs to be sent out of the United States and not just the tech jobs, managerial-

David Kelso: Because we're denying people here. We're sending the jobs over there.

Jon Velie: And the managerial jobs stay over there.

David Kelso: Right.

Jon Velie: And so we need to change the dialogue and we need to understand that we're leading the world in technology, but yet we're importing great people to be here because we just can't produce enough for the demand that we have out there.

David Kelso: And it's growing.

Jon Velie: We need to look at this as a good thing that we're bringing jobs here. Not that it's a bad thing. But in any case, it is what it is and that's... It's a political issue and there's no real discussion on the other side.

David Kelso: Right.

Jon Velie: Not that is having any impact, really. So all we can do is help our clients have a better chance of approving their visas and these are the processes and we'd love to share how we do this with potential clients and individuals and I have a book that has been a bestseller.

David Kelso: Take a look at that, "H-1B Visas and Approval." Jon Velie, CEO and Lead Attorney of OnlineVisas.com.

David Kelso: Now do you have a company? Do you have an HR department? Are you looking to hire people? Do you need H-1B expertise? Jon, if they do, how do we get ahold of you?

Jon Velie: Well OnlineVisas.com has really been going great, over a thousand people a day coming by. We set up free strategy meetings, we'd like to really take care of companies that come to see us as well and we can even go see companies from time to time and help them through their process. So OnlineVisas.com, go there. You can either inquire directly or can email me directly at jon@velielaw.com and that's J-O-N at V-E-L-I-E L-A-W.com. Love to hear from you.

David Kelso: You can also call us at (405) 310-4333. Follow us on YouTube. Make sure you look us up on Facebook and LinkedIn as well. Jon Velie, the CEO of OnlineVisas.com. This is OnlineVisas.comhe Immigration Show. Thanks for watching.

Jon Velie: Thanks a lot.