Thursday, April 17, 2008

H1B Visa and Greencard

A good article on current situation of Greencards for highly skilled immigrants from

Facing a dwindling supply of American tech workers, employers struggle to hire skilled foreigners.

(FORTUNE Small Business) -- Axiom Microdevices, a semiconductor company in Irvine, Calif., is embroiled in an increasingly futile annual ritual - the scramble by U.S. businesses to score scarce H-1B visas for their highly skilled foreign employees.

Axiom designs components for cell phones based on a European standard. As a result, the 45-person company often can't find qualified U.S. engineers to develop its products.

There are plenty of experienced system designers in Europe, but Axiom can't hire them without an H-1B visa, which allows highly skilled foreign nationals to work in the U.S. The U.S. Customs and Immigration Service (USCIS) recently concluded a five-day, H-1B application period for fiscal year 2009 (which begins October 1).

USCIS received 163,000 applications for an available 85,000 visas. (20,000 visas are allocated specifically for foreign workers with advanced degrees.)

Last year USCIS received nearly 140,000 applications, forcing the agency to use a computer-generated selection process similar to a lottery. USCIS conducted its lottery this week and will announce the results in June.

Last year Axiom made an offer to a European candidate, but couldn't hire him because he failed to obtain an H-1B visa. Axiom has two H-1B applications in this year's lottery, according to marketing VP Donald McClymont.

"We don't have U.S. designers who can do this work and at this point, we can't hire enough people to grow as quickly as we would like," says McClymont. "It's becoming a big problem for us."

Demand for H-1B visas is rising thanks to a shortage of American citizens with training in the hard sciences, mathematics and computer science. The number of U.S. college students graduating with computer science degrees this year has declined by 43% since 2004, according to a new study by the Computing Research Association, an advocacy group based in Washington, D.C.

Enrollment in computer science programs plunged 18% from 2006 to 2007.

The H-1B cap hits small businesses hard because they submit fewer applications than large companies and because individual employees are more important to the company's success. Howard Kogan, CEO of Molecular, a small digital marketing and Web development company in Boston, needs software engineers with knowledge of complex Web applications development systems. Last year he wanted to hire a handful of foreign engineers, but none received H-1Bs.

This year Kogan has several potential employees in the lottery.

"It's not like there are five people who don't need visas waiting in line to work for us," says Kogan. Like other small tech businesses facing a lack of qualified personnel, Molecular has been forced to ship some of its work out to other countries.

"I can't grow my business because I can't take on more projects," says Kogan. "I don't have the staffing for it."

For workers who do receive H-1Bs, a much larger problem looms: the backlog in processing green cards, which give foreign workers permanent residency in the U.S. Qualified applicants must currently wait between two and 10 years to receive their green cards. Indian and Chinese applicants wait even longer because so many apply from these countries.

Federal immigration policy caps the number of employment-based green cards each year at 140,000, including spouses and children. An estimated 500,000 H-1B visa holders are currently waiting for a green card - or about one million, if you include family members.

That can mean a frustratingly long wait for highly educated and ambitious foreign workers, who often want to start companies in the U.S.

"One in four successful high-tech entrepreneurs in the last decade were immigrants," says Robert Litan, vice president for research and policy at the Kauffman Foundation for Entrepreneurship, a nonprofit research and advocacy group based in Kansas City. "A lot of those people leave rather than take a chance staying here."

Litan argues that the visa crunch could impede U.S. economic recovery because it disproportionately hurts small businesses, the engine of recovery in past recessions.

"We are shooting ourselves in the foot," he says.

Mark Bartosik is a British software engineer who works for a multi-media company in New York City. Bartosik holds an H-1B visa and has been waiting for a green card for eight years.

To avoid losing his place in the green card line, Bartosik remained in the same position with the same company for that entire period.

Bartosik says he came to the U.S. with an invention around which he planned to launch a company.

"It was leading-edge when I developed it in the U.K., and I had a working prototype," he said. "But after four years of waiting in the U.S. for my green card, I gave up because I could see the market for it closing up."

The only option for many businesses is to outsource work or open up offices in other countries. Axiom, for example, is considering opening subsidiaries abroad in order to hire the workers it needs.

U.S. employers worry that H-1B holders who are frustrated by the long wait for a green card will leave for jobs in other countries. Ironically, a significant portion of the foreign nationals that want to work for U.S. companies were also educated in the U.S. Foreign nationals now make up more than 60% of the Ph.D.s in computer science and engineering at U.S. colleges.

But these students are increasingly opting for jobs outside the U.S. as word spreads about how difficult it is to get a visa, says Aman Kapoor, president of the immigration rights group Immigration Voice, whose members are highly skilled foreign residents of the United States.

"They take the education and training received in the U.S. to use in another country, along with the revenue they will generate," says Kapoor.

Organized labor leaders and some members of Congress oppose raising the cap on H-1Bs or eliminating limits on employment-based green cards for highly skilled workers. Rep. Dana Rohrabacher, R-Calif., has suggested there are enough skilled U.S. workers to fill vacant positions and that H-1B workers are just a source of cheap labor.

But federal law requires that H-1B employees be paid the prevailing wage for their positions. And immigration lawyers say it's actually more expensive to hire a foreigner, because of visa filing fees and legal expenses.

As for foreigners taking jobs away from Americans, new research from the National Foundation for American Policy, a public policy think tank, suggests that hiring H-1B workers creates new jobs for U.S. citizens. For every H-1B position at a U.S tech company, five new workers are hired, it says. For smaller tech firms the number rises to 7.5 new jobs for every H-1B hire.

Meanwhile, Axiom's Doug McClymont - who waits to hear if his company will get visas for the workers it needs - notes that hiring skilled foreigners tends to create new ideas along with jobs.

"People from different places and different backgrounds allow cross-pollination of ideas," he says. "We absolutely need that kind of innovation to keep growing. If you stagnate and close yourself off from that, you die." To top of page

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Now iPod in India !

Apple iPhone India launch likely in Sept

Ravi Menon / Chennai April 16, 2008

Indians will no longer need to illegally buy, unlock and then use the most-desired item on gadget lovers’ lists — the Apple iPhone. Its much-awaited and delayed India launch is expected with telecom operator Vodafone in the first week of September.
The Cupertino, California-based company, according to Apple retail sources, said initially the 8 GB version of the much-hyped touchscreen device — which combines Wi-Fi capabilities with a powerful email client, TV feeds, online music store and map-based location guide — will be launched at a price ranging between Rs 27,200 and Rs 28,000.
Based on buyer response, the launch of the 16 GB version will be staggered to the middle of 2009.
Apple sources in Singapore, when contacted last month, had maintained that the India launch would happen in 2008, but were tight-lipped on the exact date.
Apple reportedly claims to have shipped four million iPhones this January since its US launch on June 29 last year, and its chief Steve Jobs has targeted sales of 10 million units by December 2008.
The tie-up is an exclusive arrangement with AT&T. Initial sales targets for the iPhone in India or unit numbers at the time of launch are as yet unavailable, with Apple wary of grey market sales in India.
“The carrier deal for India is being worked out with Vodafone,” said an Apple source, adding: “Vodafone could also become the carrier for the Australian market once iPhone is launched there, though more than one carrier is likely for Australia.”
When contacted, a Vodafone spokesperson denied any knowledge of the deal. However, company sources confirmed the iPhone carrier deal with Apple, though the exact commercial terms were not disclosed. Mobile carriers that offer the iPhone share a percentage of their sales with Apple.
The Apple retail sources also did not rule out Apple extending universal access for iPhone users to all major telecom carriers in India.
“Post launch in India, the iPhone can be ‘unlocked’ (or configured to use SIM cards from all telecom carriers), though the company is not fully open to such a possibility,” the source said.
The real signs of ‘iFatigue’ in India over the long wait for the iPhone are evident on Internet chat forums where users debate thorny issues like how to unlock the iPhone without losing call quality, free open source hacker kits like AppTapp, the best unlock deals at the right price, and quick bargains in the grey market.
Meanwhile, Apple India’s tentative expansion plans in the coming year include opening a second branch of its exclusive product station, the iStore, in Bangalore’s southern suburb of Jayanagar to tap growing demand for the iPod series and the Mac Book Air workstation launched early this year. A third iStore is planned to be launched in Chennai this August.
As the Indian mobile subscriber base gets set to almost double to 500 million by 2010, brand positioning and pricing schemes will be crucial. Customer churn has increased across telecom circles from 18 per cent in 2006 to 20 per cent in 2007, according to IDC India figures. The iPhone’s entry could tilt the balance further, say industry watchers.
Further, the introduction of number portability could prompt customers to jump to competing networks or go in for superior handsets with better offerings.
No matter how much of the iPhone’s feature basket will be available to the user initially, those awaiting the launch agree that it’s better to have the ecosystem in place before buying the phone.
The rewards of buying the kosher version far outstrip the risks of stalking it down the murky alleys of the grey market, and hacking and re-hacking the device every time Apple releases a software upgrade. Till September, then.

Source: Business Standard

Credit Score : How to calculate it ?

This piece is from but interesting enough ! Credit Score is very important for each individual in US. But very few knows how do they calculate it .. Here you go.

FICO, or the Fair Isaac Corporation, invented the credit score, and FICO credit scores are still considered the industry standard.

Check out our review on myFICO Credit Score Products for information on how to receive your FICO credit score as well as other credit report and credit score monitoring services.

Your FICO credit score is the standard credit score that practically all credit card issuers review in order to assess your credit qualifications.

FICO scores are calculated by assessing the information provided in your credit bureau reports at Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion. Your credit score can be different at each credit bureau, so you have 3 FICO scores altogether.

FICO scores use a lot of different credit data when calculating your credit score, but this credit data can be grouped into 5 basic categories.

Payment History – 35% of your credit score is based on your payment history for credit cards, loans, and other specific types of accounts as well as your overall history of delinquent and/or paid accounts.

Current Loan Balances – 30% of your credit score is based on the current amount of money you are in debt. This takes into consideration the proportion of your credit lines that are in use as compared to your total available credit.

Length of Credit History – 15% of your credit score is based on how long you’ve had open credit lines and how long your credit lines have been active, including any recent activity.

New Credit – 10% of your credit score is based on the number of your recently opened accounts, recent credit inquiries, and the amount of time since you’ve re-established a positive credit history if you’ve had past credit problems.

Types of Credit – 10% of your credit score is based on the number of various types of credit accounts you have open and their activity history.

Check out the Credit Education Center for more details on how your FICO score is calculated.

Your FICO score can range from about 300 to 850, although the actual range varies slightly depending on which credit bureau is used to calculate the score.

Credit scores of 760 or higher are extremely good.

Credit scores of 700 to 759 are generally considered excellent or very good credit.

Credit scores from 660 to 699 are generally considered good credit.

Credit scores from 620 to 659 are generally considered average credit.

Credit scores from 580 to 619 are generally considered less than average credit.

Credit scores from 500 to 579 are generally considered bad credit or poor credit.

Credit scores below 500 are very bad.

A schoolboy, 13, corrects NASA's asteroid figures

BERLIN (AFP) - A 13-year-old German schoolboy corrected NASA's estimates on the chances of an asteroid colliding with Earth, a German newspaper reported Tuesday, after spotting the boffins had miscalculated.

Nico Marquardt used telescopic findings from the Institute of Astrophysics in Potsdam (AIP) to calculate that there was a 1 in 450 chance that the Apophis asteroid will collide with Earth, the Potsdamer Neuerster Nachrichten reported.
NASA had previously estimated the chances at only 1 in 45,000 but told its sister organisation, the European Space Agency (ESA), that the young whizzkid had got it right.
The schoolboy took into consideration the risk of Apophis running into one or more of the 40,000 satellites orbiting Earth during its path close to the planet on April 13 2029.
Those satellites travel at 3.07 kilometres a second (1.9 miles), at up to 35,880 kilometres above earth -- and the Apophis asteroid will pass by earth at a distance of 32,500 kilometres.
If the asteroid strikes a satellite in 2029, that will change its trajectory making it hit earth on its next orbit in 2036.
Both NASA and Marquardt agree that if the asteroid does collide with earth, it will create a ball of iron and iridium 320 metres (1049 feet) wide and weighing 200 billion tonnes, which will crash into the Atlantic Ocean.
The shockwaves from that would create huge tsunami waves, destroying both coastlines and inland areas, whilst creating a thick cloud of dust that would darken the skies indefinitely.
The 13-year old made his discovery as part of a regional science competition for which he submitted a project entitled: "Apophis -- The Killer Astroid."

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

MySpace India !

India is gowing at a competative rate and far better than developed countries. All big giants are having some kind of operations handled from India. Nobody can overlook us.

Websites like MySpace {America's No.1 Social networking website } is planning to launch Indian version of their website later this week. For early preview click on

They published their S.Korean website today. Seems there are aggressive to grab No. 1 position worldwide and so, launching their versions to all fast growing countries.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

India: Hair Dye Banned After Suicides

Published: April 12, 2008

The authorities in Uttar Pradesh State have banned the sale of a locally made hair dye after debt-ridden farmers were found to be drinking it to end their lives, a state official said. At least 11 farmers have died from swallowing the cheap dye in a drought-hit part of the state in the last three months, he said. In parts of western and southern India, the dire economic state of farmers has been blamed for thousands of suicides in recent years.

Source: New York Times.

May 2008 US Visa Bulletin

Fam-ily All Charge- ability Areas Except Those Listed CHINA
1st 08MAR02 08MAR02 08MAR02 08JUL92 15MAR93
2A 08JUN03 08JUN03 08JUN03 01MAY02 08JUN03
2B 01JUN99 01JUN99 01JUN99 01APR92 15FEB97
3rd 08JUN00 08JUN00 08JUN00 22JUL92 01APR91
4th 08AUG97 15JAN97 01JAN97 15DEC94 08MAR86




1st C C C C C
2nd C 01JAN04 01JAN04 C C
3rd 01MAR06 22MAR03 01NOV01 01JUL02 01MAR06
01JAN03 01JAN03 01JAN03 01JAN03 01JAN03
4th C C C C C
Certain Religious Workers C C C C C
5th C C C C C
Targeted Employ-ment Areas/
Regional Centers

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Gujarat as a tourist place ??

As per Gujarat Tourism Board, out of 1,10,000 to 1,50,000 outsiders visit to Gujarat last year, 53% people came for business tour !! 33% people visited religious places like Dakor, Somnath, Dwarka etc. 9% visited their relatives and remaining 5% are actual tourists ! Those 5% includes invited and may be "paid" ( I mean tour is paid for them) guests for many "vibrant" festivals.

From 2002-07, Gujarat Tourism's 63-93% hotels made loss and 83-100% cafeterias were among this category ! We all know why?

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Gujarati Language on Internet

Many sites are appearing on internet, which will help more to save our language and culture than our lecture, discussion and articles by many rooted writers. I am very confident on it. Read that again ! Well-established writers or for that matter, anybody, could not do what Gujarati websites are doing and going to do !

Reasons - most of our writers/speakers/politicians or anyone who are trying to save our mother-language are not touching to right audience. For example, many of the highly-literate columns are rarely read by common-people. {Infact internet is helping to find out who is most widely read in the newspaper website !} Rating for highly literate columns and writers that rank is very low !! Who do not write in common man's language are not really widely read writers ! Though they are highly ranked in the field of literature. I am not criticizing anyone, neither my intention is to do so, but just sharing the real fact. Now think that those people write/speak to save our language how may are really listening or reading it ?? To make that effective they first need to speak/write language which all we speak or write. Full Point.

Another reason, we people at Gujarat dont really believe in people who themselves are not qualified. I have noticed this many times. Though we do vote to them because our neighbor ask us to do so - thats a different matter and habit. But normally we dont believe to a carcoon and always try to get information from manager of that bank. We try to ask Principal then any other teacher. We always try to get information from the best available resource in the field. It may be general mankind tendency. But, due to this tendency, we really, never, listen to any politician or other so called famous people unless he is master of the subject/field. We do go to listen all of them may be to listen some spicy news.. to entertain ourself... they remain happy that 50,000 people came to listen us but reality is little different. And, so, they are not very effective to save our language and culture. They do not speak it by heart, they do things differently when it comes to themselves. People don't believe people like that. We need Gandhi or Sardar ! Who do the same thing what they speak !

I have not find many institutes working for this purpose. Neither heard of any fund allocated for this cause. No government worried about this ever... As a result of all these, all of us loosing our great culture and language. More and more English medium schools are in demand. I , personally, don't oppose it. I oppose loosing touch of Gujarati being a Gujarati!

Well, internet will help us more than all so-called responsible. I can see more and more websites is being developed in our language. Many Gujarati Bloggers are writing blogs in Gujarati. Many readers find them. Specially people staying abroad. They are the highly affected people- as they are far from our culture and language. They read lot of sites on internet and they keep themselves very near to our language.

I know a blog site( is having 700 readers everyday !! Our well-experienced writer can not gather crowd of 700 people what-so-ever they can try to do it.. Recently someone from Mumbai has started I see couple of new sites almost every quarter. Thats a good sign and I am sure this is better way to save our language.

I do understand that internet is not touching more than 90% of people. BUT, do you think that all of these 90% are far from our language ? Most of the people studying in English medium from when they started wearing diaper, or who are not in Gujarat are in the most need to be attached to the language. The rest of 10% covers these categories !

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Smallest ever Black Hole found

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - NASA scientists have identified the smallest black hole ever found -- less than four times the mass of our sun and about the size of a large city

The new black hole has a mass of 3.8 Suns and would be about 15 miles across, they estimate. "This makes the black hole one of the smallest objects ever discovered outside our solar system," Shaposhnikov said.

The smallest black hole previously identified was GRO 1655-40, with a mass of about 6.3 Suns.

"Amazingly, equations from Albert Einstein predict that a black hole with 3.8 times the mass of our Sun would be only 15 miles across -- the size of a city," NASA said in a statement.

A collapsing star that was much smaller than J1650 would likely form a neutron star and not a black hole, the researchers said.