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    Posted January 29, 2013 by
    Germantown, Maryland
    This iReport is part of an assignment:
    Naturalized citizens: Your thoughts on immigration reform

    What about people with advanced degrees waiting in line forever?

    It's been more than 5 years that my wife and I are living in United States. Our daughter was born here. My wife is a Software Engineer with a Degree in Engineering and I'm an IT professional with a Master’s Degree, both of us even had 5+ years of prior work experience. We even bought a home for about $325K here about 2 years ago. But the question which we ask ourselves EVERYDAY is: do we live here or go back to India? Do we have a future here? do we invest here? , because with the current immigration process – the wait time is anywhere from 7-10 years. Our H1B visa is valid for 6 years which includes 2 extensions (3+3) and by the end of 6th year our Green Card process should have been started, else we have to go back. Thanks to my wife’s previous employer, (on whose mercy we are always at) wasted our 5 years (promising each time that they will start it), our Green Card process just started. But the current wait is 7-10 years from now to get a green card. There is no problem with the waiting, but the issue is in all of these years, if we step out of the US, we have to get our visa stamped in our home country and our visa can be rejected, more often than not, without any justification! Our close friend had to visit India because of her mom’s health condition, she never came back –her hard earned brand new 5 month old car, rental apartment advance and other household stuff had to be given away for throwaway prices- for no fault of hers. Now we are left hanging in the air, with all these questions of: do we continue to live here or not? Because, if we want to live here, we want to invest here. Not just the money, but our time and efforts. Our main reason for choosing to live in the US is the safety it provides for us and especially our daughter. The other comforts and facilities can more or less be afforded in India, for we can be placed in better paying jobs due to our education, experience and qualification. Since we want to live here, we would love to contribute to the economy, to the society -however we are unable to do so because of the dicey position we are placed in. We are also in-eligible to most of the federal /contract job market due to the citizenship requirements. Also, about 30-40% of our salaries go to the consulting firm with which we contract, this apart from paying taxes in full. The

    With the most complex immigration regulations in the world, a waiting time of around 7-10 years, missing out on our immediate family back home, being in-eligible to better jobs, we constantly keep thinking – is it really worth staying here? Are we paying a pretty heavy price for our safety? We got to make a decision and make it quick, unless the government – at the very least – allows us to travel out of the US freely, gives us some kind of assurance that we can live here in mental peace, unless we break the law and also give us a clear path towards green card / citizenship so we don’t further get exploited in the hands of employers! – For we really want to contribute to the land of opportunity with our education, skills and experience.
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