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  • NKR
    08-05 08:26 PM
    What does it have to do with immigration lines?.

    Exactly, how does your below statement fall within the immigration lines?..

    I believe you missed the entire point.
    Whether you have money or not is irrelevant nonsense. This is like complaining that you are married so cannot have a girlfriend- that is your problem pal. Make your own choices, don't blame others for them.
    Now, answer the question- why are the years spent in MS/PhD not getting any credit? .

    This is what you need to be asking and fighting for, do not say that since you are not getting benefits then let EB3 guys also not get any benefit. It is like saying that since I do not have a girl friend neither should others. Two wrongs won’t make a right.

    If you and I both came in 2000, and I did a PhD and you worked..(this is not that far from my story- so it's not completely fictional), your PD might be 2002 and mine may be 2007. Now you are as close to current in EB3 as I am in EB2. Now if you jump to EB2 without porting), you would be 2008 (or even 2006) and given faster movement in EB2 you benefit. If you jump with porting, I'm totally screwed. You are way ahead of me simply because I chose to get the degree. Does it begin to make any sense? You are asking for the ability to get a GC because you have waited "x years". So HAVE I!!!!
    Except that my PD does not reflect it like yours. If you still insist you have first right...well that's your opinion. .

    Some people do not port, they directly apply for EB2 (this is not that far from my story- so it's not completely fictional) but I do know people whose PD is early 2002 and still waiting just because they filed in EB3 for some reason and if they want to port, I completely understand.

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  • smisachu
    12-27 11:35 PM
    As someone who comes from an army family and who has been trained as a reserve, I want to assure you guys who think that an Indo-Pak war will linger; that it will not. It will take Indian army 15-20 days to reach Islamabad if the full force is deployed and the army is in charge of the war and not our politicians.
    Pak has nukes, but their delivery mechanism is not sound and before Pak launches any nukes, US will disarm them and even if a few are launched India had a very good anti missile shield which will intercept and destroy all warheads before it enters Indian air.
    Now to actual strategies that India should follow-
    1. The civilian government in Pak is not at fault, previously they were responsible for terrorist attacks on India but now they are suffering at the hands of a monster of their own making. Terrorism and ISI.
    2. India should use air and missile power to strike out and wipe out a 500km radius around each terrorist camps while offering an olive branch to the Pak govt. What this does is it will kill with certainty all terrorists and will also wipe out surrounding villages.
    3. These are casualties of war and are a necessary evil, it will strike fear in the hearts of villagers and when ever a terrorist camp is set up; the surrounding villagers will chase them out in fear of India's wrath.
    4. India should send RAW analysts to assassinate all rouge ISI officers, if needed Mossad of Israel can help India.
    5. Finally the only way to deal with the problem of Pakistan longtime is to either socially cleanse Pakistan for the civilian government and bring in more modernism or carve out pakistan into several independent states. This is a long term goal which has to be thought about.

    If anyone is interested I can post the actual army strengths of India and Pak, its an interesting statistic and I am sure the Pak government knows about it in more detail than me. And it beats me that in spite of knowing the facts they are doing all this war posing. Just a tit bit from it, Indian army (only) is 1.3mil + 450K (reserves) strong. The combined Pak armed forces are 450K active + 500K reserves. India outnumbers Pak in almost every aspect 1:5 on an average. We have fought 4 wars and India has won all 4 times, why should the 5th time be any different? Lets finish this and move on, we have to become an economic superpower and we cannot be bothered by such trivial things like terrorism and pakistan. Lets take terror to the terrorists, like the song from the Hindi movie Arjun goes
    " Dushman ko yeh dikadho dushmani hai kya...":cool:

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  • unitednations
    03-26 08:04 PM
    With regards to h-1b processing; if you file an h-1b and you are silent as to the work location on the i-129 and you get an lca for your h-1b office location and then USCIS gives you an rfe for a client letter.

    You get a client letter in a different location and did not have an lca for that location prior to the receipt date of the h-1b filing then USCIS will deny the h-1b saying that it wasn't approvable when filed. Therefore, because of this USCIS is essentially saying that you are only getting h-1b approval for the work location specified in the petition when it was filed. It does not include a blanket approval to work at multiple locations.

    Therefore; one should always amend the h-1b for different work location. Everytime you amend; you have to pay uscis/lawyer fees and are at risk of getting rfe everytime.

    With regards to greencard. You don't have to work at the location required in the labor until the greencard gets approved. Most labors state job location is "various unanticipated locations across usa". If it has this statement then you are covered and don't have to locate to the office of the company; you can work in any location.

    If there is not such an annotation in the labor then to make it 100% legal you should go and work in the location covered by the labor. However, as the baltimore decision stated; you can use ac21 for a different locaiton with same employer. Therefore, if 485 is pending more then six months and greencard gets approved; you have essentially used ac21 without even knowing it.

    I do know a few cases where attorney did labor in location of where persons client was located. However, if person has shifted to another location then it would be impossible to justify it legally that you will go back there when greencard gets approved because that job would no longer exist.

    There are a lot of complexities involved in this. It just goes to show that on a whim; uscis can do a lot of things to make peoples lives miserable.

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  • Macaca
    12-29 07:31 PM
    Suicides in India Revealing How Men Made a Mess of Microcredit ( By Yoolim Lee and Ruth David | Bloomberg

    Tanda Srinivas was lounging in the yard of his two-room house in the southern Indian village of Mondrai shortly after noon on Oct. 28 when his wife, Shobha, burst out of the door covered in flames and screaming for help.

    The 30-year-old mother of two boys had poured 2 liters of kerosene on herself and lit a match. The couple had argued bitterly the day before over how they would repay multiple loans, including those from microlenders who had lent small sums to dozens of villagers, says Venkateshwarlu Masram, a doctor who called for the ambulance.

    Shobha, head of several groups of women borrowers, was being pressured to pay interest on her 12,000 rupee ($265) loan. Lenders also were demanding that she cover for the other women, even though the state had restricted microfinance activities two weeks earlier, Bloomberg Markets magazine reports in its February issue.

    When Srinivas, 35, tried to snuff out the flames with a blanket, his polyester clothes caught fire. Within three days, both parents were dead, leaving their sons orphans.

    Now, on this November morning, the boys� ailing 70-year-old grandfather and blind grandmother say they are caring for Aravind, 10, and Upender, 13, in the farming village where many men earn a living gathering palm extract to make alcoholic beverages.

    None of the boys� relatives can support them full time, says their 60-year-old grandmother, Saiamma, breaking into tears.

    India�s Microlending Hub

    The horrific scene in Mondrai, 80 kilometers (50 miles) from the city of Warangal, has played out in dozens of ways across Andhra Pradesh, India�s fifth-largest state by area and the site of about a third of the country�s $5.3 billion in microfinance loans as of Sept. 30.

    More than 70 people committed suicide in the state from March 1 to Nov. 19 to escape payments or end the agonies their debt had triggered, according to the Society for Elimination of Rural Poverty, a government agency that compiled the data on the microfinance-related deaths from police and press reports.

    Andhra Pradesh, where three-quarters of the 76 million people live in rural areas, suffered a total of 14,364 suicide cases in the first nine months of 2010, according to state police.

    A growing number of microfinance-related deaths spurred the state to clamp down on collection practices in mid-October, says Reddy Subrahmanyam, principal secretary for rural development.

    �Every life is important,� he says.

    Perverse Turn

    On Nov. 8, police arrested two managers of lender Share Microfin Ltd. on allegations of abetting another suicide, this one of a 22-year-old mother. Share Microfin didn�t respond to requests for comment on this story.

    As India struggles to provide decent education, health care and jobs to millions still locked in poverty, microlending -- the loaning of small sums to the world�s neediest people to help them earn a living -- has taken a perverse turn.

    Microcredit has become �Walmartized� by unrestrained selling of cheap products to the poor, says Malcolm Harper, chairman of ratings company Micro-Credit Ratings International Ltd. in Gurgaon, India.

    �Selling debt is like selling drugs,� says Harper, 75, the author of more than 20 books on microfinance and other topics. �Selling debt to illiterate women in Andhra Pradesh, you�ve got to be a lot more responsible.�

    Opposite Effect

    K. Venkat Narayana, an economics professor at Kakatiya University in Warangal, has studied how microfinance lenders persuaded groups of women to borrow.

    �Microfinance was supposed to empower women,� he says. �Microfinance guys reversed the social and economic progress, and these women ended up becoming slaves.�

    India�s booming microlending industry is part of a global phenomenon that began as a charitable movement but now attracts private capital seeking growth and high returns.

    Banco Compartamos SA, a former nonprofit that�s now the largest lender to Mexico�s working poor, raised about $467 million in its 2007 initial public offering. The August IPO of SKS Microfinance Ltd., India�s biggest microlender, drew further attention to the industry.

    SKS began operating in 1998 as a nongovernmental organization led by Vikram Akula, 42, an Indian-American with a Ph.D. in political science from the University of Chicago.

    The company raised 16.3 billion rupees by selling 16.8 million shares at 985 rupees each. SKS shares peaked at 1,404.85 rupees on Sept. 15. As of Dec. 28, they�d fallen to 652.85 rupees.

    Andhra Pradesh Crisis

    On Oct. 15, the government of Andhra Pradesh imposed restrictions that bar microlenders� collection agents from visiting borrowers and required companies to get local authorities� approval for new loans. The rules have crippled lending and repayments. Loan collection levels in the state have dropped to less than 20 percent from 98 percent previously, according to an industry group.

    The upheaval in Andhra Pradesh is a long way from the vision of Muhammad Yunus.

    The former economics professor won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2006 for his pioneering work in Bangladesh providing small sums to entrepreneurs too poor to get bank loans.

    Yunus, 70, discovered more than three decades ago that when you lend money to women in poverty, they can begin to earn a living, and most of them will pay you back.

    Yunus started the Grameen Bank Project in 1976 to extend banking services to the poor. Since then, it has lent $9.87 billion and recovered $8.76 billion; 97 percent of its 8.33 million borrowers are female.

    �Wrong Direction�

    Yunus says he�s not against making a profit. But he denounces firms that seek windfalls and pervert the original intent of microfinance: helping the poor.

    The rule of thumb for a loan should be the cost of funds plus 10 percent, he says.

    �Commercialization is the wrong direction,� Yunus says, speaking in a telephone interview from Bangladesh�s capital of Dhaka. �An initial public offering is the triggering point for making a lot of money personally as well as for the company and shareholders.�

    David Gibbons, chairman of Cashpor Micro Credit, a nonprofit microlender to the poorest women in India�s Uttar Pradesh and Bihar states, says public, for-profit lenders face a conflict.

    �They have to decide between the interests of their customers and interests of their investors,� he says.


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  • hiralal
    06-07 09:50 PM
    I definitely agree with the post above :). is another article ..not the best bit vague but still good came in just now on cnbc
    note the line marked in red still depends on economy ...but predictions are that US economy may stagnate plus tight immi ..and you can see what will happen in future

    Home prices in the United States have been falling for nearly three years, and the decline may well continue for some time.


    Even the federal government has projected price decreases through 2010. As a baseline, the stress tests recently performed on big banks included a total fall in housing prices of 41 percent from 2006 through 2010. Their “more adverse” forecast projected a drop of 48 percent — suggesting that important housing ratios, like price to rent, and price to construction cost — would fall to their lowest levels in 20 years.

    Such long, steady housing price declines seem to defy both common sense and the traditional laws of economics, which assume that people act rationally and that markets are efficient. Why would a sensible person watch the value of his home fall for years, only to sell for a big loss? Why not sell early in the cycle? If people acted as the efficient-market theory says they should, prices would come down right away, not gradually over years, and these cycles would be much shorter.

    But something is definitely different about real estate. Long declines do happen with some regularity. And despite the uptick last week in pending home sales and recent improvement in consumer confidence, we still appear to be in a continuing price decline.

    There are many historical examples. After the bursting of the Japanese housing bubble in 1991, land prices in Japan’s major cities fell every single year for 15 consecutive years.

    Why does this happen? One could easily believe that people are a little slower to sell their homes than, say, their stocks. But years slower?

    Several factors can explain the snail-like behavior of the real estate market. An important one is that sales of existing homes are mainly by people who are planning to buy other homes. So even if sellers think that home prices are in decline, most have no reason to hurry because they are not really leaving the market.

    Furthermore, few homeowners consider exiting the housing market for purely speculative reasons. First, many owners don’t have a speculator’s sense of urgency. And they don’t like shifting from being owners to renters, a process entailing lifestyle changes that can take years to effect.

    Among couples sharing a house, for example, any decision to sell and switch to a rental requires the assent of both partners. Even growing children, who may resent being shifted to another school district and placed in a rental apartment, are likely to have some veto power.

    In fact, most decisions to exit the market in favor of renting are not market-timing moves. Instead, they reflect the growing pressures of economic necessity. This may involve foreclosure or just difficulty paying bills, or gradual changes in opinion about how to live in an economic downturn.

    This dynamic helps to explain why, at a time of high unemployment, declines in home prices may be long-lasting and predictable.

    Imagine a young couple now renting an apartment. A few years ago, they were toying with the idea of buying a house, but seeing unemployment all around them and the turmoil in the housing market, they have changed their thinking: they have decided to remain renters. They may not revisit that decision for some years. It is settled in their minds for now.

    On the other hand, an elderly couple who during the boom were holding out against selling their home and moving to a continuing-care retirement community have decided that it’s finally the time to do so. It may take them a year or two to sort through a lifetime of belongings and prepare for the move, but they may never revisit their decision again.

    As a result, we will have a seller and no buyer, and there will be that much less demand relative to supply — and one more reason that prices may continue to fall, or stagnate, in 2010 or 2011.

    All of these people could be made to change their plans if a sharp improvement in the economy got their attention. The young couple could change their minds and decide to buy next year, and the elderly couple could decide to further postpone their selling. That would leave us with a buyer and no seller, providing an upward kick to the market price.

    For this reason, not all economists agree that home price declines are really predictable. Ray Fair, my colleague at Yale, for one, warns that any trend up or down may suddenly be reversed if there is an economic “regime change” — a shift big enough to make people change their thinking.

    But market changes that big don’t occur every day. And when they do, there is a coordination problem: people won’t all change their views about homeownership at once. Some will focus on recent price declines, which may seem to belie any improvement in the economy, reinforcing negative attitudes about the housing market.

    Even if there is a quick end to the recession, the housing market’s poor performance may linger. After the last home price boom, which ended about the time of the 1990-91 recession, home prices did not start moving upward, even incrementally, until 1997.

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  • Refugee_New
    01-07 10:50 AM

    Is this true? Are you just visiting forum just for this and not for your immigration at all? If so, its really bad.

    After getting my GC, i visited this forum many times, helped a couple of forum members on how to contact congressman, sent them the draft letter etc on how to approach Ombudsman, congressman etc. I took help from this forum and i will try to return my favor to this forum.

    I highly regarded this forum, its core team and its members until "Mumbai attacked" thread was open. I knew that it will be a nasty thread and it will foment hatred towards one particular religion and its followers. And it did cause a lot of damage to members of one particular group including myself.

    Core team didn't stop this. They didn't even reminded the rules and regulations of this forum. That led to IV turning into HIV. This is not the right forum to discuss about politics especially war/terrorism etc. I don't know if IV will make it as a policy.

    I created this thread just to remind people that there are so many ruthless people/group/organization around the world that kill innocents mercilessly. I didn't create this thread to rally support for any particular group or speak against any particular faith or any particular country.

    I could have started this thread when the killing began two weeks back but i didn't. I started this when innocent school kids were massacred using missles and later it was justified. There are still so many heartless/mindless members sitting and supporting/justifying this brutal killing.

    Anyway, i'll sign off and i won't post any more message in this thread again.


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  • H1B-GC
    02-21 03:41 PM
    An Avg. American gives an Damn to this 1/2 ton Polar Bear. When the Former CNN President Kicked this Polar Bear out of CNN in 2000, he Started advising the Fortune 100 Companies to Outsource Jobs to cut Costs in his new Job Profile and now he calls them Benedict Arnold.What a sick Mind he has!!

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  • validIV
    06-25 03:59 PM
    He bought his house after he got a job offer from his mentor�Ben Graham, when he could afford it. Prior to that he was renting. He purchased a five-bedroom stucco house in Omaha, where he still lives, for $31,500. Guess how much that house is worth now?

    And who was rich first and does not consider his house as an investment!


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  • Refugee_New
    01-07 03:20 PM
    Those recognise him convert to christianity. They suffered because of their non belief. But details in the bible for the second coming of jesus and the nation of Israel to prepare for his coming, so the present day jews are supported by God. In the end they all belive the mesiah.

    This is your religious belief/prophecy and ideology. This is nothing but neocons/zionists "The Greater Israel" or "Greater Middle East" plan. Exterminate muslims from their land and expand the occupation so that you can receive your messiah. As per their plan, Israel should expand upto Syria and this is what you believe. You know why muslims will not let go palestine that easily. If we loose Palestine today, tomorrow its Egypt and Syria.

    Thats why these killings happen. Now you agree. Thats why you guys are killing school kids also. Because you see them as potential terrrorist. This is the truth. Thats why you guys act violently to acheive your goal.

    I know you won't respond me anymore. Because you know your believe/ideology/prophecy/unjust acts will be exposed here.

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  • desi485
    08-05 08:06 PM
    Hey Bro! Think of you this way.

    You are no different than those trying to move from EB3 to EB2. They are doing this to get GC faster then others.

    You are stopping others from entering in your line, to get GC faster. :p

    Ultimately you both are the same.

    I am sure he doesn't have a mirror, only a desire to get GC and at any cost. He is using weird arguments to reach his goal and keeping others out of EB2. In way, he is cheating himself too.

    He should pay attention to real issues like per country quota, retrogression and so on.


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  • shuyaib
    12-23 05:00 PM
    Granted there are loose canons in every community, yet some evils are encouraged by doctrine in religion such as below:

    .. and simply you are down in mud pool doesnt mean whole world is like you!

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  • kaisersose
    04-15 02:12 PM
    I am on H1B and I485 is pending. I just bought a mid-price house and I will recommend to buy only if your I140 is approved. I waited for many years but finally bought one. Buying the house was a big decision but I am glad that I took it. I have a 3 year old daughter and she being able to run in our own backyard is worh of some financial risk. The house prices are lower (still I think a little higher than it should be) and the interest rate is good too. So, go for it and good luck.

    Per iwantmygreen you (just like me) are here to hurt his/her emotions. Apparently we get a kick out of that.


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  • CreatedToday
    01-08 03:18 PM
    I just copied and pasted the coward Refugee_New's msg to me. I'll be careful about 'quoting others' also!

    Did you consider banning him?

    From Forum Moderator

    We are forced to caution you that any use of profanity on the public forums, including when quoting others, will result in immediate ban from this forum without any further warning.

    Thank you for your understanding,



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  • jung.lee
    04-05 06:07 PM
    The analysis is interesting, but this much amount has already been written off considering 100% of option ARM, and alt-ARM will fail.

    I think you missed my point. I was not trying to connect the ARM reset schedule with write-offs at wall street firms. Instead, I was trying to point out that there will be increased number of foreclosures as those ARMs reset over the next 36 months.

    The next phase of the logic is: increased foreclosures will lead to increased inventory, which leads to lower prices, which leads to still more foreclosures and "walk aways" (people -citizens- who just dont want to pay the high mortgages any more since it is way cheaper to rent). This leads to still lower prices. Prices will likely stabilize when it is cheaper to buy vs. rent. Right now that calculus is inverted. In many bubble areas (both coasts, at a minimum) you would pay significantly more to buy than to rent (2X or more per month with a conventional mortgage in some good areas).

    On the whole, I will debate only on financial and rational points. I am not going to question someone's emotional position on "homeownership." It is too complicated to extract someone out of their strongly held beliefs about how it is better to pay your own mortgage than someone elses, etc. All that is hubris that is ingrained from 5+ years of abnormally strong rising prices.

    Let us say that you have two kids, age 2 and 5. The 5 year old is entering kindergarten next fall. You decide to buy in a good school district this year. Since your main decision was based on school choice, let us say that your investment horizon is 16 years (the year your 2 year old will finish high school at age 18).

    Let us further assume that you will buy a house at the price of $600,000 in Bergen County, with 20% down ($120,000) this summer. The terms of the loan are 30 year fixed, 5.75% APR. This loan payment alone is $2800 per month. On top of that you will be paying at least 1.5% of value in property taxes, around $9,000 per year, or around $750 per month. Insurance will cost you around $1500 - $2000 per year, or another $150 or so per month. So your total committed payments will be around $3,700 per month.

    You will pay for yard work (unless you are a do-it-yourself-er), and maintenance, and through the nose for utilities because a big house costs big to heat and cool. (Summers are OK, but desis want their houses warm enough in the winter for a lungi or veshti:))

    Let us assume further that in Bergen county, you can rent something bigger and more comfortable than your 1200 sq ft apartment from a private party for around $2000. So your rental cost to house payment ratio is around 1.8X (3700/2000).

    Let us say further that the market drops 30% conservatively (will likely be more), from today through bottom in 4 years. Your $600k house will be worth 30% less, i.e. $420,000. Your loan will still be worth around $450k. If you needed to sell at this point in time, with 6% selling cost, you will need to bring cash to closing as a seller i.e., you are screwed. At escrow, you will need to pay off the loan of $450k, and pay 6% closing costs, which means you need to bring $450k+$25k-$420k = $55,000 to closing.

    So you stand to lose:

    1. Your down payment of $120k
    2. Your cash at closing if you sell in 4 years: $55k
    3. Rental differential: 48 months X (3700 - 2000) = $81k

    Total potential loss: $250,000!!!

    This is not a "nightmare scenario" but a very real one. It is happenning right now in many parts of the country, and is just now hitting the more populated areas of the two coasts. There is still more to come.

    My 2 cents for you guys, desi bhais, please do what you need to do, but keep your eyes open. This time the downturn is very different from the business-investment related downturn that followed the dot com bust earlier this decade.


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  • m306m
    01-02 12:10 PM
    This is a very sensitive and politically charged thread that has nothing to do with US immigration related matters. I am aware that there are several threads that have been opened in the past that were non-immigration related but this thread is more divisive than most.

    Understandably there is a lot of hurt and anger that is being vented here. I am from South Mumbai and frequented the Taj (Got married across from the hotel at Radio Club) so I understand the sentiment. But I prefer not vent my political beliefs, anger and frustration here, so as not to be divisive both politically and religiously.

    Lets morn for our loss, discuss politics & religion somewhere else, and move on with immigration related matters on IV.

    my 2 cents.. (Have a safe and prosperous '09)

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  • pappu
    07-14 09:27 PM

    Draft of this letter itself is an invitation for the investigation into Labor certification process for the individual who are suggesting they were qualified as EB-2, but their attorneys or HR reps told them to file under EB-3.

    Entire LC process is certified under the assumption that the employer in good faith has tried to hire US citizen and since he couldnt find a qualified US citizen for a that Job position, the employer is hiring an alien ( foreign national).

    I am not supporting this petition, even though i am a victim of the backlog centres and my labor took 4+ years for approval.

    We should all support IV's initiative for recapturing of wasted VISA numbers from the past years.

    Fighting among indian EB-2 and EB-3 is useless and it defeats the purpose of IV unity.

    IV seniours should immediately intervene in this matter and stop further discussions on this useless petition which doesnt have any legal standings and in itself is an invitation from DoL and USCIS to investigate the individuals who signed the petition and messed up their immigration process.


    PD: India EB-3 June 03.
    I-485 filed in Aug 2007 at NSC.

    awaiting I-485 approval...which will be 2-3 yrs down the road, if no relief from US congress.

    Right now enjoying the freedom using EAD.

    I have my disagreements with the letter content and have let it known in my posts on the thread.

    Pani you are an old IV member with IV experience and I trust that you would give second thoughts based on my comments.


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  • Macaca
    12-29 08:07 PM
    Watch Out for Russian Wild Card in Asia-Pacific ( By John Lee | Australian

    Just before we were tucking into Christmas turkey and plum pudding, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev met his Indian counterpart Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in New Delhi to reaffirm what the Russian leader called a "privileged partnership" between the two countries.

    By contrast, Australia sees little role for Moscow in the future Asian balance of power, where the former superpower was mentioned in passing only twice in the 2009 defence white paper.

    But other countries are not making the same mistake.

    If India is the "swing state" in Asia's future balance of power, as a prominent CIA 2005 report put it, New Delhi is well aware that Russia remains the wild card in the region.

    Medvedev and Singh signed more than 20 agreements ranging from agreements to supply India with natural gas, reaffirming a commitment for a third Indian nuclear power plant to be built by Russian engineers, and the signing of a contract for the joint development of between 250-300 fifth generation fighter aircraft.

    Over the next 15 years, it is estimated that every second overseas nuclear reactor built by the Russians will be in India, while New Delhi could be the destination for more than half of all Russian arms exports in the next five years.

    It is no surprise that Russia is pulling out all the stops to court India.

    After all, its two main exports - energy and arms - are exactly what India needs.

    There is a long economic and strategic history of partnership between the two countries that began in the 1950s when the former Soviet Union and India became allies.

    But just as Moscow sees new opportunities in a rising India, New Delhi still sees value in a declining Russia.

    The problem for Russia is not just the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991 and a patchy commitment to economic reform after the Boris Yeltsin era, but a declining population.

    Russia has experienced periods of dramatic population decline before, from 1917-23, 1933-34 and 1941-46.

    Since 1992, and despite the absence of famine or war, Russian deaths have exceeded births by a staggering 13 million.

    With 141 million people now, numbers could be as low as 120 million by 2030.

    Nevertheless, there are strong reasons to believe that Russia can play the wildcard role in Asia's future balance of power.

    First, the common wisdom that Russia is moving closer to China in order to counterbalance America and its European and Asian allies and partners is incorrect, meaning that the Russian wild card is still very much in play.

    While Russia is preoccupied with regaining its influence in parts of eastern Europe, Moscow is also warily watching China's unauthorised movements into Siberia and the Far East.

    Beijing is about six times closer to the port city of Vladivostok than is Moscow, which has very weak administrative control over its eastern territories.

    Already, an estimated 200,000 to 500,000 Chinese nationals have illegally settled in these oil, gas and timber-rich areas.

    Beijing is also tempted by Siberia's freshwater supply, given that China already has severe shortages throughout the country.

    The Russian Far East is inhabited by only six million people, while the three provinces in northeast China have about 110 million Chinese inhabitants. By 2020, more than 100 million Chinese will live less than 100km to the south of these Russian territories, whose population will then number between five million and 10 million.

    As Medvedev recently admitted, if Russia does not secure its presence in the Far East, it could eventually "lose everything" to the Chinese.

    The point is that Russia will have as much reason to balance against China's rise as encouraging it. As the godfather of geopolitics, Nicholas Spykman, put it, the key is to control the Rimland (Western, Southern and Eastern) Eurasia.

    A small handful of long-sighted strategists in Washington, Tokyo, Moscow and New Delhi see potential for a grand alliance of convenience that can effectively constrain Chinese influence in Central, South and East Asia. How Russia plays its strategic cards in this context will go a long way in shaping Eurasia.

    That Russia may choose to tilt the balance against China in the future is also backed by diverging world views of these two countries.

    Should China continue its rise, Washington, Tokyo, New Delhi and Moscow will seek a favourable multipolar balance of power in Asia, even if it remains under American leadership.

    By contrast, China sees the coming regional and world order as a bipolar one defined by US-China competition, with powers such as the EU countries, Japan, India and Russia relegated to the second tier, something that is very difficult for a proud "Asian" power such as Russia to accept.

    Second, a declining Russia retains significant national and institutional strengths. For example, Russia will remain a legitimate nuclear military power with a large and pre-existing nuclear arsenal. It is also a genuine energy superpower and a global leader in advanced weaponry technologies.

    These factors all but guarantee Moscow a prominent position in the future strategic-military balance.

    Furthermore, Russia will retain its veto as a permanent member of the Security Council.

    Given the difficulty of reforming the council, Moscow will continue to exercise a disproportionate influence through the UN, even if it continues to decline as a country.

    Finally, Russia has that indefinable quality of seeing itself as a natural great power. This all adds up to Russia remaining a big player in Asia, with significant ability to influence, disrupt and complicate the plans of other great powers, even if it can no longer be dominant.

    New Delhi and Beijing believe that Moscow is well position to remain Asia's wild card.

    Australia should prepare for this as well.

    John Lee is a foreign policy fellow at the Centre for Independent Studies in Sydney and a visiting fellow at the Hudson Institute in Washington, DC.

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  • Cities and towns Edit Cities

  • hiralal
    06-19 10:10 PM
    here is a good prediction. for 5 years housing is going to be a lousy investment when you take inflation into account !!!
    to be honest, I would have bought a house this year because of tax credits ..but articles and predictions like this make me feel good. I guess those who are in similar situation can THANK USCIS for GC delays / visa wastage
    A "distressingly slow" U.S. housing recovery, with inflation-adjusted home values expected to decline over the next five years, makes it unlikely that housing wealth will drive consumer spending in the next decade, a Reuters/University of Michigan survey found.

    Consumers are apt to maintain their renewed emphasis on savings and paring debt, Richard Curtin, director of the survey, said in a June home price update Friday.
    "We expect prices to drop for another year and then stabilize before starting to rise with incomes," says Standard & Poor's Chief Economist David Wyss. Moody's predicts the S&P/Case-Shiller U.S. National Home Price Index, maintained by data specialist Fiserv, will fall about 16% this year before regaining ground.
    Another risk is that potential buyers will stay out of the housing market, no longer trusting in home appreciation to do their saving for them. Writes David Rosenberg, the former Merrill Lynch economist who is now chief economist at Toronto-based asset management firm Gluskin Sheff & Associates: "Baby boomers are still in the discovery process on oversized real estate being more of a ball and chain than a viable retirement investment asset." Rosenberg also is concerned that an aging population won't need the kind of big houses erected during the boom. "The high end of the market will be in a bear phase," Rosenberg says in an interview.

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  • Marphad
    12-17 09:39 PM
    Someone gave me red in extremely bad language on my mother that I can not even copy and paste here. This is really bad. It you have guts come and talk to me. Don't write bad words on my back.

    I am not concerned about red, the language was worse than uncultured.

    I am really upset with the language. Admins can read the comment if they wish.

    07-14 10:30 AM
    I already mailed the Letter to Visa Section, DOS with a request to allocate some Visa Number to EB-3(India) to help to reduce the wait time. Did not mention about EB-2 or any other thing. Just a Request for EB-3 (India).

    04-09 11:00 AM
    Why should others suffer because of consulting firms?
    You get a job at company A you work for them. When you move to company B that company does your H1B.. if required again. Why should company A do your H1B than the individual work for somebody else as "consultant". This has been going on for too long affecting everybody especially scientists and doctors and academic community. These consultants are delaying GC for us. The bill takes care of that problem and I think its fair.

    Also if the new bill requires repeating labor certification every time we move so be it. You are "best and brightest" correct.. prove it!
    Don't want to sound selfish, but I agree 100% on this. Where I am employed as a scientist, the employer took great pains to show that I have not displaced any American worker. In fact they have a whole file with documents that support this fact. If I move, my new employer will do the same. I am not scared of this provision in the H1B bill. If you are really the best, only then you deserve to get the job, and then you have no reason to fear this bill.

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