November 21st 2011: SMEC Members Meeting with Senator Mr.Bob
On November 21, 2011 Senator Robert Menendez met with SMEC, its members and invited guests at The Royal Albert’s Place in Fords, NJ. Having identified Senator Menendez as one of the most influential legislators sharing a deep and abiding interest in immigration matters, SMEC’s objective at this meeting was to increase his awareness of the role of the IT staffing and consulting company business model, the benefits gained from their highly skilled H-1B immigrant labor force, and the visa related problems stemming from recent unprecedented, unwarranted and self-defeating enforcement activities against this vital economic sector.
At the meeting, Mahender Musuku Chairman SMEC, gave a presentation to Senator Menendez. Among the major topics emphasized were the need for
- The Department of State, USCIS and DOL uniformly recognize and honor conclusions reached on Wages, Approvals, Visa and Compliance matters,
- Enforcement authorities to recognize the fact that IT staffing and consultant companies are employers and not agents
- Recognition of market realities in the determination of prevailing wages
- More rational policies with regard to issuance of new, renewal, or extensions of H-1 B visas and reductions of ever increasing fees that unfairly compound due to ever shorter durations of approvals.
The points were also made about the many ways these companies benefit the US economy providing employment (directly and indirectly) to thousands of citizens, contributing through the payment of billions in taxes including social security taxes far beyond the benefits received there from and contributing more than a trillion dollars in consumer buying power. Mahender’s presentation was followed by various presenters giving specific examples of how these enforcement activities were taking an increasing toll on the viability of the staffing and consulting company business model (e.g. 221(g) detentions taking more than 9 months to be resolved).
At the end of the presentation Senator Menendez comments indicated he had great insight into the problems identified and an interest in helping establish a dialogue between the Department of State and USCIS. He also offered that his Legislative Counsel would soon schedule follow-up meetings with representatives of SMEC to explore other ways to assist.