December 7th 2011 : Summary of meeting with Ms. Kerri Sherlock Talbot Chief Counsel and U.S. Senator Robert Menendez (D-NJ)
The conference call was held with SMEC executive committee and Kerri Sherlock Talbot Chief Counsel and U.S. Senator Robert Menendez (D-NJ)
Meeting place: Conference call
Date & Time: 3:00 PM EST: on December 7th 2011
- Ms. Kerri Sherlock Talbot, Chief Consul and US Senator Robert Menendez
- Mahender Musuku, Chairman, SMEC
- Kishore Ganji , President, SMEC
- Punnam Manthena, Secretary & Treasurer
- Chandrasekhar, CAO - SMEC
Subject: Immigration concerns of SME IT consulting industry
Background: As a follow up to the issues raised in Senator meeting, Senator referred SMEC to his Chief consul who looks after immigration issues.
- At the outset, Consul Kerri expressed her eagerness to work with us in resolving SMEC IT consulting industry concerns. Kerri is an immigration attorney and worked closely with AILA. She is aware of immigration issues but she requested SMEC to explain our business model and also the immigration pain points of our industry.
- SMEC explained her business model and the current pain points.
- SMEC explained with examples the difficulties faced at Indian consulates. SMEC raised concerns on consulates and Department of State referring to USCIS internal memo. Also, pointed out about the court submission by USCIS that it was an internal memo and not a rule. However, considering the fact that it has been used by another agency, it seems that this is being used as an unofficial regulation contradicting USCIS position in the court.
- Explained the difficulties in complying to Neufield memo and also explained how this memo contradicts IRS and DOL regulations and against the tenants of common law of employee-employer relationship which was interpreted for insurance and other purposes.
- Consul asked what is our differentiation with other H1B sponsoring companies. We differentiated that our US workforce is 100% of our global work force. This is unlike other H1B sponsoring companies where their US workforce is less than 10% of their global workforce.
- SMEC informed that a company in SMEC is endeavoring to comply with Neufeld Memo requirements as far as possible. However, there are instances where the inherent nature of the IT staffing company business model precludes such firms from producing the documentation required by the Neufeld Memo.
- SMEC expressed its readiness to work with USCIS and other regulatory agencies in formulating the compliance framework and also help the agencies in weeding out bad apples.
The following are the action items from the meeting:
- Consul requested to submit a list of companies in NJ with related statistics and the projections in US for her to work on different classification
- Consul will summon USCIS officials in few weeks and get a detailed report on the current immigration situation.
- Consul asked her to present examples of consular rejections.
- All the participants agreed to meet again in few weeks.