SMEC join hands with TechServe Alliance

About SMEC : SMEC is dedicated to assisting IT consulting companies in their businesses. From supporting IT consulting companies in delivery of services, fostering collaboration, minimizing credit risk, and sharing of best practices, SMEC is committed to preserving and enhancing the IT consulting business model.

About TechServe AllianceTechServe Alliance is a collaboration of IT services firms, clients, consultants and suppliers dedicated to advancing excellence and ethics within the IT services industry. TechServe Alliance's many proprietary products and services are built upon the collective knowledge, buying power, and action of hundreds of companies and tens of thousands of affiliated professionals, enhancing efficiency and supporting member companies in their delivery of best-in-class IT services to clients.

Since its formation 22 years ago, TechServe Alliance has also served as the voice of the IT Staffing and Solutions industry before policymakers. From it annual legislative conference in Washington, DC to daily monitoring of congressional activities, TechServe Alliance has had a highly successful record of representing industry interests. From creation of the Computer Professional Exemption under the Fair Labor Standards Act to testifying and advancing legislation on L-1B abuse that puts IT consulting firms at a competitive disadvantage, TechServe Alliance has been a forefront of many legislative and public policy battles.

SMEC and TechServe Alliance are again taking up the gauntlet on behalf of the industry interests on the H-1B Visa Issue. Since the abusive and burdensome tactics of USCIS, DOL and the consulates began, both TechServe Alliance and SMEC have been actively and independently engaged in efforts to change policy and practice. Through its representatives, TechServe Alliance has communicated the industry's grievances at the highest levels within DHS. However, much work remains to be done. We need you to join us at the Immigration Summit.

At the Summit, industry leaders will explore specific steps to combat anti-immigrant and protectionist actions emanating from the USCIS, DOL, and Dept. of State including:

  • Lobbying Efforts before Congress
  • Efforts underway to change USCIS Policy
  • Potential Creation of a Legal Defense Fund
  • Specific actions to raise industry standards; encourage rigorous compliance with rules
  • Potential Creation of IT Consulting Company Certification

New Special Guest Speaker: Prakash Khatri, Esq., former USCIS Ombudsman who is familiar with the inner workings of the agency.

We need your voice, participation and ideas. If you do not take action to protect your business, who will?

Please join SMEC and TechServe Alliance on October 10th in taking action to protect your business and preserve the IT consulting industry.

The Registration Deadline for the Immigration Summit  SMEC members is September 30, 2009. Registration fee for SMEC members is $295 for the Immigration Summitafter receiving a $200 discount (40%).

For additional information on the Immigration Summit including a detailed agenda please click here. To register for the Immigration Summit please visit Summit registration or call (732) 648-4039

We look forward to welcoming you to the Immigration Summit on October 10th.

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SMEC meet Senator Mr. Bob Menendez

SMEC join hands with TechServe Alliance

Small and Medium Enterprise Consortium meet Senator Mr. Bob Menendez on November 21st 2011

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

  1. The Department of State, USCIS and DOL uniformly recognize and honor conclusions reached on Wages, Approvals, Visa and Compliance matters,
  2. Enforcement authorities to recognize the fact that IT staffing and consultant companies are employers and not agents
  3. Recognition of market realities in the determination of prevailing wages
  4. 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.

Summary of meeting

Meeting with Ms. Kerri Sherlock Talbot Chief Counsel and U.S. Senator Robert Menendez.

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

Attendees:

  1. Ms. Kerri Sherlock Talbot, Chief Consul and US Senator Robert Menendez
  2. Mahender Musuku, Chairman, SMEC
  3. Kishore Ganji , President, SMEC
  4. Punnam Manthena, Secretary & Treasurer
  5. 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.

Points discussed:

  1. 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.
  2. SMEC explained her business model and the current pain points.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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:

  1. 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
  2. Consul will summon USCIS officials in few weeks and get a detailed report on the current immigration situation.
  3. Consul asked her to present examples of consular rejections.
  4. All the participants agreed to meet again in few weeks.