Employers meet in Royal Alberts palace, NJ

September 2nd : Employers meet in Royal Alberts palace, NJ

SMEC(Small Medium Enterpreneurs Consortium) organized IT consulting Employer's meet on Sept 2nd, 2009. Meet was successful with 45 companies participating in it. Meeting started at around 7:00 PM and went upto 10:30 PM. Guests and companies had a healthy discussion on current trends in consulting business. Here are the minutes of the meeting.

Venue Royal Alberts palace, NJ
Date Sept 2nd 2009 Time : 7:00 PM to 10:30 PM
Attendees 45 IT consulting companies


  • Upendra Chivakula - Hon'ble Assemblyman, State of NJ
  • Patrick Papalia - Attorney, Business Law, Labor and employment and litigation
  • Rohit Turkhud - Attorney, Immigration Law.

Agreed and action items:

  • General agreement on a common platform and on the following four points
    • Formulate common priniciples and guidelines
    • Immediately raise money to fund the organization
    • Necessity of long term lobbying
    • Exploring Business development opportunities
  • Adhoc committee was formed to raise the funds.
  • One can subscribe to the following yahoogroups -

Conference call with Rajiv Khanna

September 30 : Conference call with Rajiv Khanna

Call went successfully with around 50 companies participating in it. Rajiv Khanna explained the immigration trends in the last two months. He also explained how to deal with surprise visits from the regulatory authorities. He explained the nature of audits by each of the regulatory authority. He emphasized on do & don't, on what constitutes non-cooperation and what is our legal rights.

Meeting went for one hour with member companies asking questions about various practices in immigration. Meeting concluded on a note that SMEC need to organize these meeting regularly.


SMEC Members Meeting July 28th

July 28th 2011 : SMEC Members Meeting

We take this opportunity to invite all members and Guests to this interactive SMEC Meeting

This would be opportunity for the members to Network, Interact and know about the proposed plans of SMEC.

 Meeting Agenda
  • International Tax - special emphasis on US-India accounting & tax issues. By Mr. Cecil Nazareth ACA, CPA, and MBA
  • Discuss on the latest immigration issues which includes consular issues and priority datesconference call with Rajiv S.Khanna - Law Offices of Rajiv S. Khanna, PC

(We would like to follow the schedule as mentioned hence we request all the invitees to come on time to make it successful event).

Venue Conference Room- 2nd floor 50 Crag wood Rd South Plainfield, NJ - 07080
Date July 28th
Time 2.00 PM to 6.00 PM

Please confirm in advance your attending which facilitate in arrangements

InternationalTax Program: International Tax - special emphasis on US-India accounting & tax issues. Why you should attend? All Indian-Americans with foreign (outside the US) bank accounts in India Foreign Bank Account Reporting (FBAR) and financial and other assets IRS has imposed strict penalties for US citizens/residents for not reporting foreign bank information, financial asset and penalties as high as 50% of the bank balance and possible jail sentence for willful neglect. IRS fines and penalties collected is the highest in decades. Discussion Leader: Cecil Nazareth ACA, CPA, MBA - Indian Chartered Accountant & US CPA - Leading international accounting & tax expert. Advices CPA in US and CAs in India. One of the first Indian-Americans with Ernst and Young Agenda: International tax (Indo-US taxes)

  • International transactions and what you should know and who is watching you
  • India-US tax treaty
  • Undisclosed assets outside the US - especially India
  • Foreign bank account reporting (FBAR) -Stiff Penalties
  • FBAR Amnesty - Voluntary disclosure by August 31, 2011
  • Getting your global financial house in order - especially Indian assets including income producing assets

SMEC Members Meeting September 22nd

September 22nd 2011: SMEC Members Meeting

We take this opportunity to invite all members and Guests to this interactive SMEC Meeting

This would be opportunity for the members and guest to Network and Interact.

Meeting Agenda
  • Mr. R. RAMACHANDRAN Chairman & Managing Director Andhra Bank
  • Rising capital for business ventures -Mr. Vince Grillo Access Capital
  • OPT Compliances MR. Patrick Papalia, Esq from Archer & Greiner PC

(We would like to follow the schedule as mentioned hence we request all the invitees to come on time to make it successful event).

Venue 50 Cragwood Rd, Suite # 219, South Plainfield, NJ - 07080
Date September 22nd
Time 2.30 PM to 5.00 PM

Please confirm in advance your attending which facilitate in arrangements.


SMEC Members Meeting with Senator Mr.Bob

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

  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 December 7th 2011

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


  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.

Grassley Attacks IT Consulting Industry’s Business Model

One of the U.S. Senate's leading critics of the H-1B visa program, Sen. Charles Grassley (R-Iowa), is asking immigration officials to toughen their demands for evidence from companies hiring visa workers.

Grassley wants IT consulting companies that hire H-1B workers at third party client sites to prove that there is work waiting for them. The timing of his request to the U.S. Citizen and Immigration Service (USCIS) is no accident or is Grassley's interest.

About a year ago, Grassley released a USCIS study that found either evidence of fraud or other violations in one-out-five H-1B visa petitions.

His letter to USCIS Director Alejandro Mayorkas, released Tuesday, also comes just prior to the start of the new fiscal year, Oct. 1 and the release of 66,700 H-1B visas petitions, a number well short of the cap, applied for since April 1, the start of the annual petition process.

In a statement accompanying the release of his letter to Mayorkas, Grassley said, that "Employers need to be held accountable so that foreign workers are not flooding the market, depressing wages, and taking jobs from qualified Americans. Asking the right questions and requesting the necessary documents will go a long way in getting out the fraud in the H-1B program."

Five months after USCIS completed its fraud study, federal officials arrested about a dozen people and charged with fraud. One of the cases involved a New Jersey company, Visions System Group Inc. alleged to have set up shell offices in Grassley's home state. The U.S. recently expanded the case; the company is fighting the charges in federal court.

Grassley said in his letter that the USCIS should be asking, "companies up front for evidence that H-1B visa holders actually have a job awaiting them in the U.S.," and not end up being "benched," or unpaid until work is found.

Grassley is also seeking information on the progress the USCIS has made on a number of other issues addressed in the fraud report, including job duties that differ from those described in the petition and failure to pay prevailing wages.

In response, a USCIS official said Mayorkas has received the letter and will respond to it.

Grassley's call for tougher steps comes at the same time that some immigration attorneys have complained of stepped up enforcement efforts this year, especially with request for more evidence to support a petition.

Grassley, along with U.S. Sen. Richard Durbin (D-Ill), have introduced legislation that would toughen the rules on H-1B program, and impose a number of restrictions, especially on Indian firms and their ability to use large numbers of visa holders without hiring a proportional number of U.S. workers.

The U.S. can issue up to 85,000 H-1B petitions under the cap, with 20,000 set aside for advance degree graduates of U.S. universities. IT employment is down generally, and with it, demand for the visa.