A group of about 70 Indian nationals are suing the US government alleging their H-1B visa applications were unjustly denied due to fraudulent activities committed by their employers.
These individuals were part of a training program for foreign graduates from US colleges and universities. Although they had no direct involvement in their employers’ fraudulent actions, they suffered the consequences when their visa applications were rejected.
This has led them to initiate a lawsuit in a federal district court in Washington state, seeking justice for the unjust treatment they’ve experienced, techgig.com reported.
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The plaintiffs argue that the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) wrongly denied them H-1B specialty occupation visas without affording them the opportunity to address the allegations of fraud.
The graduates are urging the court to overturn DHS’ decision, enabling them to respond to the fraud claims before any determination on their eligibility for admission to the US is made.
The lawsuit contends that DHS overstepped its authority and violated the Administrative Procedure Act by branding the plaintiffs as inadmissible without proper evidence or due process.
Additionally, the agency’s failure to notify the visa applicants of the actions against them is considered a procedural lapse, further emphasizing the importance of fair treatment.
Many foreign graduates opt for the Optional Practical Training (OPT) program, which allows them to work in the US for a limited period after completing their studies.
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This initiative is especially appealing to STEM graduates who seek to establish their careers in the country while pursuing extended visas like the H-1B. However, the plaintiffs’ affiliation with certain IT staffing companies has led them down a convoluted path, tainted by allegations of employer fraud.
These graduates worked for four IT staffing companies — Andwill Technologies, AzTech Technologies LLC, Integra Technologies LLC, and WireClass Technologies LLC — which were approved participants in the OPT program.
Despite this, the companies were later found to be involved in fraudulent activities. The graduates are now striving to demonstrate their innocence and overcome the detrimental impacts of their employers’ actions.
READ: H-1B visa can be restrictive for career path (February 25, 2023)
Siddhartha Kalavala Venkata, one of the plaintiffs, experienced the repercussions firsthand. Employed through the OPT program, he faced visa denial due to his former employer’s actions, techgig reported.
Struggling with this unfair treatment, Venkata and others like him are demanding a chance to respond to allegations, ensuring that their dreams of building a life and career in the US are not unfairly dashed.