VISA on Arrival for Indians at Dubai, UAE

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Indian passport holders with a valid American visa or a Green Card will now be eligible to obtain a UAE visa on arrival, as per the decree approved by the UAE Cabinet. The decision to have a simplified visa process is aimed at advancing the UAE-India relations in economic, politics, and trade. It also contributes to achieving UAE’s vision to be the leading country in attracting global tourism. The visa will be valid for 14 days, with a single extension possible for a fee.

“Citizens of the Republic of India who are holders of normal passports with a six-month, or more, valid green card or visa issued by the United States of America shall be granted entry visas to the UAE from all ports for a period of 14 days, subject for a single renewal for the same period upon payment of applicable fees,” an official statement said.

Lots of queries were present in connection with this. Thought of writing this post to transfer the experience gained in obtaining the VISA.

I travelled to Dubai, United Arab Emirates in Emirates Airlines which landed in T3.

Upon arrival after crossing the connections wing advanced to the Arrivals Immigration. To my left, there was Marhaba Services counter.

Since the time which I landed was very odd, there were the only couple of people in the queue. The lady at the counter got my passport, checked my USA Visa validity and asked for 120 Dhirams (Approx 32 USD). I said I don’t have cash, and she said she can accept VISA / MasterCard / American Express cards. How lucky I was!

She got it and put a sticker on the receipt and asked me to proceed with the Visa on Arrival counter.

And, yes that’s it. They stamped my Passport and I entered into Dubai, UAE where I can spend up to 14 days. But I am bound to some work back in Country, so will be leaving in 2 days.

To clear for many people, B1/B2 US Visa is valid for entry into Dubai. Heard from the staffs that Indian Passport Holders with valid UK or EU Visa more than 6 months are also allowed to enter into Dubai for 14 days and the same process is applicable.

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Pondicherry – Get Drunk with right Person

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Gandhi Statues Pondicherry Puducherry Kokula Krishna Hari K

Gandhi Status at Pondicherry Beach

 

Ah, the title maybe slightly grumpy, but it is quite a big reality. Pondicherry (Puducherry) is a Union Territory located near Chennai. Today even most of the kids when we say this name, it turns them magical to enjoy the peaceful, ambient and serene beach environment. Not only limited to this, Pondicherry was a French Colony and you could smell the french fragrances each and every corner of the city.

Alongside it is also famous for the Alcohol especially the Port Wine which comes in a wrapper has its own pulling power. For people like me, who don’t even drink also this Wine pulls with its sweetness and low alcohol rate. Apart from this wine, there are many brands and types of Alcohol which are comparatively cheaper in Pondicherry putting the list against Chennai, Tamil Nadu or Bengaluru, Karnataka. The weekends are fully invaded by the Tourists and Pondicherry welcomes them alike their home. The taste of French is still there in the hearts and souls of the Pondicherry people.

The confusion between Pondicherry and Puducherry is there for people who still visit us and to clarify it simply, the city is called Pondicherry and the Union Territory comprising Pondicherry, Karaikal, Mahe and Yanam are called Puducherry. So coming to the core again; people from other states come here and booze out like something. I have personally seen tonnes and tonnes of people who visit Pondicherry only for getting boozed. Moreover when they see the cheap prices, even when they aren’t addicted, they tempt to be addicted because of the quality.

Last weekend, I happened to be at an event near the beach and returned home at around 1 AM, saw a high-end vehicle (Audi A8) bearing Chennai Registration number. It was parked in a way that it feels bit clumsy and not in a usual way. Thought I had a passage to pass through, thought of checking out what happened. Saw 4 people from that car who were out of vehicle trying to pull 1 guy from the ground among them. Literally taken back and thought of returning, but saw a girl among the 4 and it was a mid-dark night. Even the girl was totally drunk and had strongly smoked. Will coin them as B1, B2, B3 and G1 representing Boy with B and Girl with G. The B1 on the ground is the driver of the car it seems and others don’t possess a valid license. All the 4 were equally drunk and not in the position to drive the car. When I was absolutely near them I noticed that the dress of B1 is completely disturbed because of his continuous attempt to make himself steady. With a little bit of sense, the G1 was adjusting B1’s dress and this is LIVE on Facebook through B1, B2 and B3’s mobile while B2 was holding two mobiles and publishing it.

Got terribly angry and brought their car nearby and loaded them like my Travel Bag and thankfully found a business card of the hotel they were staying. I am well known in that hotel and on seeing me they enquired about the happening and I said, they deputed some staff to collect the 3 guys from the car and landed them in their room. The girl was little bit OK to walk on reaching the hotel and she had a turbulent walk which was perfectly fine. I wanted to slap those guys to getting too much drunk, but still some instinct said not to. Next day evening I got a call from the hotel saying that those guys wanted to meet me and they were pestering for the Video Footage and my contact number atleast. I said I will meet them in the restaurant at 7 PM.

I went to the hotel at 7 PM and order a coffee and B1 and G1 came to the restaurant and they were quite highly emotional. It was G1’s birthday on that day and B1’s birthday the day before when they were drunk. Gave some short advise and was about to leave, suddenly thought about the two other guys. On asking this he explained a big story of their parents thrashing B1 and G1, so they have asked B2 and B3 to leave it seems.

Finally, while I was leaving I said, getting drunk occasionally is perfectly fine, but ensure that all the mates in that group have the proper attitude and loyalty. When these ingredients are missing, then getting drunk with them is a big risk!

New H1B Bill – USA Entry Game

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Recent days, I am quite engaged with various activities around the world and the time allocated is thinning day by day!

The recent H1B Bill “High-Skilled Integrity and Fairness Act of 2017“ introduced in the house by Rep. Zoe Lofgren, have been blown out of proportion and creating confusion and anxiety in many current and prospective H1B visa holders. Due to the same timing of both of the executive order and H1B bill news, they are combined and facts are misinterpreted by many news agencies, which is the sole reason for the confusion. We will try to articulate the reality to clear all the confusions.

First, let’s look at both of the news separately. If you have not read, first read Leaked Executive Order on H1B, L1 Visa by Trump. Now, Let’s look at the other news. Below is the summary of the H1B 130K Bill.

Short Summary of the H1B Bill 130K – High-Skilled Integrity and Fairness Act of 2017

  • Immigrant Visas ( Green Cards ): Eliminate the per country cap for employment-based immigrant visas and also raise the per country cap for family-sponsored immigrant visas from 7% to 15%
  • H1B Program Changes: For H1B Dependent Employer, increase the current wage exemption level from $60,000 USD to about $130,000 USD or higher, which is set based on 35 percentile points over the median of annual wage for “Computer and Mathematical Occupations (Group 15-0000)”. Basically set at 85 percentile points. The key thing to note is, it only applies to H1B Dependent Employers. Also, eliminate the master’s degree exemption for H1B Dependent employers.
  • Transparency for H1B Holders: Employers should provide immigration paperwork to H1B visa holders within 3 years from the date the petition was filed. I believe, this is to avoid employers locking H1B holders and treating them unfairly as they hold H1B, Green Card paperwork.
  • Change Prevailing Wage System for H1B LCA: Increase the prevailing wage requirements by replacing Level 4 wage system to a 3-level wage formula.
  • Market-Based H1B Visa Allocation: prioritise allocation of H1B Visas based on who pays more. First Priority to employers who pay 200% over Level 3 prevailing wage, then 150% of Level 3 prevailing wage. Next Priority to employers who pay 200% over Level 2 prevailing wage, then 150% of Level 2 prevailing wage, similarly for other levels. Also, no voluntary authorizations by employees to pay reduced wages, the employer has to pay full wages all the time.
  • H1B Visa for Small and Startup Employers: Reserve 20% of the H1B cap for small and startups with 50 or fewer employees. Such employers cannot put their employees at third party site for more than 30 days.
  • Visa Provisions for Students, Other Visa Holders: Provide dual intent for F1 students status, so that they are not denied visas based on potential immigrant option. Also, provide employment and travel authorization for such visa holders with approved employment-based petitions waiting for their Green Card.
  • Paperwork Burden & Enforcement: Remove administrative cost to employers eliminating the need to file H1B amendment with USCIS upon work site change, if they have filed LCA for the new place. Also, USCIS to provide H1B violations data to DOL for investigations and enforcement.

Now, Where is the confusion of 130K Wage?
Many ignore the caveat called H1B Dependent employer, which is the big trick (see below).The wage increase of 130K applies only to H1B Dependent Employers. The 130K wage is based on the fact of 35 percentile points over the median of annual wage for Computer and Mathematical Occupations (Group 15-0000) for 2015, basically set at 85 percentile points. Below is the table from Department of Labor.

Percentile / Hourly Wage / Annual Wage

10% / $20.12 / $41,850

25% / $27.94 / $58,120

50% / $39.15 / $81,430

75% / $52.64 / $109,490

90% / $66.55 / $138,420

So, Who is an H1B Dependent Employer? What’s the reality?
An employer is H1B Dependent if they have

  • 25 or less full-time employees and at least 8 of them are H1B workers.
  • 26 to 50 full-time employees and at least 13 of them are H1B workers.
  • 51 or more employees, of which 15% or more of the employees are H1B Workers.

This, not something new, usually this is an option in the LCA for the employer to fill when they file LCA with Dept of Labor. Below option in LCA application( page 4) is what employers usually check if they an H1B dependent employer. The screenshot is from Infosys LCA Postings. If you check LCAs of Accenture, it is not an H1B Dependent. You can read the Official Factsheet on DOL Website on H1B Dependent Employer

If you look closely, except few large outsourcing Indian MNCs and IT Bodyshop consulting companies in US, many large global companies do not even fall under H1B dependent employer. So, NOT to panic everyone, this 130K does not apply to every single H1B petition.

There are some provisions proposed on changing prevailing wage levels from 4 Levels to 3 Levels like below, but it will not really change all the prevailing wages to 130K USD. This wage is mentioned in LCA and you can read What is LCA and Why it is required. I will cover the details of the below formula in another article and how it change numbers across and assess the impact.

Old Formula (4 Levels)

Level 1 = approximately the mean of the bottom 1/3 of wages surveyed.

Level 2 = just under the mean of the bottom 2/3 of wages surveyed.

Level 3 = just under the mean of all wages surveyed.

Level 4 = approximately the mean of the top 2/3 of wages surveyed.

New Formula (3 Levels)

Level 1 = mean of bottom 2/3 of wages surveyed.

Level 2 = mean of all wages surveyed.

Level 3 = mean of top 2/3 of wages surveyed.

That’s the summary folks, hope it clarifies and it is clear now. Do not panic.

Whats the current status on the H1B Bill? Is it Passed in 2017?
It was just introduced in the House on Jan 24, 2017. As of now, the Bill has no co-sponsors and the representative is from the Democratic party, which is opposition now to Trump administration. The odds of getting this bill passed as is are very slim. There are other H1B bills too, we have H1B Bills Tracker under Trump for high-level info. It has official links for you to check status. Nothing will happen overnight, so stay tuned.

Any other points that I missed? Any other confusions?

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