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House lawmakers propose to end H-1B visa lottery, eliminate country caps on Green Cards

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WASHINGTON (Diya TV) — Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-Calif.) and Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) are preparing to introduce legislation to Congress which would eliminate the H-1B visa lottery, and would also be rid of the country’s caps on Green Cards for those who hold advanced college degrees, two programs that have led to long waiting lines for people from India and China.

Currently, the U.S. government caps the amount of employment-based Green Cards that can be distributed each year at 140,000, with no more than seven percent from any given country. This has left many from India and China facing a waitlist, where the demand is highest.

Both Lofgren and Issa have been highly critical of the H-1B program’s wage rates — Southern California Edison, a utilities company, disclosed workers were training their replacements, leading Issa to opine the program “appears to be an example of precisely what the H-1B visa is not intended to be: a program to simply replace American workers en masse with cheap labor from overseas.”

“We can’t have people coming in an undercutting the American educated workforce,” Lofgren has been quoted as saying within recent years.

Today, the U.S. distributes its 85,000 H-1B visas through a lottery system, with the odds of winning being roughly one-in-three based on current demand. There were 236,000 visa petitions submitted this year.

The proposed legislation envisions distributing wages in a way that won’t tilt the H-1B visa to high-wage regions, such as Silicon Valley, Seattle and the Northeast corridor. It would keep a four-tier prevailing wage system, which accounts for pay differences by region and skill.

For example, the prevailing wage for a Level 1 database administrator in Los Angeles — someone with basic, entry-level skills — is $57,616. But the wage for a Level 4 employee, someone who is experienced and fully competent, is $108,992. In comparison, the prevailing wage for the same Level 1 employee in the state of Kentucky is $41,115 and $87,318 at Level 4 — $12,000 and $22,000 less than Los Angeles, respectively.

Lofgren and Issa’s proposal emphasizes a focus on wage levels — employers offering 100% or 200% over prevailing wage level will be in the strongest position to get a visa.

The bill would also raise the $60,000 salary that creates an exemption for H-1B dependent firms — mostly offshore IT service firms. Though the new wage level has yet to be set or determined, H-1B-dependent firms would be extended the courtesy of displacing U.S. workers, provided they pay at least the set wage. A master’s degree also creates an exemption, but that would be eliminated.

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Harvard to host 17th annual India Conference this February

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CAMBRIDGE, Mass. (Diya TV) — For the 17th year in a row, the graduate students at Harvard University will host an India Conference. It will take place during the weekend of February 15-16, 2020. Two days of exciting discussions through panels, mixers and networking will fill the halls of the Harvard Business School and Kennedy School of Government.

The theme for this year’s conference is Foresight 20/20 – a look at what to expect from India in 2020 and beyond. As one of the largest student led conferences in the USA, the Harvard India conference attracts the biggest headliners from every field – from politics, business, entertainment & the arts. And this year is no different.

India Conference
India Conference at Harvard

With more than 100 speakers and 1000 attendees, the conference promises to have something for everyone. This year’s biggest draw from the entertainment genre is veteran Bollywood actor and self proclaimed ambassador to India, Anupam Kher. Kher has a long standing list of accolades within the film industry. In addition to his acting roles, he has been a producer, director and teacher at his own acting school. Most recently he played the role of Dr. Vijay Kapur on NBC’s primetime drama ‘New Amsterdam‘.

Some other notable speakers this year include founder of the India Today Group, Aroon Purie, Indian Olympic athelete Dutee Chand, comedian and actor, Vir Das, partner at Softbanks’ Vision Fund Lydia Jett & politician and India’s ruling party (BJP)’s sherpa to the G20, Suresh Prabhu.

The harsh winter in Harvard doesn’t seem slow down or dull these brilliant minds in any way. The India Conference at Harvard continues to retain its standing as the conference of choice for deliberating issues ranging from technology, media, politics and eduction to creating solutions for India’s path towards global leadership. The event features brainstorming sessions and sincere discussions on the very real and large scale problems that are uniquely Indian.

Diya TV is a media sponsor to the event and will be on-site covering conference. To receive a 20% discount use code RDAY20 here and to know more about the conference or speakers, head to the IndiaConference.com

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Indian Ambassador, Shringla speaks to U.S. Congress about Kashmir

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AMB. Shringla speaks to congress about Kashmir | Diya TV News

WASHINGTON (Diya TV)  — Indian Ambassador to the U.S. Harsh Shringla met with members of Congress at a private roundtable briefing, hosted by Southern California Congressman Brad Sherman. Sherman, who has been a supporter of India, took to Twitter recently to share his concerns about Kashmir and said serious questions about Kashmir were asked at the briefing.

President Trump is being urged to fix the H1-B visa process and do away with country-specific limits, with the latest effort for reform being spearheaded by 60 U.S. business school deans and CEO’s.

In an earthquake, seconds matter. So on the anniversary of the deadly 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake that rocked Northern California, state officials announced the launch of America’s first statewide earthquake early warning system.

Tabla Maestro Zakir Hussain will be coming to Boston next month to perform at the Berklee India Exchange, where he will also be conferred with an honorary doctorate by the esteemed music school. A Zakir Hussain Scholarship at Berklee is also being established.

And we have incredible video of three kids from India rescuing their dog from a snake that’s equal parts courageous and nuts.

Ravi Kapur contributed to this report.

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Federal Court rules Trump must turn over tax returns | Diya TV News

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Trump Tax Returns

NEW YORK (Diya TV) — A federal judge ruled President Trump must turn over eight years of his personal and corporate tax returns to Manhattan prosecutors, striking down the President’s argument that a sitting president cannot be criminally investigated. The ruling was quickly appealed and this case could end up in the Supreme Court to answer the constitutional question of whether presidents can be charged with a crime.

Meanwhile, the President celebrated a victory by FCC Chairman Ajit Pai, as a federal appellate court upheld most of the FCC’s repeal of net neutrality. It also ruled the FCC cannot preempt state net neutrality laws, meaning the rules of the road in states like California remain in place.

The U.S. House Foreign Affairs Committee announced their Asia-Pacific and Non-Proliferation Subcommittee will be holding a hearing asking State Department officials and human rights activists to chime in on Human Rights in Kashmir, the Tamils of Sri Lanka, Muslims in Assam and the human rights situation in Pakistan, which includes the Sindh Province.

Lockheed Martin announced they will build F-16 wings exclusively in India, helping in integrating Indian industry into the $165 billion fighter aircraft market.

Ravi Kapur contributed to this report.

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