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Not Good Enough: Here is a denied H-1B visa case

H-1 B visa i-129


A recently published article in New York Times entitled “Is Anyone Good Enough for H-1B Visa” has raised some heated disputes among Americans and immigrants/international people.

USCIS: “You Are Not Good Enough” for H-1B

Frida Yu, a well-accomplished Chinese lady, has a law degree from Oxford University and an MBA from Stanford.  In her article, she states with anger and disappointment about her experience in being denied an H-1B visa.

After earning law degrees in China and at Oxford, after having worked in Hong Kong as a lawyer at a top international firm, after coming to United States three years ago for an M.B.A., graduating, and joining a start-up, I was given just 60 days to leave the country. I have 17 days left.

If I don’t have the skills to stay in the U.S., who does?

This article was published on Nov. 23, 2017, so this lady should be home in China by now.

Info and Background of Frida Yu

On Linkedin.com, the largest social media network for professionals, Frida Yu’s posts her education and work experience:

Education: 

  • Stanford University,  from 2014-16 for an MBA
  • Oxford University, from 2005-06 for an LLM degree
  • China University of Political Science and Law, from 2001-05 for a Law degree

Work Experience

  • Co-founder/US CEO/Senior Financial Analyst at minMax Optimization Inc., from July 2016 till now (1 year 7 months)
  • MBA summer associate at Formation 8, from August to September 2015 (two months)
  • Product Operations Intern at Baidu, Inc. from July-August 2015 (two months)
  • Strategy and Business Development Intern, from June-July 2015 (two months)
  • Assistant General Counsel, Legal and Compliance, from March 2013 to July 2014 (1 year and 5 months)

Law Degree + MBA+ Tech Company = H-1B?

The company that sponsored Frida Yu to apply for her H-1B is a California-based company called minMax Optimization, where she was the co-founder.  Let’s take a closer look at the company’s not-much-to-explore website at https://www.minmax.ai/ and her profile on Linkedin.com, you can realize why Frida Yu’s H-1B was rejected.

Careless Mistakes Cause Visa Rejection

Before Frida proudly asked “If I don’t have the skills to stay in the U.S., who does?” she should have researched which skills are needed most for this job market.  Frida made two mistakes in her H-1B petition.   First, she assumed her law and MBA degrees practically entitled to an H-1B visa.  Unfortunately, graduates with law degrees and MBAs have oversaturated the U.S. job market.   If an American law firm needs a lawyer, or a company needs an MBA graduate, they are more likely to hire an American with Chinese language skills before considering a Chinese national.  

Frida’s company’s website does not help her H-1B petition because it lacks substance. Her company’s description of their projects and services is vague at best.  Furthermore, three of the four company founders are Chinese nationals – one of them being a visiting professor at Stanford University.  Her website claiming that “minMax.ai is an optimization company founded in 2016 by a team of Stanford professors and alumni”  was well scrutinized by USCIS and likely determined that https://www.minmax.ai/  real purpose is to help her obtain an H-1B visa under false pretenses.

What Americans Say to Frida Yu

Here are some comments posted in response to Frida’s situation under “What About My Dreams, Frida Yu?”  on KeepAmericaAtWork.com:

1. If Americans like myself were able to pursue our dreams, there would not be any anti-immigrant sentiment.  BUT, we are not being given the opportunity to pursue our dreams because of an overwhelming tidal wave of non-immigrant guest workers.

2. Frida, You seem to ignore the critical fact here: You are Chinese !! While the United States has full diplomatic & varied other relations with China, our two nations are competitive, not friendly, States.

3. I also question why you are trying this hard just to get an H1B visa? Your country is boasting how strong they are and being US in many ways in their propaganda, with your credentials, you should have no problem getting a good future career if you return, better than staying at a place that you are not needed, America has the right to choose whoever they want t give visas to. Who are you to question our decision?

4. Ms. Yu is a lawyer – she does not possess rare hard-to-find skills that are part of the requirements for an H1B visa. She is not a “rare worker” – there are a lot of out of work corporate lawyers. Why does she have to stay here? The Chinese economy is booming – she can found her Fortune 500 hundred company back in her homeland.

Frida Yu’s article also resulted in over one hundred comments on New York Times’s Twitter that included these:

  1. My friend in corporate law gets 5 calls per day from other lawyers trying to find a job for their kid, new grad Lawyer market saturated.
  2. My advice is go back to your country and be the agent of change there.
  3. It’s not about just having a skill. It’s about having a skill that is needed. We’ve got more lawyers than we know what to do with in this country.

The moral of Frida’s plight is that one should follow an education plan that provides highly needed skills for a competitive market.  It’s also never a good idea to lie or exaggerate claims when applying for any job anywhere.  

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