Jaydev Ajit Kumar
I’m Jaydev Ajit Kumar, I was born in a small town in India, but I grew up traveling all over the country. My parents had a government job that required them to move every few years, and as a result, I studied in 7 different schools in 4 different cities, learning 4 different languages. Moving around and starting over was never difficult for me, I enjoyed making new friends, traveling and exploring new places.
However, when I decided to move to the US for my master degree, I was a little apprehensive. I had lived in India all my life and had the safety net of my parents, who could visit me in a few hours or a phone call. But moving to the US meant that I would be a few continents away from my family and friends. Once I moved here, my apprehensions quickly went away. I liked America! Everyone was welcoming, and I made friends from all over the world. I was also doing well in college and got offered a job from Google within a few months of starting school.
My first hurdle with immigration started when Google was applying for my work visa (H1B visa). The H1B visa allows people to legally stay in the US and work for a US company. But getting the H1B visa is very much like a lottery. If you are lucky and get picked from numerous other applications, you move ahead in the process. Otherwise, it’s time to pack up your bags and leave the country.
Even though I got picked in the lottery, my visa process was not very smooth. I was asked to show many additional documents to prove that I was qualified to work as a product designer, even though I had a masters degree from one of the best schools in the US and had already been working at Google for two years. The H1B process took a lot of time and effort, and I was extremely stressed the whole time. Even a small document that might be unclear to the immigration officer could make the difference between staying in the US or being asked to leave.
I faced similar visa challenges when I was changing my job. These challenges are not unique to me or my immigration case. Most of my friends who immigrated to the US face these issues regularly. We are aware that we will have to go through the cumbersome immigration process for the smallest changes in our jobs or work location.
A lot of immigrants come to America leaving behind friends and family, making a lot of sacrifices in hopes for better work opportunities. Many of the most valuable US companies today were started and built by immigrants. However, these days it seems like the US is turning more hostile towards immigrants, and the opportunities that were once available to anyone willing to work hard are increasingly getting harder to reach. There might soon be a time where talented and smart people will look to build their ideas elsewhere and then it might be too late to get them back.