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Amol Sarva ’98CC Talks about the Struggles for Employers to Make H-1B Visas Work

There’s really no polite way to say this. When it comes to the H-1B system, the tech industry is pissed off.

“You know the fantasy of the H-1B opposition is that we’ll just hire more out-of-work coal miners and bring them to New York. And it’s not possible,” said Amol Sarva, a New York-based entrepreneur who’s helped found multiple startups, including Peek and Virgin Mobile USA. “They don’t have the skills or network or knowledge or background,” he said.

There are a lot of disagreements surrounding H-1Bs. Critics say jobs that should go to Americans are given away to cheap foreign labor. But Sarva said creating jobs is hard to do when you can’t hire the workers you need. Even worse, the rules surrounding H-1Bs are complicated. It’s so bad that when I call the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services Office to clarify the rules, the spokesperson there gets something wrong. She says when workers lose their visas, they have 10 days to leave the country, when really it’s 60.

And with President Donald Trump’s recent executive orders on immigration, what once seemed merely complex and onerous became labyrinthine and even threatening.

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