By March, that the U.S. economy is faltering is not even a question. Its effects on visa holders such as Sanku and Lipi are disastrous. For the month of February, the INS reports approving 16,000 filings for H-1B visas. In February of the previous year, that number was exactly double at 32,000.
Lipi stays calm but mentally prepares to receive a pink slip. Contractors like herself will be the first to go, she knows. Some of Lipi's friends were among the 16,000 already laid off at Lucent. They scramble to find other jobs before they have to leave the country.
Such is the predicament of an H-1B visa holder;staying in the United States is entirely hinged to one employer, one job. For those who came in sponsored by so-called body shops, as Lipi did, the onus offinding employment rests with the sponsoring company. After all, in the eyes of the INS, the body shop is the employer. In the meantime, “the bench” grows ever more crowded.