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Many Questions - Please Help !!!

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  • Many Questions - Please Help !!!

    Hi All,

    Thanks a million in advance for reading through this email. I will be very grateful if I could get answers to atleast some of my queries below.

    I have many questions on my mind and I thought I would ask them all at once, so that I can have a clear understanding of H1-procedures, etc. Kindly bare with me and I hope that I can get answers to my questions.

    Just as a foreground :- I have a B.Tech from REC, India and M.S in Computer Science from US. Because of the market conditions after 9/11 I had to leave US in 2001. I came back to US again recently in November, 2004 through a consulting firm. This company processed my H1 and provides me salary unlike other consulting firms which work on a percentage basis with their employees. The company also agreed to pay me half of my salary when on bench. I joined a job in the first week of January, i.e I have been on bench for around 45 days during which period I was not paid by my current employer. Today is February 23, 2005, that means it is almost a month and a half since I
    have been working with this employer.

    Ok, here are the questions:

    1. I would like to know whether companies, i.e either consulting/contracting companies or software development companies are required to pay their employees the full salary regardless of whether the contractor is on bench or not. Is there any such law? Please note that my current employer states in its website that it is a software development and consulting company. My current company agreed to pay half of my salary when on bench, but that is just a word of mouth, even then, is it obligated to pay me the amount that it promised or according to law is it required by the company to pay me in full inspite of me being on bench. Also note that, though
    my current company states that it is a software development and consulting company, until now there is not a single sign that there is any software development going on in the company. Infact, he himself asked me a project proposal to show it to some visiting clients and I provided it to him.

    2. Before going to the consulate for stamping, my employer did not send me an offer letter, he sent me a soft copy that too only when I insisted and I took a color print out of that offer letter and went to consulate, fortunately there was no problem there. He scanned his signature and sent a soft copy. After arriving in US, somehow I forgot to ask him the original offer letter. Now, incase I need to apply for an H1 transfer in the future, will I require the original offer letter from my current employer, will the color print out that I took suffice for any issues involving my future employer or USCIS/INS? If I ask him to provide me an original offer letter now, he might have some doubts that I will quit. Do you recommend I request the original offer letter from him? Please advise.

    3. My employer's billing cycle is a 15-day billing cycle. Until now he has generated 3 pay-slips for me, but he is retaining the first pay-slip and says that it is the company policy to retain the first pay slip and he said that he will give it to me when I quit the company in the future. He is doing the same thing for all employees.

    3.1 Can he retain my pay-slip?

    3.2 Will he properly return my first pay-slip upon termination? If not, what should I do to get my first pay-slip?

    3.3 If I apply for a H1-transfer, how many pay-slips do I require to submit to my future employer and because my billing cycle is a 15-day billing cycle, please advise on the number of pay-slips that I need to hold before going for an H1 transfer.

    4. I want to search for a different job where I can get a decent and comparable pay for my qualification and expertise. My employer is currently paying 60k for me which I somehow feel that it is very less for my qualification. So, I plan to transfer my H1.

    4.1 Kindly let me know the process.

    4.2 If I apply for a transfer, is there anyway that my current employer will know anytime in the future, from the time I apply for a transfer, that I have applied for a transfer?

    4.3 How much time does it take to do a legal H1 transfer?

    4.4 When can I start working for my future employer after he applies for a transfer?

    4.5 What are the documents that I need to preserve to do a completely legal H1 transfer? Like for example, pay-stubs, offer-letter, LCA forms, my current I-797, etc.

    4.6 What is EAC number?

    I went to my employer to ask whether he will increase my salary, but he resented and somehow I pacified him on this. But I am sure that it is still running at the back of his mind. Do you think he can revoke my H1 soon after he recovers the amount that he spent on me?

    5. Before coming to US, my employer never mentioned about the contract or agreement, I went for stamping and came to US and everything went well, but soon after I landed in US and went to meet my employer, he wanted me to sign an agreement that I will stay with him for 18 months and that agreement had other clauses also that I should not work for any client with whom I have worked
    through my current employer for one year after termination from my current employer and such things. It also says that I need to pay him some amount incase I quit him before the end of the 12 month period. I told him that I will not sign the agreement but he pressurized me and somehow I made him agree for 12 months agreement. I signed the original agreement which had 18 months on it, but he striked off 18 and wrote 12 months with both of our initials against it and again he
    took a new printout having 12 months printed on it and he asked me to sign that agreement also. Later when I asked him about the first one, he said that he shredded it. Anyways,

    5.1 I want to know whether this agreement is valid?

    5.2 And I also want to know whether he can approach the court if I violate this agreement.

    5.3 Will he ask me to pay for travelling and accommodation expenses, if so what are the average charges to be paid in such a situation? I am planning to shift employer after 4 months since January i.e may be in April or May, so by then, my employer should have recovered the expenses that he spent on me, will he still ask me to pay for his expenses? If so, what should I do?

    5.4 If I don't want to violate the agreement and still want to change my employer, can my current employer relax the agreement? What are the chances that he will relax the agreement? Do you know of any such cases?

    6. As I have a Master's Degree in Computer Science and around 4 years of experience:-

    6.1 what are my chances of getting a good job which could pay me around 100k - 110k in today's market? My technical expertise is in Java and J2EE with WebServices. I am also Sun Certified Java Programmer.

    6.2 Can I get a permanent job in this market?

    6.3 Until when is the market is going to be hot like this according to your sources?

    7. Finally, what do you recommend for me to develop technically and personally inorder to achieve a good job which could fetch me around 100k - 110k or even more? Do you suggest working as a consultant or working as a permanent employee?

    I appreciate that you have read the complete email. I will be very grateful if you can answer my questions.

    Please reply to [email protected]

    Thanks and regards,