h-1b process change trump h-1b process change trump h-1b process change trump

President Donald Trump, the 45th POTUS, took charge on January 20th with multiple clouds of apprehension about the policies that he had promised to implement. With the Executive Order (EO) on January 27th restricting immigration from 7 countries, these apprehensions looked to be materializing sooner than expected. With the number of students applying for higher education in the US at an all-time high, and increasing at a rapid pace, the EO on immigration and President Trump’s comments on visa misuse and outsourcing of American jobs have led to several furrowed brows. Since January 2017, three separate bills were proposed to amend the current H-1B system by Senators Chuck Grassley and Dick Durban, Representative Darrell Issa and Representative Zoe Lofgren. These proposals vary in approach with respect to the priority, degree requirements and minimum salary requirements. For example, Senators Chuck Grassley and Dick Durban have recommended elimination of the lottery system and priority given to foreign students educated in the US. Representative Zoe Lofgren has proposed a market based allocation system wherein individuals who are offered the highest salaries will be awarded the H1B visa first. The intent is to prioritize issuance of employment visas for individuals with specialized skills.

Much is written in the press with respect to Representative Zoe Lofgren’s proposals is her Highly Skilled Integrity and Fairness Act of 2017. This Act suggests market based priority allocation to those companies willing to pay a minimum of 200 percent of the wage calculated by a survey (amounting to approximately US$130,000) and raises the minimum salary level for H-1B dependant employers that are exempt from non-displacement and recruitment attestation services to a wage level that is 35 percentile points higher than the median national annual wage or approximately USD$132,000 for Computer and Mathematical Occupations published by the Department of Labour Occupational Employment Statistics.   She has further recommended withdrawal of the Master’s degree exemption for H-1B dependent companies.

For any of these proposals to be enacted into law, these bills have to be passed through the House of Representatives and Senate and signed by President Trump. Though it is quite clear that there will be changes to the existing H1B regulations, it is unclear which of the proposal(s) will be documented in the final bill. Rest assured that the bill will be thoroughly discussed with significant lobbying happening on the side lines. Already, Mr. Vikas Swaroop, spokesperson of the Ministry of External Affairs, Government of India, has raised his concerns about H1B and L1 proposed changes, which have been conveyed to the US at the highest levels.

In addition to the above, another pressing concern that students expressed was regarding the OPT policy that the new administration is likely to adopt. A series of unauthenticated tweets by a PhD student sparked rumours about Trump government’s intention to cancel the OPT provision, or roll-back the extensions made under President Obama’s government. However, upon careful study of the proposed Executive Order —, one notices that the EO nowhere mentions OPT (which is covered under the F1 visa). Neither does the document contain any statement calling for a roll-back of the OPT extension.

We must at this point adopt a wait and watch approach with respect to the contours of the final bill. In the meantime, we recommend every student to continue with his/her plans and make a final decision at the appropriate time. It is expected that the final bill will be legislated before the next H-1B season, which is in April. Till then, let’s hold our horses and not jump to any hasty conclusion.


Columbia University

Columbia University | Student Feedback

Hi Neha and Jimeet Sir, Columbia University

Hope you are doing great! I would love to help out students applying for MS in CS at Columbia. Sorry I couldn’t reply sooner, I was busy with college work. It’s terribly hectic out here.

So let’s see.. Columbia University

  1. About the course – Think twice before applying to Columbia for MS in CS. If you are not passionate about CS or just applying because it’s an Ivy League school or because it’s New York or whatever, YOU WILL SUFFER. I have seen people crying (literally) here. Columbia University

I have never worked so hard in my life ever before, but the end result is just fabulous. I have learned more in the past 6 months here, than in my entire 4 years in under-grad. 4 courses in one semester takes a big toll on you.

Teachers are GOD-level. I feel so blessed to be a student of such amazing professors. They are very warm, they LOVE their students and help them out in every way.

Courses are again fabulous, because professors are soo great. Believe me, if you hated algorithms or programming languages and translators back in undergrad, you will end up loving it here. There are some light courses, some heavy ones. It’s quite essential to balance things out here.

I am currently enrolled in the Machine Learning track here. You will find some of the best professors and courses if you are interested in machine learning. But let me warn you, most people apply for ML just because it’s a buzz word and everyone talks of it nowadays. It’s not easy!! It is a lot of math and stats. If you are even remotely disinterested in it, consider other options. I know a lot of people who have switched tracks after coming here, because ML was just not their game. There are some really amazing courses for NLP, Networks and Security, Distributed Systems and Vision as well.

  1. Desi-folks are plenty in number. Roughly 100 Indians in CS department only. That’s because we rock! 🙂
  1. I would say ~35% Chinese, ~35% Indians, rest from Japan, Chile, France, Spain, Korean, Taiwan and more..almost none from US. I know only a couple of folks from US.
  1. University follows a semester system.  Columbia University
  1. If you are a fresher (like I am), be prepared to be mentally and physically stressed out, because getting internship is not easy. You will see tons of companies coming every week and that is quite reassuring, but you will almost always be ignored when compared to kids with work-ex. And by work-ex I mean Flipkart, Samsung, Google, Cisco etc. So it is not a piece of cake unlike those Infosys/TCS interviews back in India.

On a positive note, I have seen a lot of my friends get in Microsoft, Facebook, Google, Twitter, Factual, Zynga, Amazon etc. and being in Columbia means these companies will come to you first before they go to other colleges. The career fair Columbia had last year saw more than a 100 hundred companies. Students from Brown, Yale and NYU came to Columbia to visit our career fair, so you will have a lot of company names flying around daily.

  1. I have not seen anyone do anything off-campus ever. Campus is the best place to be and you will not get more opportunities off-campus than you will on-campus.
  1. Columbia career fairs are a bit late. In fall its around October and in Feb during spring. Another lovely thing about Columbia is that there is a separate career fair that brings only start ups. New York city has the highest number of start ups after SF obviously. So you will have that advantage as well.
  1. 195 Claremont Av, Carleton Arms Riverside Drive, 156 Claremont Av. These are locations of University apartments where some of my MS friends stay. Obviously there are soo many more.
  1. $700 – $1200.  Columbia University
  1. Be ready to get ripped-off in every possible way. Roughly, monthly expenses come to $1000+ even when you have tried to live like a beggar. It can go much more depending on where you eat, where you stay, how much alcohol you have and whether you like to randomly book limousines just because.. 😛
  1. C-Town Supermarket: SASTA AUR ACCHA ( Big Bazar 😀 ), MET/METs: student discount (not on milk apparently, which is the only thing I end up buying from there usually 😛 ) and Fairway (you will find everything here and its best quality but a slight bit expensive). Other honorable mentions: Morton Williams, Rite Aid, Duane Reade, Thrifty supermarket, Patel Brothers (New Jersey and Queens) and Fresco (Online store for desi food items (it’s a life saver)).

Tip: dhaniya is called cilantro here. Took me a while to figure that out.

  1. As I said, be ready to get ripped off while you are in New York City. There are no student discounts on any public transport. Buses and Metros are awesome and all you could probably need for transportation. Columbia students have one benefit though, a shuttle runs in the entire campus periodically and usually comes handy if you have to leave for home late in the night.

Oh, if it’s too late in the night, Columbia patrol cars/Public Safety (ASTON MARTINS :O ) will also drop you home if you show your ID and act like a helpless and lost soul. 😛

  1. None near the campus. Patel Brother’s is a 45 min train ride to Queens. Another one in New Jersey, where I haven’t been to ever. I would recommend ordering online from Fresco (Awesome desi-food at your doorsteps) !!
  1. It’s MANHATTAN..Food everywhere!!…Halal Food Trucks, Roti Roll, Chapati House, Tom’s Pizza, Masala Club, Doaba Deli, M2M, Uris Deli (In-campus canteen (awesome food btw)), Koronets (HUGE PIZZAS), Absolute Bagels, lots of other food trucks etc..

Oh there is a food truck that gives south-indian as well 🙂 Columbia University

  1. Riverside Park, Central Park, Morningside Park, Lovely pier on the Hudson river. Riverside Park is my favorite. It has multiple football courts, basketball courts, beach volleyball area, ping pong tables, skateboarding and bmx rinks if you are into that, tennis courts, street gyms, and a lovely view of the hudson river.

Then there are places downtown like Brooklyn Bridge, Empire State, One Word Trade Center, Rockafeller Center, etc..the usuals…

By the way you won’t get to hangout on weekends with friends if you are doing CS.

  1. Min: -15 degree Celsius, Max: 30+ degree Celsius Columbia University
  1. Everything. Actually sunny, winter, rainy and windy are not enough to describe the climate here. Add snow, hail, blizzards, humid, hot and pleasant to it as well.

It is in fact one of the best experiences of my life. I don’t think you will face any problems if you are coming here to learn and grow. I have met some really incredible people here and I cannot emphasize on that enough. Undergrads here are way more smarter than MS students and you will have them and other PhD students in your class. There is knowledge and opportunity everywhere here, you should just have your priorities straight and have correct attitude.

If you want to party in US, do not apply for CS here.

I know the tuition and rent and everything is quite exorbitant here, but trust me you will recover it very soon. Every penny is worth it here and you could not ask for more from a MS program. And lastly, feel free to drop me a mail any time if any one has any doubts regarding Columbia/NYC in general or the CS/DS program here.

I will write another mail later regarding what all you should prepare/study before coming here soon.

Until then, good luck everyone. Columbia University

Stream Change After Graduation

Stream Change After Graduation | MS in US

Overtime, of your graduate studies, you may find that your interest in your chosen field of study is waning and that your real passion lies in a different field in which you don’t have any professional experience. What do you do then? Continue studying in the field that you know you don’t wish to pursue? Or make a change and switch to a field that is aligned with your interests? Is it possible to transition from one field to the other? The answer is yes. Getting a master’s degree in a field that is different from your undergraduate degree is challenging, but not impossible. Changing streams after graduation can be tricky, but is certainly possible and in no way hinders your chances of a successful career.  The switch should be made only after doing a detailed research and careful analysis. Here are a few pointers that will help you to make a smooth transition from one stream to the other. Stream Change After Graduation

  1. Take advise from current professors Stream Change After Graduation

Professors are available to facilitate your success and wish for your well-being, and it is always a good idea to talk to them regarding their opinions about changing fields. However, you need to convince them that switching fields is in your best interest. They may either advise changing fields or enlighten you to new avenues of exploration in your current field. Their valuable advice is sure to help you accomplish your goals.

  1. Take up related courses Stream Change After Graduation

Let’s assume that you have a bachelor’s degree in accountancy, and you wish to pursue a master’s degree in healthcare management. To ensure that you can easily transition to a new course, take up courses in healthcare and science before joining the new course. Doing so will give you firsthand experience and will enable you to gain practical insight into the field. Mentioning this on your transcripts will prove that you have some knowledge about the new field, and will also reflect well on your profile.

  1. Take up an internship related to your new field to gain experience

An internship experience which is closely related to your new field is advantageous as it will make the transition smoother. Also, the first-hand experience gained in the field will have a positive impact on your profile. A recommendation letter from a professional in the field you wish to switch to will be a positive point for your application. Stream Change After Graduation

  1. Become familiar with the language of the field Stream Change After Graduation

Learning to speak the language of your new field is time-consuming, but will indubitably create a positive impression for you. Being able to converse eloquently and confidently about the various concepts in your field will help you to come across as knowledgeable and credible. Students must aim to become familiar with the professional jargon used in their prospective career by indulging in extensive reading. If you demonstrate that you have the ability to converse well on the subject despite no prior background in that field, then the admission committee will review your application in a positive light. The most effective way to bring this to the notice of the admission committee is to mention this is in your statement of intent, or your admissions essay.

  1. Use your admission essay to convince the admission committee

The committee is interested to know that you are a good fit for the program. Therefore, the main focus while preparing your application should be on demonstrating how your educational background and experiences specifically match the needs of the new program. Through the admission essay, you must convince the admission committee about your genuine interest in the field. Write about the courses you have taken or experiences that illustrate your interest or competence in the intended field of study. Explain the reason for making this transition and how despite being new to the field, your past experiences and background will help you to meet the university expectations and career goals. Stream Change After Graduation

The above pointers will definitely help you to have a stress-free and smooth start in your new field.  Stream Change After Graduation



Following is the complete step-by-step visa application procedure:

The Visa process in India takes an average of 3 weeks. As per the Visa Office instructions, it is advantageous to initiate the process 3 months prior to the proposed date of traveling. The following link provides information about the documents that are needed to be kept handy before you begin the application process:

  1. Medical Check-Up
  2. Police Clearance Certificate
  3. Application Package
  4. Application Fee
  5. Submit the application

After the application process is completed, if your application is approved:

  • A letter of introduction will be sent to you confirming the approval. This letter is not your study permit. Bring the letter of introduction with you to show to immigration officials at the point of entry when you arrive in Canada.
  • A visitor visa (temporary resident visa) will be issued in your passport. The expiry date on this visa indicates the date by which you must enter Canada. You must enter Canada before your visa expires. The visa will also indicate if you can enter Canada only once (a single-entry visa) or if you can enter Canada multiple times (a multiple-entry visa)

Upon getting your Visa, the following link will explain the various aspects that you need to be vigilant about as you prepare to travel to Canada:

about the toefl exam

About the TOEFL Exam

What is TOEFLAbout the TOEFL Exam

Students who wish to study abroad in an English-speaking country are required to take a TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language). This test assesses one’s ability to speak and understand English by analyzing his/her English language skills in terms of reading, speaking, listening and writing. It evaluates how well one can combine these skills to perform well in academic tasks. TOEFL is accepted as proof of English proficiency across 9,000 colleges and it is conducted more than 50 times in a year by Educational Testing Service (ETS) – a US-based non-profit organisation. About the TOEFL Exam

TOEFL test format: About the TOEFL Exam

TOEFL has two versions: TOEFL IBT (Internet-based Test) and TOEFL PBT (paper-based test). Both the versions of TOEFL test has four sections- Reading, Speaking, Listening and Writing and takes about 4-hours to complete. Students can retake the TOEFL test as many times as they wish. It uses both human raters and automated scoring methods for evaluating a student’s performance.

  1. Reading Section– It consists of questions based on 4-6 passages, each approximately 700 words in length. The passages are based on academic topics, and it tests the student’s understanding of concepts such as cause-effect, compare-contrast and argumentation. 36 to 56 questions are asked in this section which must be answered within 60-80 minutes.
  2. Listening section– It consists of questions on six passages which are 3–5 minutes in length. It includes two student conversations and four academic lectures or discussions. Each conversation and lecture passage can be heard only once. Students are allowed to take notes while they listen, and they may refer to their notes when they answer these questions. The questions measure the ability of the student to understand ideas, important details, implications, organization of information, the speaker’s purpose as well as attitude. 34-51 questions are asked in this section which must be answered within 60-90 minutes.
  3.  Speaking section– It consists of six tasks: two independent and four integrated, which must be completed within 20 minutes. In the two independent tasks, students answer opinion questions on familiar topics. They are evaluated on their ability to speak spontaneously and convey their ideas clearly and coherently. In the four integrated tasks, students are required to read a short passage and listen to an academic course discussion or a conversation about campus life and answer the questions based on what they read and heard. In the integrated tasks, students are evaluated on their ability to effectively convey information from the reading and listening material. Students can take notes as they read and listen and can also refer to them while preparing their responses. The responses are then digitally recorded, sent to ETS’s Online Scoring Network and evaluated by three to six raters.
  4. Writing section– It measures a student’s ability to write in an academic setting and consists of two tasks: one integrated and one independent which must be completed within 60 minutes. For the integrated task, students are required to read a passage on an academic topic and then listen to a speaker. The student has to write a summary of the important points and explain how they relate to the key points of the passage. For the independent task, the student has to write an essay that states his opinion or choice and then explain it. The students’ answers are sent to the ETS OSN and evaluated by at least three different raters.

Registration and fees: TOEFL Registration can be Online, by mail, by phone and in person; however, a majority of candidates apply for TOEFL online.

  • Registration is available three to four months before the test date. It is advisable to register early to reserve a seat and prevent last minute rush.
  • The test fee depends on the location where the student will be taking the test.
  •  Generally, the registration deadline is seven days prior to the test date (not including the day of the test).
  • The last date for registration is three full days before the test date (not including the day of the test or the day of the request).
  • Registration payment methods:  About the TOEFL Exam
    • Credit/debit cards (American Express, Discover, JCB, MasterCard or Visa)
    • Electronic check (e-check)
    • PayPal About the TOEFL Exam
    • TOEFL voucher About the TOEFL Exam

What to bring on the test day? 

Students must bring two things to the test centre:

  1. Registration Number: The registration number is given on the Registration Confirmation in the online account the day before the test.
  2. Valid, acceptable identification (ID) document(s): It is advisable to bring at least two forms of acceptable ID each time students report to a test centre.

The ID document must include:

  • Original document; photocopies are not acceptable
  •  Student’s full name that matches the name they have used while registering
  •  A recent photograph of the student
  • Student’s signature

If a student does not bring a valid and acceptable ID, or if the name on the ID does not match the name given during the registration, then the student will not be permitted to take the test, and the test fee will not be refunded.

TOEFL Scores:  About the TOEFL Exam

 Scores are based on the students’ performance in the test. They must answer at least one question each in the Reading and Listening sections, write at least one essay, and complete at least one Speaking task to receive an official score. The scores will be posted online approximately ten days after the test date.

  • Students will receive a score ranging between 0 to 30 for all the four sections and a total score ranging between 0 to 120 for the entire test. These scores will be valid for two years after the test date.  The scores will be available in 10 days, and students can view them online easily.
  • A paper score report is also mailed if a student selects that option when he registers.
  • Scores can be sent for free to maximum four institutions which students select prior to their test day.
  • Students can take the test again to improve their scores. There is no limit to the number of times they can take the test, but they cannot take it more than once within a 12-day period.

Cancellation of Scores: 

  • If a student cancels his scores, the scores will not be reported to him or any of the institutions and his test fee will not be refunded. Cancelled scores are not added to the student’s permanent record. A student cannot cancel his scores for one section and have scores for other sections reported. However, there is no fee for cancelling the scores.
  • Cancelled scores can be reinstated for a fee, if a student’s request is received at ETS within 60 days after his test date. Reinstated scores are reported online about three weeks after receipt of his request and payment. His scores will then be provided to him and the designated institutions.

TOEFL scholarships are also awarded to students from Mainland China, India, Japan, Korea or Taiwan for achieving academic excellence and demonstrating English-communication proficiency.

Visa Delivery


If your visa application is approved, your passport and visa can be collected from the pickup location you selected when you scheduled for interview appointment. When your passport is available at selected location you will receive an email and an SMS that your passport is “Ready for Pick Up”. You can track your Visa Status through various methods. Read More

Sample Visa Appointment
Sample OFC Appointment

Sample OFC Appointment

OFC Appointment happens before the Visa Interview Date. On this day the student’s photograph and fingerprints are taken. Reach 15-20 minutes before the schedule time and take someone along with you to keep your additional things with, like Mobile, Bag, etc. Read More

Visa Appointments
Visa Fee