In short: In April, I was interviewed by Microsoft. Although, Microsoft never offered me a job, by mistake, they filed an “H-1B” visa on my behalf. They neither asked me about it nor notified about it. As a result, immigration services terminated my F-1 status and put on hold my OPT application. As a result, for a week, I wasn’t sure of my status in USA.
As time will go, I am sure I will rejoice the tension filled last week. It all started on Monday Oct. 3rd, 2008, the day when I received a notice from USCIS (US Immigration Services) informing that they were not able to process my OPT (Optional Practical Training) application. The reason being that my F1 (student) status was terminated. The notice duly informed me to go to University DSO (Designated School officer) to reinstate my F-1 Status. Initially, I thought there might be some minor mistake with my records and it should take only couple of minutes for the DSO (Designated School Officer) to fix my records.
However, to my horror, when the DSO opened my SEVIS document, he found that my F-1 student status was terminated because I was approved an H-1B visa by USCIS. For many, it is a moment of joy to find out that their H-1B visa has been approved. However, for me, it was scary. I never applied for H-1B, then how the heck I can be approved an H-1B visa.
It didn’t take more than a minute for my rational mind to think of all the possible reasons and speculate grave consequences. The first explanation that came to my mind was of “Identity Theft”. Oh my God !. I could see myself working hard to pay the debt that I never took and going to prison for crimes that I never did. 😦
However, to my relief, I suddenly started thinking about next possibility. It might be that some poor soul at USCIS made a mistake: “To err is to human”. Someone at USCIS possibly made a change in my record instead of someone else. Damm it!, why my record. I could see myself struggling for years, straddling from one office to another.
After three days of tension, fear, etc., finally, on the fourth day, I found out that it was neither the case of “identify theft” nor of USCIS making a mistake. Indeed, some company did filed an application for me. But, it still remain unknown which company filed the application. What the hell!. I was offered a job, but long after the deadline for H-1B visa application was passed.
Finally, from the inner depths of my mind, a voice said: “It is Microsoft“. What the hell!. They did interviewed me in April and asked for my all my documents, but never offered me a job. How come then they applied for H-1B visa for me. Nevertheless, I finally ended up calling Microsoft and found out that they did, by mistake, filed an I-129 (H-1B visa) application for me. I was furious and agitated. For a minute, I even thought of suing for all the psychological pressure and tension (and also to make some cheap money 😉 ). However, they were quick to fix the problem and worked hard on Friday evening to send USCIS a withdrawal notice. Hence, I dropped the idea of suing the company 😉 . I can understand that it must be a challenge for Microsoft’s HR department to manage paperwork of 1000s of applicants. But on the other hand, I am also forced to think about the software company that claims to enhance productivity with its office tools, but is not able to manage its own mess and paperwork.