I am probably one of those [postdocs] who can understand Deborah Andrew's postdoc best. I am a postdoctoral associate at the University of Miami. The university requires under the soft term "recommends" that all candidates to change status from F1 to H-1B hire a lawyer approved by the university. Fine. It cost me $1500.

Anticipating that things with H-1Bs were going bad, I first contacted a "university approved" lawyer on Jan. 6, seven months before the expiration of my present employment authorization document, July 31, but it was not until April 30 that my application was filed with Immigration and Naturalization Service--four months for a relatively simple procedure that people usually handle by themselves.

Apparently, somewhere in the triangle lawyer-university-Immigration things were deadly slow, and the lawyer's fee and my push to make things moving were not sufficient to accelerate them. Nobody is in a position, not even my lawyer,...

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