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Vidushi is part of a team working on an innovative product at Google. Whether she can stay to see it through to completion is in doubt, thanks to the small number of H-1B visas available.

Vidushi Tekriwal, an H-1B applicant from the United Kingdom, has had a range of exciting experiences for a 27-year old. In 2007, during the first tremors of the financial crisis, Tekriwal, a math and business student, interned on the trading floor of Goldman Sachs in New York, where she experienced the crisis unfold firsthand. During her undergraduate years at Cambridge University, she trained in the UK’s Royal Air Force Reserve, and later went on to earn her civilian pilot’s license. In 2011, while Tekriwal was working in strategy at a retail bank in London, she decided to take a chance and apply for the MBA program at Harvard Business School.  She felt fortunate to receive an offer. “I remember it so clearly,” she says, of that moment, “I was absolutely thrilled.”

Tekriwal loved her time studying in Boston, and after she graduated in 2014, she decided to stay in the United States and move to Silicon Valley. Today, she works as a product manager at Google working with a team of designers and engineers to build new products. Tekriwal says of her current role, “If you had asked me a year ago if I could really enjoy work, I would have said, ‘I’m not sure.’ But now, I truly love what I do.”

However, there is some uncertainty whether Tekriwal will be able to see her project through to completion.  This spring, she will be applying for an H-1B visa, and knows that with the large number of applicants, she may have only a 50 percent chance of getting it. “If I have to leave and go to an office in another country, it will make it much harder to continue working together as a team on my current project,” she says. Tekriwal also worries that the uncertainty around her situation is a distraction for her team. “I want them to be able to focus on the great work they’re doing, which is hard enough without having to worry about my visa.”

The timing of the visa process is such that candidates like Tekriwal may get very little notice, as little as a few weeks, to make major life changes if they don’t win the lottery.  Tekriwal says the uncertainty around the visa process has a significant negative impact on her, both professionally and personally.  “I spend a lot of time and energy on the visa process, preparing documents, planning for contingencies etc,” she says, “which takes away from my work.”  On a personal level, as a marathon runner, she is training for the San Francisco Marathon in July, but if she doesn’t get the H-1B visa, she might not even be in the United States to run it.  If she does get to remain in the US, Tekriwal says she wants to make her contribution count. “I would stay and build a life here,” she says, “I want to continue to work with my team and build great products that people love to use every day.”