When Gokul Gunasekaran was offered a full scholarship for a graduate programme in electrical engineering at Stanford University, he saw it as the chance of a lifetime.
He had grown up in Chennai, India, and had a solid job offer with a large oil company after getting his undergraduate degree. He came to America instead, got the Stanford degree and now works as an engineer at a data science startup in Silicon Valley.
But for the past five years, he has been waiting for a green card that would give him full legal rights as a permanent resident. In the meantime, he is in a holding pattern on an H-1B visa, which permits him to live and work in the United States but does not allow him easily to switch jobs or start his own company.
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