Thomas P. Fischer, former director of the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) for the Southeast, has joined Atlanta-based high tech start-up IT Hub, an online marketplace serving the information technology industry, as vice president of immigration services.

During a telephone interview with GlobalFax last week, Mr. Fisher said that in addition to fulfilling his responsibilities at the new company, he would continue working at his consulting practice.

His firm, Immigration Directors and Associates, which he launched after leaving the INS, assists individuals and companies with international relocation, visa issuance, compliance with employee work authorizations and related issues.

He also said an immigration bill signed last month by President Clinton increasing the annual cap on H-1B visas from 95,000 to 195,000 is expected to greatly increase the number of foreign information technology workers seeking to enter the U.S.

“The bill has almost doubled the number of visas that will be issued and has made it a lot easier for H-1B visa holders to transfer from one company to another,” he added. “Both employers and employees will benefit.”

In an effort to combat the extended waiting periods for approval of these visas, Mr. Fischer is to assist IT Hub personnel to streamline the process through automation. Once the system is established, applicants will be able to apply and track the status of their applications online through the company’s Web site.

According to Mr. Fischer, IT Hub’s service may be a prototype that eventually will be adopted by the INS itself. He said that he had visited INS officials in Atlanta last week to discuss the company’s objectives.

“They think its is a viable process that is not being realized by anyone else at the moment,” he said. “Down the road they would like to see the application process automated in the same way that you can file 1040 forms.”

 “Tom Fischer’s expertise will be essential in helping IT Hub address the shortage of tech workers in the U.S. by processing these workers quickly for the companies that need their services,” Nigel Gower, chairman and CEO of IT Hub, said in a statement.

IT Hub’s Web site may be found at To reach Mr. Fischer, call (404) 520-0000 or send an e-mail to