Trump administration's H-1B visa norms changes to hit 5 lakh Indian workers in US - <b>Technical Lobby</b>

Wednesday, January 3, 2018

Trump administration's H-1B visa norms changes to hit 5 lakh Indian workers in US

US President Donald Trump's poll promise to "Buy American, Hire American" may force lakhs of Indian techies out of the United States. Trump administrations new proposal to not extend H-1B visa of those waiting for permanent residency or green card is likely to affect more than 5 lakh Indians working in the US.

H1B visa

The proposal, circulated in the form of internal memo by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), seeks to end the provision of allowing extensions to H-1B visa holders whose applications for green card had been accepted. US President Donald Trump had earlier promised to protect jobs for American workers.

Under the existing laws in the US, an outside worker having an H-1B visa can remain in the US for up to six years. It is initially for three years but can be extended for additional three years. A person having a pending permanent residency application gets indefinite extension of the H-1B visa until the applicant's Green Card processing is completed.

Under the new proposal, a foreign worker will have to exit United States until the processing of Green Card application is complete. The move could directly stop hundreds of thousands of foreign workers from keeping their H-1B visas while their green card applications are pending.

The new regulations are aimed at preventing the extension of H-1B visas, predominantly used by Indian IT professionals.

The proposal which is being shared between the Department of Homeland Security Department (DHS) heads is part of Trump's "Buy American, Hire American" initiative promised during the 2016 campaign, US-based news agency McClatchy's DC Bureau reported.

It aims to impose new restrictions to prevent abuse and misuse of H-1B visas, besides ending the provision of granting extension for those who already have a green card.

H1B visa

"The act currently allows the administration to extend the H-1B visas for thousands of immigrants, predominantly Indian immigrants, beyond the allowed two three-year terms if a green card is pending," the report said.

"The idea is to create a sort of 'self- deportation' of hundreds of thousands of Indian tech workers in the United States to open up those jobs for Americans," it said, quoting a source briefed by Homeland Security officials.

"The agency is considering a number of policy and regulatory changes to carry out the President's Buy American, Hire American Executive Order, including a thorough review of employment-based visa programmes," said Jonathan Withington, chief of media relations for United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).
Chandrashekhar added that many of these changes were "emotive and political" rather than being based on "economic arguments".

He said that Nasscom has shared its concerns with both Indian and the US governments.

"...We will probably be having further interaction in next few months. In next couple of months, we expect to have interactions once again with the US authorities," he added.
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