Irrespective of who the winner is in the closely-contested US Presidential votings, everyone’s eyes will be on the H-1B visa program. Which has helped a large number of Indians over many years and one of the key factors contributing to individuals to individuals ties that have subsequently shaped political partnership.
In yet another policy stance change on H-1B visa within a half year. The US government announced reported that it was declaring an “interim final rule”. Which will “strengthen” the non-immigrant work visa program. The new guidelines will be effective 60 days from their publication in the Federal Register. The official journal of the US government, much like the Gazette of India.
It should be seen whether the new rules apply just to new work visas that are given or also to the current visa holders. Until then, the relaxations announced by the Trump government in August would keep on applying.
The Trump government’s decision will be closely analyzed if Joe Biden is chosen as the next President. In the most recent announcement on the proposed policy changes, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) said USCIS would forgo the usual 60-day comment. Also, notice period to “immediately ensure that employing H-1B workers won’t worsen the economic crisis caused by Covid-19″. The effect that the pandemic was having on the US economy and its domestic workers was an “obvious and compelling fact” which justified the agency giving an interim final rule.
H-1B Visa Program
According to the Department of Homeland Security, whose primary job is to secure the US from the dangers it faces. The H-1B work visa system had, over the years, gone far beyond the mandate for which it was launched, frequently “to the weakness of US workers“. To bring back integrity to the work visa regime, the DHS has announced a few changes. Which would ensure that H-1B petitions are approved only for “qualified beneficiaries and petitioners”.
Every year, the US government issues 85,000 H-1B work permits in all. Of these, 65,000 are for individuals with specialty occupations. While the rest 20,000 are held for those foreign workers who have earned a master’s or higher university degree in the US. Every year, Indians and Indian organizations corner a lot of the H-1B work permits gave every year.
As of April 1, 2020, the USCIS had received about 2.5 lakh H-1B work visa applications, as per official information. Indians had applied for 1.84 lakh or 67% of the total H-1B work visas.
Since the DHS has proposed to narrow down the definition of what would constitute a “specialty occupation”. Almost certainly, the 65,000 visas gave each year would be cut down significantly. The proposed change could also affect global IT organizations that hire H-1B visa workers in large numbers.
However, as per the leading Washington-based research organization Brookings Institute. The US lost an expected $100 billion because Trump suspended H-1B, L-1 work visas largely used by Indian professionals.
Trump’s June 22 declaration, which was eventually suspended by a US district court in early October. Banned the entry of H-1B, L-1, and J1 visa holders until the year-end claiming their entry “would be detrimental to the interests of the United States”.
H-1B and L-1 visas
The non-immigrant visas, (for example, the H-1B and L-1 visas) that were focused on are utilized by organizations. To recruit or transfer high-skilled immigrants. There is overwhelming proof documenting that skilled immigration improves firm results. For example, profits, efficiency, production expansion, innovation, and investment, the study said.
Trump had, while taking charge as president in 2017, implied that the visa regime would be overhauled to ensure that the system was no longer gamed by organizations that continued to pay lesser than the yearly annual salary paid to US laborers, accordingly undermining jobs from them.