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H-1B Visa Rules: Latest Development Seen 'Positive' For Indian IT

10 January 2018

USCIS has issued the statement after reports of deportation of H-1B visa holders started circulating.

However, they left open the possibility that there would be rule changes that will allow H1-B visa holders who are having their green card processed to remain in United States only one year at a time - instead of the current three-year extensions - making the whole process more tedioUS.

Earlier, it was reported that the proposed US Bill, aligned with President Donald Trump's "Buy American, Hire American" policy, could lead to mass deportation of 500,000-750,000 H-1B visa holders.

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Currently, there is an annual allocation of 65,000 H-1B visas in general category and another 20,000 for students from the field of science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

"All this goes to show the deep shortage of skilled professionals in the IT sector", says Pai, adding that not extending H-1B visas would hurt the USA more.

However, USCIS denied ever considering a policy change such as this and also claimed that any suggestion that it changed its position due to pressure is false. While the USCIS clarification today provides some relief to H-1B green card processees, the additional paperwork that will come with tightening the regulations, and knowing there are immigration hardliners who are always looking to shut down the door on foreign workers and immigration, will test their nerves and finances.

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A potentially lethal plan of President Trump, which could have forced around 7.5 lakh Indians working the United States to deport back to India, has been scrapped.

The US government has also proposed enhancement of minimum wage paid to H1-B visa holders.

"This will not only help the Indian IT industry, but also benefit United States companies, looking for quality IT professionals with niche skillsets at a short notice, for critical work that can not be offshored. Given that there is a real problem of shortage of skilled professionals in the US, any disruptive move will be detrimental for both India and the US", Nasscom President R Chandrashekhar had said.

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Since Trump took office in January 2017, visa laws have turned more stringent, with even the premium processing for the H-1B being halted and application requirements for computer programmers getting tougher. It is expected to impact Indian IT and ITeS, pharma and contract manufacturing industries as the U.S. companies will find their home more attractive destination for expansion. "And we thank USCIS to make (for making) the right decision", it said. The exemption, as explained in the congressional record, "enables these foreign nationals to remain in H-1B status until they are able to receive an immigrant visa and adjust their status in the United States, thus limiting the disruption to American businesses".

H-1B Visa Rules: Latest Development Seen 'Positive' For Indian IT