US President Donald Trump’s America first policy might have created tensions among the Indian techies after his administration announced a series of steps to prevent fraudulent use of H-1B visas. Moreover, the US government had also issued a stern warning to companies against discriminating US workers by over-hiring foreign workers. With the passage of time, it appeared that the US government is showing some sign of openness for the foreign workers. A senior US government functionary has said there is no visa policy change under consideration that could force the deportation of several Indian tech workers– the announcement which has brought big relief to lakhs of Indian techies in US.
Here are the top things to know about the new development:-
1. Trump administration is not considering any proposal that would force H-1B visa holders to leave the country.
2. US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announcement came days after reports emerged that the Trump administration was considering to tighten H-1B visa rules.
3. The USCIS was never considering such a policy change, Jonathan Withington, Chief of Media Relations at the USCIS said, adding that “any suggestion that USCIS changed its position because of pressure is absolutely false.”
4. “Even if it were, such a change would not likely result in these H-1B visa holders having to leave the United States because employers could request extensions in one-year increments under section 106(a)-(b) of AC21 instead,” he added.
5. Around 7,50,000 Indians are currently working in US.
What is H-1B Visa?
This is an employment-based and non-immigrant visa category for temporary workers. The H-1B visa programme permits US companies to temporarily recruit foreign workers in speciality occupations such as science and information technology. Indian IT giants like TCS, Infosys and Wipro are among the major beneficiaries of this programme as they rely on it for bringing in tens of thousands of employees to the US. Nearly, 85,000 H-1B visas are issued every year.
What was the H-1B visa row all about?
Ever since Trump assumed office as President, he has been talking about cracking down on the H1B visa programme in order to “protect American jobs”. Under the existing laws in the US, a 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 an indefinite extension of the H-1B visa until the applicant’s Green Card processing is completed.
On April 18, Trump signed an executive order calling for strict enforcement of all laws governing entry into the US for the sake of employment. The order also asked the Departments of Labor, Justice, Homeland Security and State to recommend changes to the H-1B temporary worker visa program and protect the interests of American workers by making sure only the highest-paid and most-skilled applicants receive visas.