It is nothing short of worse news coming in wake of bad for Indian techies working in the US! President Donald Trump is tightening the H1B visa norms so much that Indian IT professionals may have to leave that country soon. The US is considering new regulations aimed at preventing the extension of H1B visas, predominantly used by Indian software professionals, as part of president Donald Trump’s “Buy American, Hire American” initiative.
The move could directly stop hundreds of thousands of foreign workers from keeping their H1B visas while their green card applications are pending. 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 an extension for those who already have a green card.
The proposed changes would have a dramatic effect particularly on Indian visa holders considering more than half of all H1B visas have been awarded to Indian nationals, the report said, quoting the Pew Research Center report. “This would be a major catastrophic development as many people have been waiting in line for green cards for over a decade, have US citizen children, own a home,” Leon Fresco, who served as a deputy assistant attorney general for the Justice Department in the Obama administration and now represents H1B workers was quoted saying by PTI. Fresco estimates more than 1 million H1-B visa holders in the country are waiting for green cards, many of whom are from India and have been waiting for more than a decade. An estimated 500,000 to 750,000 Indian H1B visa holders could be sent home if the administration decides to go ahead with the proposal.
“The act currently allows the administration to extend the H1B 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.
In the wake of Donald Trump’s proposed big step against H1-B visa holders, EB-5 visas have emerged as the best bet for Indian families aspiring for US green cards. Under the EB-5 Investment Visa programme, an applicant receives a conditional green card on making a minimum investment of $5,00,000 in the United States and has to create 10 jobs for US citizens, after which he gets a permanent green card.
What is H1B visa?
The H1B visa an employment-based and non-immigrant visa category for temporary workers that allows the US companies to recruit foreign workers. The US allows up to 85,000 new H1B visas each year with recipients being allowed to stay up to six years. Since demand tends to be higher, the government tops this up with an annual lottery. An estimated 70 per cent of these visas go to Indians – hired mostly by IT companies.