H-1B Visa: India continues to engage with the US

By: | Published: October 19, 2018 12:23 AM

In view of the US Department of Homeland Security proposal to remove from its regulations certain H-4 spouses of H-1B non-immigrants for employment authorisation, India will continue to engage with the US over the H-1B visa.

h1b visa, india, us, donald trump, us president donald trumpThe H-4 visas are issued by the USCIS to immediate family members (spouse and children under 21 years of age) of the holders of H-1B visa. (Reuters)

In view of the US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) proposal to remove from its regulations certain H-4 spouses of H-1B non-immigrants for employment authorisation, India will continue to engage with the US over the H-1B visa.

If the Trump administration clears the proposal then it would impact around 70,000 H-4 visa holders, who have work permits.

For the H-1B visa which are largely taken by the IT companies in India, MEA official spokesperson told media persons that “It is a very important topic for us and that is the reason why we have time and again at various levels we have taken up this matter with the US side.”

During the weekly briefing the spokesperson said that the issue was also raised at the first ever India US 2+2 dialogue in New Delhi when external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj, Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Defence Secretary Jim Mattis had met.

According to agency reports, on Wednesday, the US DHS had said that the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) plans to come out with its new proposal by January 2019. And that it was also proposing to remove from its regulations certain H-4 spouses of H-1B non-immigrants as a class of aliens eligible for employment authorisation.

The H-4 visas are issued by the USCIS to immediate family members (spouse and children under 21 years of age) of the holders of H-1B visa.

Responding to a question, Kumar pointed out that India is closely engaged with the US administration as well as the US Congress on this matter. While certain bills have been introduced none have been passed, he pointed out.

Last month while addressing the media at the end of 2+2 dialogue, external affairs minister had said that India has urged the US to take a “balanced and sensitive” view on the issue of proposed changes in America’s H-1B visa policy, saying it could affect the people-to-people links that are crucial for energising bilateral ties.

Kumar said that “We have highlighted the role which has been played by the highly skilled Indian professionals who have actually contributed to the growth and development of the US economy.”

The H-1B visa is a non-immigrant visa that allows US companies to employ foreign workers in speciality occupations that require theoretical or technical expertise. The Trump administration is pushing for a reform of the H-1B system, saying some IT companies were abusing the US work visas to deny jobs to American workers.

The H1-B visa has a numerical limit cap of 65,000 each fiscal year as mandated by the US Congress. The first 20,000 petitions filed on behalf of beneficiaries with a US master’s degree or higher are exempt from the cap.

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