The effect on Indian IT workers can be assessed by the fact that in the year 2018, the US received a total of 4.19 lakh petitions for H-1B visa, out of which 73.9% or 3.09 lakh petitions were only from India.
Ahead of presidential elections in the United States, the Trump administration has made H-1B non-immigrant visa rules stricter, which may affect thousands of Indian IT workers seeking an opportunity to work in the US. The technology companies carrying out their operations in the US hire lakhs of employees every year Asian countries such as India and China. The move has come at a time when a large number of Indians on the H-1B visas have already lost their jobs and are headed back home during the coronavirus pandemic. The US government said that the latest efforts on H1B visas are part of a larger Trump Administration goal to protect American workers.
How many Indians apply for H-1B visa every year?
The effect on Indian IT workers can be assessed by the fact that in the year 2018, the US received a total of 4.19 lakh petitions for H-1B visa, out of which 73.9 per cent or 3.09 lakh petitions were only from India, followed by 11.2 per cent or 47,172 petitions from China, according to the US Citizenship and Immigration Services. The figures indicate that the stricter rules on H-1B visa will mostly affect the technology workers from India.
“The H-1B program was intended to allow employers to fill gaps in their workforce and remain competitive in the global economy, however, it has now expanded far beyond that, often to the detriment of U.S. workers,” said the Department of Homeland Security. It added that more than a half-million H-1B non-immigrants in the United States have been used to displace US workers, which has led to reduced wages in a number of industries in the US labor market and the stagnation of wages in certain occupations. The new rule will combat the use of H-1B workers to serve as a low-cost replacement for otherwise qualified American workers, it further said.
The new rule will narrow the definition of a specialty occupation and require companies to make real offers to real employees by closing loopholes and preventing the displacement of the American worker. Also, it is aimed to enhance the Department of Homeland Security’s ability to enforce compliance through worksite inspections and monitor compliance before, during, and after an H1-B petition is approved.
Meanwhile, the visa restrictions in the US also give a window of growth to Indian IT companies. “We believe these steps will only accelerate the move towards companies building global teams and this represents a tremendous opportunity for talent-rich hubs such as India to position ourselves as a preferred destination for companies to do core strategic work by leveraging the amount of highly skilled talent available,” Vikram Ahuja, Co-founder, Talent500, told Financial Express Online.