A point to consider is that the US economy is also in need of talent and expertise from overseas that cannot easily be replaced at the drop of a hat.
By Nandika Handa
President Donald Trump’s announcement that he would be reviewing the status of H-1B Visa on 21-22nd of June 2020 did not come as a surprise to those who have been following his immigration policies. Immigration has been a vital point in the Trump government agenda regardless of the pandemic.
However, with the onset of the pandemic and the unemployment rates soaring, the presiding US government has been using immigration as a tool to remedy the staggering unemployment and also provide relief to an already strained health system.
In April 2020, a proclamation that suspended certain types of visas was announced by the President and this was to be reviewed in 60 days. With that time knocking at the door and his announcement to FOX, it seems more or less clear that he will impose restrictions on the H-1B visa.
There have been indications that the changes will run longer than what one might’ve anticipated and also that those applying post-October will be affected.
Those already in the country on H-1B’s are unlikely to bear the brunt of these changes.
However, there is another question that arises for some within the US on an H-1B – What will happen to those on H-1B’s that have fallen prey to the recent spate of layoffs. How will they be able to get a new job within the 60 day period and will they be allowed to stay in the US? At this given point there is not much clarity and no more relaxations are imminent.
A point to consider is that the US economy is also in need of talent and expertise from overseas that cannot easily be replaced at the drop of a hat. In sectors such as I.T, medicine and A.I they are reliant on “Overseas Talent” to a large extent. This is likely to play a part in the announcement that is to come.
There have been indications that the announcement will not infiltrate to categories of workers that have been established as essential for bigger businesses and have rationally been let into the country on H-1B’s to support these bigger businesses. However, this a very ambiguous statement and one cannot surmise which sector exactly might remain relatively unaffected.
There has also been an indication that the measures taken might not be as disappointing as people are expecting.- Again, though this might provide a ray of hope as what seems to be a dark cloud looming over the current immigration scenario- One can’t really draw any conclusions from it.
Historically, the present US government has taken a rather hard stance towards immigration and this is why people fear the worst at the moment regarding the impending announcement.
The questions arising at this time in the mind of those who might be affected have led to a level of anxiety that is unparalleled. However, there are also other pertinent factors that one must consider whilst examining the outcomes of this measure might be.
One very important consideration is that whilst the government is trying to provide access to available jobs to the U.S citizens first- The US must rely on talent from overseas to run certain industries, seamlessly.
Secondly, it is not likely that any upset to major corporations would be welcomed. The elections coming up and the current economic scenario does not make for a good mix to upset any major corporation or vote bank. What has been said is that it is a restriction and not a ban, so this too does indicate that measures will be taken but they might not totally write off the hope of those relying on H-1B’s in certain sectors.
It is now quite clear that there will be changes in the H-1B space; however to what extent and for how long are two key questions that everyone now needs an answer to – which is on the anvil most probably in the next 24 hours.
(The author is an Independent Immigration Consultant. Views expressed are personal.)