United States is considering new regulations which are aimed at the prevention and extension of H-1B visas. These visas are predominantly used by Indian IT professionals and the move is a part of President Donald Trump’s “Buy American, Hire American” initiative.
An implementation of the move could stop hundreds of foreign workers from keeping their H-1B visas while their green card application is pending. The proposal is currently being shared between the Department of Homeland Security which is a part of Trump’s “Buy American, Hire American” initiative which was promised during the 2016 campaign.
The regulation aims to impose new restrictions in order to prevent abuse and misuse of H-1B visas in addition to ending the provision of granting an extension to those who already hold a green card. Currently, the act allows the administration to extend their H-1B visas for the thousands of immigrants which are predominantly Indian beyond their two three-year terms in case a green card is pending.
A source briefed by Homeland Security officials stated that the idea was to create a sort of ‘self-deportation’ of thousands of Indian tech workers in the United States in order to open up jobs for fellow Americans. The agency is considering various policy and regulatory changes in order to carry out the President’s Buy American, Hire American Order. It also includes a thorough review of the employment based visa programmes.
H1B visa is a nonimmigrant visa which allows the United States companies to employ foreign workers for specialty occupations which require technical or theoretical expertise. The visa is usually issued for three to six years for employers who can hire a foreign worker. The H-1B holders who have begun with the green card process can renew their work visas indefinitely. Majority technology companies depend on it in order to hire thousands of employees every year from countries like China and India.
These proposed changes are expected to have a dramatic effect on India visa holders considering that more than half of H-1B visas have been awarded to Indians. This could be a huge catastrophic development as many people are waiting in line for the green cards for more than a decade.