US seeks no extension of H-1B visas, Indians may be hit: Report

The US is considering new regulations to prevent the extension of H-1B visas as part of president Donald Trump's 'Buy American, Hire American' initiative.

Published: 03rd January 2018 02:28 PM  |   Last Updated: 03rd January 2018 02:52 PM   |  A+A-

The end of the 2016 presidential election is at hand. A joint session of Congress is set to count the Electoral College votes on Jan. 6, 2017, a traditional ending to a most unconventional presidential election.

The American flag flies in front of the U.S. Capitol dome at sunset on Capitol Hill in Washington. (Photo |AP)

By PTI

WASHINGTON: The US is considering new regulations to prevent the extension of H-1B visas as part of president Donald Trump's "Buy American, Hire American" initiative, a move which could hit tech firms and hundreds of thousands of Indian IT professionals, a media report said.

The move could directly stop hundreds of thousands of foreign workers from keeping their H-1B 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 DC Bureau reported.

It aims to impose new restrictions to prevent abuse and misuse of H-1B visas, besides ending the provision of granting extension for those who already have a green card.

"The act currently allows the administration to extend the H-1B 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.

"The agency is considering a number of policy and regulatory changes to carry out the President's Buy American, Hire American Executive Order, including a thorough review of employment-based visa programmes," said Jonathan Withington, chief of media relations for United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).

The H1B visa is a non-immigrant visa that allows US companies to employ foreign workers in speciality occupations that require theoretical or technical expertise.

It is typically issued for three to six years to employers to hire a foreign worker. But H-1B holders who have begun the green card process can often renew their work visas indefinitely.

The technology companies depend on H-1B to hire tens of thousands of employees each year from countries like India and China.

The proposed changes would have a dramatic effect particularly on Indian visa holders considering more than half of all H-1B 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 who now represent H-1B workers, was quoted as saying in the report.

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.

Trump had made the alleged abuse and fraud in H-1B visa system a major election issue during his campaign.

After becoming the president, he signed an executive order aimed at tightening the process of issuing the H—1B visas.

Trump had said the order was the first step to initiate "long overdue" reforms to end "visa abuses".



Comments

Disclaimer : We respect your thoughts and views! But we need to be judicious while moderating your comments. All the comments will be moderated by the newindianexpress.com editorial. Abstain from posting comments that are obscene, defamatory or inflammatory, and do not indulge in personal attacks. Try to avoid outside hyperlinks inside the comment. Help us delete comments that do not follow these guidelines.

The views expressed in comments published on newindianexpress.com are those of the comment writers alone. They do not represent the views or opinions of newindianexpress.com or its staff, nor do they represent the views or opinions of The New Indian Express Group, or any entity of, or affiliated with, The New Indian Express Group. newindianexpress.com reserves the right to take any or all comments down at any time.

flipboard facebook twitter whatsapp