H1B Visa issue: changing policies

H1B Visa issue: changing policies

Aadil Bukhari

The H1B visa is a non-immigrant work visa that allows US companies to employ foreign workers in specialty occupations. This policy came out because of Trump administrations protectionist policies and a “Buy American, Hire American” strategy. The restrictions on foreign workers working in the USA under the H1B Visa programme shocked the workers especially international technology community. Last year The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) in a statement said that the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) plans to come out with its new proposal by January 2019. That will “propose to revise the definition of specialty occupation” to increase focus on obtaining the best and the brightest foreign nationals via the H-1B programme and will also “revise the definition” of employment and employer-employee relationship to “better protect” U.S. workers and wages.
After the Announcement of this Program the community concerned prepared themselves to make the move to overseas and many experts believed that the proposed changes on H1B visa by Trump administration will have a negative impact on US Economy. This programme had a direct effect on Indians working in US as In US most of the Immigrants from India are in tech expertise jobs and some are entrepreneurs. Such a move by Trump administration is likely to have an adverse impact on the functioning of Indian IT companies in the U.S. and also small and medium-sized contractual companies in the IT sector, which are mostly owned by Indian-Americans. According to the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), there were as many as 419,637 foreign nationals working in the US on H1B visas as on October 5, 2018 and Nearly three out of every four H1B visa holders as of October 5 are Indian citizens. Last year the Report H-1B gender report was released days after the Trump administration said that it plans to make changes in the definition of specialty occupation for the definition of H1B visas and re-redefining the relationship between employees and employers.
As per the Research by Dhruv Mukerjee (Senior Associate- Content with People Matters) -A major contributor to the drop has been the comparatively low filing for H1-B visas by big players in the IT sector. This was reflected in a study done recently on the H1-B visa application process. India’s largest information technology (IT) outsourcing companies, including Tata Consultancy Services Ltd (TCS), Infosys Ltd and Wipro Ltd, have reduced their dependence on H-1B visas over the last three years, a US daily reported, reflecting these companies’ preparations to tackle the protectionist approach followed by the current US administration of President Donald Trump. In a detailed paper of Dhruv Mukerjee, he adds that According to data analysed from 2015 to 2017 by San Francisco Chronicle, Wipro saw a 52.4 percent drop in the number of visa applications filed by the company over the three-year period while TCS reported an 18.3 percent decline and Infosys saw 38.1 percent reduction. Wipro applied for only 5,812 visa applications for engineers to work in the US in 2017, while TCS applied for 13,537 and Infosys filed for 20,587 applications. (The data was gathered from US Department of Labour). The Trump administration has over time brought in many changes into the H1-B visa allocation process; changes that have had both psychological and financial implications for Indians working in the US.

(The author is working in corporate Sector in Gurugram New Delhi. Views are his own)

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