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H1B visa latest news – USCIS proposes overhaul, Indian IT professionals fear impact

Viewsheadlines Desk,

Washington: How latest H1B visa rule changes will impact India? While the full implications of the latest changes in the H1B visa procedures is unknown, there are fears that it may impact the free run that Indian entry level computer programmer had.

During the year 2016, a large number of Indian IT professionals won the visa for the US in the lottery system that was in use at that time. As many as 1.5 lakh Indian nationals were issued employment-based visas. This is among the highest for any country. Out of 1.5 lakh job visas, at least 1.26 lakh were granted under H1B visas.

As the Trump administration plans to stop the misuse of the H1B work visa system, there are fears among the Indian IT industry that it may be aimed at curtailing Indian work force in the American IT sector. The Trump administration has said that the changes in the system should help US companies in hiring highly skilled foreign workers when there is a shortage of skilled employees in the country. H1B work visas are most sought after by Indian firms and professionals, mostly in the Information Technology sector.

A statement issued by the The US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) in this regard said, “Yet, too many American workers who are as qualified, willing and deserving to work in these fields have been ignored or unfairly disadvantaged. Protecting American workers by combating fraud in our employment-based immigration programs is a priority for the USCIS”.

In the meantime the USCIS has started taking in applications for H1B visas – 65,000 in the general category and 20,000 for those applicants having higher education from US universities. Apart from setting up an email helpline against the abuse of H1B visas, the USCIS will undertake a more targeted approach while conducting site visits so as to prevent the abuse of the system by employers.

In another statement the USCIS said, “Employers who abuse the H-1B visa programme negatively affect US workers, decreasing wages and job opportunities as they import more foreign workers…To further deter and detect abuse, USCIS has established an email address which will allow individuals (including both American workers and H-1B workers who suspect they or others may be the victim of H-1B fraud or abuse) to submit tips, alleged violations and other relevant information about potential H-1B fraud or abuse”.

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