World News

Trump Further Tightening H1B Visa Rules to Protect American Jobs

Trump Further Tightening H1B Visa Rules to Protect American Jobs

Almost a year after US President Donald Trump took office, the H-1B visa issue seems to have returned to haunt Indian techies, but if the unconfirmed proposals go through, they will at best have a short-term impact for India.

In April a year ago, US President Donald Trump signed an executive order named "Buy American and Hire American" in which he tasked the US Secretary of State, Attorney General, Secretary of Labor, and Secretary of Homeland Security "to suggest reforms to help ensure that H-1B visas are awarded to the most-skilled or highest-paid beneficiaries".

The US is specifically looking at whether it can reinterpret the "may grant" language of the American Competitiveness in the 21st Century Act to stop allowing the extension of H-1B visa holders for "beyond the allowed two three-year terms if a green card is pending", McClatchy reported.

"The act now 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. Newspapers in India are estimating that as many as 500,000 technology workers will have to return home.

President Trump has always been threatening to tweak work visa rules, saying he wants USA firms to hire Americans as their preference.

"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.

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The president of the National Association of Software and Services Companies (NASSCOM), R. Chandrashekhar told Business Today:"It is not only about the Indian IT industry, but about all Indians who use H-1B visas". "So did @sundarpichai, @elonmusk, @satyanadella".

"It's a baffling calculation".

Congressman Raja Krishnamoorthi of IL said that while the US should continue to improve advanced training for the domestic workforce, ending the H-1B visa extensions would only encourage companies to move jobs offshore.

An advocacy group, The Hindu American Foundation, also expressed alarm at the new proposed move, saying, "How would deporting hundreds of thousands of skilled workers, the very backbone of our STEM industries, in any way advance an "America First" agenda?" Soon after his presidential inauguration, he signed the "Buy American and Hire American" executive order, directing federal agencies to come up with new rules and issue guidance to overhaul the immigration system. "I hope the administration immediately rejects this proposal", he said, the report added.

According to Aman Kapoor of Immigration Voice, H-1B extension change would be just wrong at every level.


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