Indian IT industry lauds no change in H-1B visa policy

Danny Woods
January 10, 2018

U.S. immigration officials have clarified they are not considering a regulatory change that would compel H1-B visa holders to leave the USA after the six-year limit. When the reports first became pubic, there was a stir among the Indian's and other people who have been working overseas and who are not the permanent citizens of the state.

"... USCIS is not considering a regulatory change that would force H-1B visa holders to leave the United States by changing our interpretation of section 104 (c) of AC-21, which provides for H-1B extensions beyond the 6-year limit", the state agency told Washington DC-based publication McClatchy.

However, they left open the possibility that there would be rule changes that will allow H1-B visa holders who are having their green card processed to remain in USA only one year at a time - instead of the current three-year extensions - making the whole process more tedioUS.

Even if such an action wasn't taken, the Trump Government had faced severe from politicians and other, industrial officials who objected the thought of such decisions. They were previously on the staff of Senators Jeff Sessions and Charles Grassley respectively, both lawmakers having made fervent legislative efforts to squish H-1B visas.

According to industry observers, there are about 5 lakh Indians who are working in the United States on H-1B visa.

The development comes as a breather for Indian H-1B visa holders waiting for their Green Cards who were at risk of deportation if a proposal to end granting extension to visa under this programme was accepted. Washington has clarified the allegations related to the United States government taking strict measures to "deport" H1-B visa holder Indians - whose Green Card requests were pending - were false, and that there were provisions to retain employees even if the allegations were true.

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An H-1B visa is granted for three years, with the provision of three more with one extension, after which visa-holders return to their countries.

Editor's Note: This is the first in a three-part series on the proposed change in H-1B visa regulation and its impact on India's IT industry, its employees and the future of offshore projects, particularly in the US.

This is a huge, massive relief for not only Indians working with the H-1B visa, but also scores of IT companies in the USA which are relying on immigrants for their work.

The controversial proposal was part of President Donald Trump's "Buy American, Hire American" initiative that he vowed to launch on his campaign trail. "And we thank USCIS to make (for making) the right decision", it said.

As per Nasscom's statement issued last year, two Indian companies namely TCS and Infosys together received 7,504 approved H-1B visas in financial year 2015, which is 8.8 per cent of the total approved H-1B visas during that year.

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