Facing pressure, Trump administration backs off proposed 'draconian' H-1B visa rules

Ruben Ruiz
January 10, 2018

Some reports estimated that almost a million H-1B visa holders, as many as 500,000 to 750,000 of them Indians, could be forced to proceed home in case of such a decision. 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.

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. The exemption, as explained in the congressional record, "enables these foreign nationals to remain in H-1B status until they are able to receive an immigrant visa and adjust their status in the United States, thus limiting the disruption to American businesses".

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

Earlier, it was reported that the proposed US Bill, aligned with President Donald Trump's "Buy American, Hire American" policy, could lead to mass deportation of 500,000-750,000 H-1B visa holders.

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.

Since taking office, the Trump administration has been talking about cracking down on the visa scheme.

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The clarification by the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) on Monday refuted a report by a US-based news agency that the US Department of Homeland Security was considering new regulations to prevent the extension of H1-B visas, availed mostly by the Indian IT firms.

"The new policy said to be under consideration had proposed denying an extension to H-1B visa holders beyond the maximum period of six years".

Immigration Voice, an advocacy group fighting for the rights of skilled visa workers in the USA, including to remove country caps on workers from India for permanent residency, expressed satisfaction at the USCIS clarification.

McClathchy Bureau, which had first reported the memo in the DHS to "self-deport" H-1B visa workers, in a report on Tuesday, January 9, said: "Under intense pressure from the business and technology communities, the Trump administration appears to be backing away from a policy change that could have forced foreign tech workers out of the country", adding that despite what USCIS said, "the agency reversed course on that proposal".

H-1B visas basically allow U.S. companies to recruit skilled foreign professionals in sectors where is acute dearth of skilled American professionals. "And we thank USCIS to make the right decision".

Citing unnamed sources, the McClatchy report had spoken of internal memos exchanged by top immigration officials considering denial of H-1B extensions by re-interpreting a key section of "The American Competitiveness in the Twenty-First Century Act", commonly known as AC-21.

Other reports by GizPress

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