US immigration agencies like the US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) through US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) issued notice to propose a series of changes to the H-1B visa program.
The changes in the H-1B foreign workers program are to improve efficiency by streamlining the eligibility of workers, providing more flexibility to F-1 students, entrepreneurs, and those working for non-profit organizations, and ensuring better condition for other non-immigrant workers.
This modification could have the most significant implications for Indian professionals working in the sectors in the US. As per the official data of the US, by the end of the fiscal year 2019, there were about 580,000 H-1B visa holders in the US with the majority of Indian workers.
What is the significance of H-1B visa?
Every year, big technology companies hire a large number of employees from countries like India and China under the H-1B visa category. It is issued to employers for about three to six years to hire foreign workers.
This H-1B visa category benefits workers who have begun their green card process to renew their work visas for the longer term.
The H-1B visa essentially helps US companies to hire the cheaper employees they need to meet their business needs and remain highly competitive in the global marketplace, hence setting up great targets for good economic results.
What are the changes in the new H-1B visa?
In the current process, more the registrations submitted on behalf of a person, higher the chances of that person getting selected in a lottery process.
Under the new proposal for the H-1B visa changes, each individual who has a registration submitted on their behalf would be entered into the selection process once, regardless of the number of registrations submitted on their behalf.
According to the US Department of Homeland Security (DHS), this modification in the visa process would positively improve the chances for a legitimate registration to be selected by reducing or eliminating the advantage of submitting multiple registrations for the same beneficiary solely to increase the chances of their application selection.
This could also give beneficiaries more choice between legitimate job offers avoiding any fraud because each registrant who submitted a registration for a selected beneficiary would have the ability to file an H-1B petition on behalf of the beneficiary. Hence, this saves the beneficiary from any kind of pseudo-job opportunity.
Under the proposed modification, certain exemptions are given like the H-1B cap for certain nonprofit entities or governmental research organizations as well as beneficiaries who are not directly employed by a qualifying organization.
Some flexibility is also offered for students on an F-1 visa where students are seeking to change their visa status to H-1B. New H-1B eligibility requirements are giving relaxation to the rising entrepreneurs.
Many people have welcomed the new H-1B visa rules and applauded the different flexibilities offered to students on F-1 visas, entrepreneurs, nonprofit organizations, government research organizations, etc.
The new modification shows the US government’s move towards streamlining the immigration system and making it easily accessible for highly skilled professionals and students from all over the globe.
However, these changes in H-1B visas hurt many immigrants from countries like India and China. The US companies might also suffer in hiring the employees from foreign countries.
With the ongoing conflicts like the Israel-Hamas war and the Russia-Ukraine war going on, a huge influx of refugees is going on across the globe. In such a scenario, such a move can be considered a harsh step against welcoming immigrants or refugees into the US.
At last, the time will tell ‘what will be the outcome of the present US plans to modernize H-1B visa requirements‘.