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Bad News for Indian IT as Trump Administration Mulls Tougher H-1B Visa Norms

The US government is looking to impose stringent restrictions on the H-1B petitioners’ selection process, according to Fragomen, an international immigration firm.

Rounak Kumar Gunjan | News18.com

Updated:December 25, 2017, 11:26 AM IST
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Bad News for Indian IT as Trump Administration Mulls Tougher H-1B Visa Norms
Indian IT firms are the largest users of H-1B visas and non-immigrant visas that allow US firms to temporarily employ foreign workers. (Representative image)
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New Delhi: In what may adversely affect Indian professionals looking to find jobs in the US, the Department of Homeland Security is readying a proposal that will make getting H-1B visas more difficult.

The US government is looking to impose stringent restrictions on the H-1B petitioners’ selection process, according to Fragomen, an international immigration firm.

Fragomen’s latest update on its website said the DHS has indicated it may revive a 2011 proposal that would require H-1B petitioners to preregister for the H-1B cap lottery and to submit cap petitions only after they have won cap numbers.

“The DHS also plans to propose a priority system for allocation of H-1B cap numbers which would give priority to the most highly paid and highly skilled, consistent with President Trump’s ‘Buy American, Hire American’ executive order,” reads the update.

DHS may also consider changes to H-1B wages. Scott J Fitzgerald, partner in Fragomen Worldwide, said changes to the H-1B cap lottery system are not scheduled to be announced till February next year.

Indian IT firms are the largest users of H-1B visas and non-immigrant visas that allow US firms to temporarily employ foreign workers.

The Trump administration claims its immigration overhaul targeting H1-B visa holders is to deter H-1B visa fraud and abuse. This, experts believe, will restrict free movement of talent due to fiery protectionist policies. Vivek Wadhwa, distinguished fellow at Carnegie Mellon University Engineering, said there is little doubt that Trump is determined to keep immigrants, both skilled and unskilled, out.

The proposed move comes at a time when the Indian government is formulating a policy to facilitate skilled workforce to find employment abroad, a full cycle from its earlier apprehensions on ‘brain-drain’.

The policy plans to make it easier for masons, carpenters and plumbers, among other skilled persons, to get jobs overseas by laying a roadmap that will track the requirement of such professionals abroad as well as the certifications required in different countries.

As of now, the skill development and entrepreneurship ministry is planning to present the policy to the Union cabinet for its approval.
| Edited by: Huma Tabassum
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