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H1-B work visa explained: The what, who and how

Here is all you need to know about the rule changes in the H1-B work visa program.

By: Express Web Desk | New Delhi | Updated: January 31, 2017 3:29 pm
donald trump, trump, us president trump, us senate, rex tillerson, trump tillerson, nikki haley, us news, world news, indian express Though Trump had advocated for applying curbs on the number of H1-B visas issued annually, he did not sign an executive order, similar to the one on banning immigration from seven majority-Muslim countries. (file photo)

A Bill aimed at overhauling the work visa program was on Tuesday introduced in the US House of Representatives. The latest work visa reforms, if passed by majority vote in both houses of Congress, will make it harder for those applying for H1-B visas as the minimum wage has been more than doubled, from $60,000 to $130,000.

What is the High Skilled Integrity and Fairness Act?

Introduced in the lower house by California Congresswoman Zoe Lofgren, the Act will make it mandatory for employers sponsoring H1-B visas for immigrant workers to pay a minimum wage of $130,000, 200 per cent higher than the previous minimum wage of $60,000. It is interesting to note that Lofgren is affiliated to the Democratic Party and California is home to the famed silicon valley, which houses the world’s best tech companies.

READ |  H-1B reform bill introduced in US House of Representatives

Who will be affected?

The reforms are being introduced to protect the interests of Americans against the influx of foreign workers in the US job market. US issues 85,000 H1-B visas every year, a sizeable chunk of the applicants are Indians. Indian students migrating to the states for pursuing a higher degree and tech companies that send their workers on off-site projects will be among the most affected by the changes to the visa policy.

How will this impact India?

The effects of the Act have already been felt in the Indian markets, with share prices of major tech companies plummeting. Infosys, TCS, Wipro, Tech Mahindra and HCL were among those badly hit. The Act could also lead to a decrease in interest in students flocking to American universities, thereby minimising the brain drain.

Will my US visa be rejected?

As far as genuine students are concerned, no. The Act also intends to build a “bridge” from F-1 student status to Lawful Permanent Residence. So visas will not be denied solely on the basis that the applicant intends to immigrate to the US. This applies for those holding O-1 (Extraordinary ability), P ( Athletes, Artists and Entertainers) and free trade visa holders.

Does President Donald Trump have anything to do with it?

Though Trump had advocated for applying curbs on the number of H1-B visas issued annually, he did not sign an executive order, similar to the one on banning immigration from seven majority-Muslim countries.  The Bill, however, is likely to be passed as the Republicans control both houses of the Congress — the Senate and House of representatives.


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  1. A
    Jan 31, 2017 at 12:31 pm
    Is The American"dream" coming to an end? It appears to be so. Indian government goody goody with previous administration. It is paradox to see that a Democratic Congress woman introduced the bill on limiting Visas. It is not surprising if it is ped as All republicans vote merrily and a major section of Democratic lot go with them. Basically the law makers did never bothered to increase the engineering, particulary the computer education in the poorest of poor among the Americans i.e Blacks. Even Barack Obama did nothing in increasing the quany of higher level job seekers among the Blacks and other minorities. Most of the third world countries are better than American government as far as engineering education and knowledge concerned. Even now they take proactive measures to improbve the availability of Intellectual brains among black and other minorities. Till that time USA congress should modify their bill by inviting teaching community from countries like India.
    1. D
      Jan 31, 2017 at 2:26 pm
      Are we doomed? Not all technologies pay 130K..as we also know there will be many other factors like fr example location , cost of living that decide the billing..
      1. G
        Jan 31, 2017 at 7:24 pm
        Trump is responsible for American voters. He wants to win in the next election in four years time. He will do whatever is necessary to make his country secure, and create jobs for his people. there is nothing wrong asking for that. India will gain in many ways, but it will also lose in some ways. Overall, it will be India's gain.
        1. H
          Jan 31, 2017 at 1:36 pm
          Guys the reactions to the new H1B Visa rules are uncalled for.lt;br/gt;lt;br/gt;India and the IT Work force has nothing to worry.lt;br/gt;lt;br/gt;The outsourcing in IT gets us 150 billion dollars,all this is because of Digital India/Skill India/Make In India and Start Up India ,all brought about since 2014 by the PM.lt;br/gt;lt;br/gt;So what if IT youth dont get to work in America,PM has said employment is not about getting jobs but finding one for yourself by turning enterprueners and he said Digital India is that initiative.lt;br/gt;lt;br/gt;FM and Power and IT Ministerss have eloquently said that 1 crore youth may not have got pay slips but have started their own business online.lt;br/gt;lt;br/gt;Trump is acting in interest of US Work force and PM has taken all the measures to use our work force.lt;br/gt;lt;br/gt;We will grow at 10% once Digital India and rest of the India"s as announced by the PM start kicking in.lt;br/gt;lt;br/gt;So what if Trump makes the American dream ,history.lt;br/gt;lt;br/gt;On if the new law affects those on H1B Visa,Yes it does.Those companies employing Indian IT workers must meet the new criteria.lt;br/gt;lt;br/gt;They are in no danger as they can come back to become part of Start Up India.lt;br/gt;lt;br/gt;We have so much happenning everyday,We have changed from Nov 8th were every Re is accounted and all Black Money has gone bust.
          1. H
            Jan 31, 2017 at 9:16 am
            Communals and racists always wanted to scratch lower back of each other, always. Communal Bhartiya Danga Party And Gujrat Danga Overseer PM Modi desperately want to exchange lower back scratching with racist trump supporters and trump to get rid of khujli. Racist trump supporters, trump and communal BDP, modi calling, tweeting, trolling each other in desperation. While racist trump supporters calling Indians street$h!tter, Job thief and Poo in the Loo, yes Ofcourse but with a small caveat though, with a gun on people's head, after taking all their money and disposing of his own money. That's how he roll, so gangsta. PM Modi then wants to jump to a podium and do name calling and mudslinging. Yes Ofcourse but with a small caveat though, he want to do this with his signature bizzare hand gestures. Biggest name calla and biggest mud slinga. He then wants to seize all black money, yes Ofcourse with a small caveat though, he wants to do this by short cut of demonetisation. Biggest hoax pulla. PM Modi then wants to pour cow mutra down people's throat and apply cow gober on people's face for best shade results. He then wants people to buy patanjali product only using digital transaction, yes Ofcourse with a small caveat though, with a gun on people's head.!!.
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