H-1B visa extension: No change in policy, says US Citizenship and Immigration Services

The UCIS, however, is considering "a number of policy and regulatory changes" in order to execute President Donald Trump's 'Buy American, Hire American' executive order.

By: Express Web Desk | New Delhi | Updated: January 9, 2018 8:00 pm
The UCIS, however, is considering “a number of policy and regulatory changes” in order to execute President Donald Trump’s ‘Buy American, Hire American’ executive order. (file photo/Reuters)

In a huge relief for Indian techies spooked over reports of the Trump administration considering a proposal to prevent the extension of H-1B visas, the US Citizenship and Immigration Services said it “is not considering a regulatory change that would force H-1B visa holders to leave the United States”.

Chief of Media Relations at the USCIS Jonathan Withington said in a statement: “The USCIS is not considering a regulatory change that would force H-1B visa holders to leave the United States by changing interpretation of section certain language in Section 104 C of the American Competitiveness in the 21st Century Act (AC21) statute that states that USCIS may grant the extensions.”

This provides for H-1B extensions beyond the six-year limit.

“Even if it were, such a change would not likely result in these H-1B visa holders having to leave the United States because employers could request extensions in one-year increments under section 106(a)-(b) of AC21 instead,” he added. Also Read: US lawmakers oppose new changes in H-1B visa rules

The agency, however, is considering “a number of policy and regulatory changes” in order to execute President Donald Trump’s ‘Buy American, Hire American’ executive order. This also includes “a thorough review of employment-based visa programmes”, Withington said.

The policy changes under consideration could include raising the minimum wage for skilled workers on H1-B visas, making it difficult for American companies to hire internationals.

The statement from the USCIS comes a week after US-based news agency McClatchy DC Bureau reported that the agency was looking to block the extension of H-1B visas. This could have led to the voluntary deportation of 7,50,000 Indians.

The National Association of Software and Services Companies (NASSCOM), a trade association of Indian information technology, had warned that any disruptive move on the visa front would be detrimental for both India and the US.

The USCIS has a Congressional mandate to issue 65,000 H-1B visas in general category and another 20,000 for those applicants having higher education — masters and above — from US universities in the field of science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

The H-1B programme offers temporary US visas that allow companies to hire highly skilled foreign professionals working in areas with shortages of qualified American workers.

Since taking office last January, the Trump administration has been talking about cracking down on the H-1B visa scheme.

During his election campaign, President Trump promised to increase oversight of our H-1B and L-1 visa programmes to prevent its abuse.

With PTI inputs

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  1. Luis Mackey
    Jan 9, 2018 at 7:47 pm
    "Huge relief" only for those Indians who couldn't give two s ^ts about their motherland, India. Traitor sc m!
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    1. Rupak Chandra
      Jan 9, 2018 at 7:37 pm
      Good news for new students. My work H1-B visa expired long ago.
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      1. Luis Mackey
        Jan 9, 2018 at 7:46 pm
        I don't understand why educated qualified people such as yourself choose to run to the United States for what is essentially a cheap labour modern-slavery/exploitation system. Why would you not stay, innovate and help your home country of India instead? Indians are some of the most brilliant people on earth, its a well-documented fact but it is not India that is benefiting of it. Very sad fact. I personally thought the new Trump policy was a good thing for India and that it might help stop the brain drain of our nation, but I guess not.
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      2. Daisy Boy
        Jan 9, 2018 at 4:24 pm
        Thats good news, finally. Jobs would be safe now both here and there.
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