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Thursday, October 22, 2020

US federal judge bars authorities from enforcing H-1B visa ban

This is the second relaxation on travel of H-1B and other work visa such as L-1 holders to the US.

By: ENS Economic Bureau | New Delhi | Updated: October 3, 2020 1:12:23 am
H-1B visa, H-1B visa ban, H-1B US visa, United States visa, US H-1B visa, US H1B visa, US India relations, Donald Trump H1B visa banDistrict Judge Jeffrey White in his order barring the US authorities from enforcing the June 22 executive order issued by president Donald Trump said that the president had “exceeded his constitutional authority”.

In further relief for Indian information technology (IT) companies, a federal judge of the northern district of California barred the US government from enforcing a June 22 order banning the entry of H-1B visa workers in the country till December 31.

District Judge Jeffrey White in his order barring the US authorities from enforcing the June 22 executive order issued by president Donald Trump said that the president had “exceeded his constitutional authority”. The order was made available on Thursday.

This is the second relaxation on travel of H-1B and other work visa such as L-1 holders to the US.

In August, the US State Department had itself announced some relaxations on travel of such job visa curb holders, and had said that it had decided to allow certain categories of workers and non-immigrant visa holders in “national interest”.

The US state-department had then allowed H-1B visa holders who were public or private healthcare professionals or were engaged in medical research “in an area with a substantial public health benefit” to come to the US.

In the IT space, work visa holders whose services had been requested by any US government agency such as those working the information technology and support services had been allowed, whereas non-government IT workers were allowed to travel back to the US to resume employment with the same organisation they were before the June 22 proclamation.

Thursday’s order by Judge White will be enforced across the US. In his order, the judge while noting that Trump had exceeded his authority also said that such “unrestricted authority would be contrary to Congress’ explicit delegation of powers in foreign affairs and national security”.

“There must be some measure of constraint on Presidential authority in the domestic sphere in order not to render the executive an entirely monarchical power in the immigration context, an area within clear legislative prerogative,” the judge said in his order.

Earlier on Tuesday, Judge White had in another order put a nationwide preliminary injunction on the fee hikes proposed for H-1B and L1 work visa programmes for the current year.

The US Citizenship and Immigration Services had, in its response, said that the judge’s decision was “unfortunate” as the agency was not federally funded and required the said fees to function.

“As required by federal law, USCIS conducted a comprehensive biennial fee review and determined that current fees do not recover the cost of providing adjudication and naturalization services. This is nothing new or abnormal. In fact, the fee rule is two years behind schedule, and is a smaller percentage increase than the previous,” the USCIS had said in a statement.

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