Starting Monday, the US will start implementing its new immigration rule under which people whose legal status to stay in America has expired can be deported. The deportation process would be initiated in case the visa extension application is denied or due to a change in status. The non-immigrants will be first issued notices to appear (NTA) before initiating deportation proceedings.
However, US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) said that this policy will not be implemented with respect to employment-based petitions and humanitarian applications and petitions.
The new rule could have a major impact on Indians living in the US as applications of extension of H1-B visa holders have been denied in the past few months. However, the issue of NTA for H1-B visa holders has been put on hold.
New rule – How it works?
US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will issue notices to appear (NTA) to people whose applications regarding visa extension or changes in status have been denied.
USCIS will send rejection letters to ensure benefit seekers are provided adequate notice when their application is denied.
It will also provide details on how applicants can review information regarding their period of authorised stay, check travel compliance, or validate departure from the US.
The federal agency will continue to prioritise cases of individuals with criminal records, fraud, or national security concerns.
What is Notice to Appear (NTA)?
NTA is considered the first step towards deportation of foreign nationals who do not have valid papers to legally stay in the US. It is a document that instructs an individual to appear before an immigration judge.
Also, there has been no change in the current process for issuing NTAs in cases of individuals with criminal records, fraud, or national security concerns.
Tough stand since 2017
The Trump administration announced a new policy in 2017 that made the procedure of issuing H1-B visas to those to be employed at one or more third-party worksites very tough. Under the policy, the company would have to go the extra length to prove that its H1-B employee at a third-party worksite has specific and non-qualifying speculative assignments in a speciality occupation.
The new move announced empowers the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) to issue H-1B visas to an employee only for the period for which he/she has worked at a third-party worksite.
As such the issuing of H1-B visas could be of less than three years. The new policy would reverse the tradition of issuing the H1-B visas for three years at a time.
Extensions of H1-B visas have become even tougher, in particular, if the employee has been on a bench for any part of their previous duration.
What is H-1B visa?
It is an employment-based and non-immigrant visa category for temporary workers. The H-1B visa programme permits US companies to temporarily recruit foreign workers in speciality occupations such as science and information technology. Indian IT giants like TCS, Infosys and Wipro are among the major beneficiaries of this programme as they rely on it for bringing in tens of thousands of employees with special skills each year.