Guest worker H-1B visa holders in the US, including more than half million from India, can breathe easy — at least for one year at a time.
US immigration officials have clarified they are not considering a regulatory change that would compel H1-B visa holders to leave the US after the six-year limit.
However, they left open the possibility that there would be rule changes that will allow H1-B visa holders who are having their green card processed to remain in US only one year at a time – instead of the current three-year extensions – making the whole process more tedioUS.
“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 a different rule, an official of the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) told McClatchy News, which first reported the proposed changes.
The official denied that USCIS was backing down because of pressure from US tech industry and Indian lobbying efforts. But following leak of news that the Trump administration was trying to make grounds for self-deportation of more than a million guest workers, at least two lawmaker wrote to the President urging him “not to deport H-1B holders awaiting permanent residency (Green Card) processing.”
“We strongly believe this action would be harmful to the American economy, credibility, and relations with India and the Indian-American community,” Democratic lawmaker Tulsi Gabbard and Republican lawmaker Kevin Yoder said in a letter to Trump last Friday. Both are members of the Congressional Caucus on India and Indian Americans. Trump himself, according to one account in Michael Wolff’s Fire and Fury, understands the needs of the US tech industry and is sympathetic their H1-B visa needs. But his White House minions from the conservative, nativist plank of the party have hyped up the threat of misuse of the visa to argue for killing the H1-b visa, or at least making the rules so tight and the costs so prohibitive that it becomes unviable for tech firms to hire H1-B.
The two Trump administration boffins who are reported to have worked on changing the rules are Stephen Miller, Trump’s senior advisor for policy and Francis Cissna, the current director of the USCIS. They were previously on the staff of Senators Jeff Sessions and Charles Grassley respectively, both lawmakers having made fervent legislative efforts to squish H-1B visas. While the USCIS clarification today provides some relief to H-1B green card processees, the additional paperwork that will come with tightening the regulations, and knowing there are immigration hardliners who are always looking to shut down the door on foreign workers and immigration, will test their nerves and finances. Even migrating the whole process from the current three-year extension to a year-on-year renewal will mean addition paperwork and costs.
Courtesy : Times now