New H1B visa policy will protect workers, prevent any fraud: USCIS

US new H-1B visa rules likely to hit Indian firms

The Trump administration has just made the H-1B visa-approval process even harder

A policy memorandum issued by the US Citizenship & Immigration Services on February 22 said its officers could seek detailed documentation and more evidence from firms to establish that they have specific assignments in a specialty occupation for the H-1B beneficiary, and that they have these assignments for the entire time requested on the petition.

And if these conditions are not satisfied, and if the petitioner did not adhere to the conditions of the initial petition and did not submit a modified petition on time, USCIS might have eligibility issues about a subsequent petition submitted to extend the recipient's work, the policy memorandum stated.

"H-1B has always been scrutinized but the level of detail that we've been seeing has been unprecedented", she said. Moreover, the shorter duration will make it next to impossible to turn the visa into a green card.

This consists of proof of real work projects, which might consist of technical documents, turning point tables, marketing analysis, cost-benefit analysis, sales brochures, and moneying files.

In addition, the applications will also have to include various contracts, a worker's itinerary and detailed statements of work, among other things.

The updated policy guidance aligns with President Donald Trump's "Buy American and Hire American" Executive Order and the directive to protect the interests of USA workers.

So, will Indian employees from TCS, Infosys, etc. have to pack their bags? Indians and Indian IT companies will feel the impact the most because they are the biggest users of this visa. "But that's really not fair".

A Bay Area News Group report earlier this week found a sharp rise in the number of reviews immigration officials were conducting on H-1B applications.

In an interview to ET Now, R Chandrashekhar, President, Nasscom said, "these new norms do complicate the process and make it more onerous in terms of the paper work involved both for the issuance of the visa and the continuation and extension of it".

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In August this year, the agency shared data showing that top IT outsourcers in the United States were paying below-average wages.

H-1B is a non-immigrant USA visa that allows American companies to hire graduate-level foreign workers in specialty occupations, such as IT, finance, architecture, engineering and medicine, where there may be a shortage of suitably trained domestic employees.

In June 2017, a former head of immigration at Infosys accused the company of discriminating against non-south Asians.

Silicon Valley companies, long dependent on skilled foreign workers to fuel their growth, began bracing for changes to immigration policy as soon as Trump was elected.

Ultimately, the American economy will suffer, as will larger tech companies, according to Watson.

The insistence on project time frames in visa applications is likely a bid to favour locals, allowing foreign workers to be in the USA only for a bare minimum time period.

Extensions of H-1B visas have actually ended up being even harder, in particular if the worker has actually been on a bench for any part of their previous period.

"While all these issues in the new USCIS policy are already asked for in challenges to the H-1B petition known as Requests for Evidence, it provides more incentive for USCIS to ask for more evidence regarding the specific nature of the H-1B workers' work", he said.

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