H-1B visa allows the employers in the United States to employ foreign workers from all around the world in specialized occupations such as financing, IT, architecture, engineering, accounts, science, mathematics etc. the petition of this visa has to be requested by the employer himself and the employer needs follow some guidelines as per the treatment of foreign workers.
These foreign workers employed via the H-1B visa contribute highly to the enhancement of the US economy. It is a way through which a whole bunch of skilled workers is accumulated in the United States.
Arun Jaitley, the current Finance Minister of India, was recently in America to attend the IMF and World Bank annual meeting. On 15th October, Sunday, the Finance Minister of India put forward his views regarding the H-1B visa holders in an interview with ANI. He notified that he had persuaded the people of United States of America to understand the importance of H-1B visa holders. He said that these H-1B visa holders are an asset to the US economy and he also emphasized on the fact that the H-1B visa holders from India must not be referred to as illegal economic immigrants.
Arun Jaitley was concerned about the treatment of Indians who are in the United States of America via the H-1B visa. He stated that these people contribute a major fraction in the American and must be treated accordingly. The view that these talented professionals are merely illegal migrants must be discarded as these individuals are high-value professionals.
Many IT professionals are hired by the employers from the United States of America. In the month of September, the processing had begun on a fast pace but the number of applications filed had increased so much that the processing was suspended temporarily.
His prime focus during the interview was the position of the India H-1B visa holders. He kept on emphasizing that the way these professionals are treated must be reconsidered and their hard work must be appreciated. They are highly professional workers and they must receive the respect they deserve and must not be labeled as the illegal economic migrants. Their work is contributing in shaping the future of the United States of America and soon Americans will realize how important they are to the economy of their country.
According to Jaitley, the relationship between India and the United State of America is maturing on many levels. Moreover, he also informed that the Prime Minister of India, Narendra Modi, had an exceptional experience on his visit to the United States. This maturing relationship between the two countries is something that will cause this relationship to be consolidated further.
During the same interview, Jaitley was questioned about Donald Trump’s statement in which he emphasized that the relationship between Pakistan and the United States of America is improving. To which he refused to comment on and referred to it as an internal matter of both the countries.
The Trump Era in the United States of America has not been a full of luck era for applicants of H1-B Visas. H1-B Visas not only helped the foreign workers to work freely in the states but it also helped the employers of the US companies to hire highly skilled personnel from every corner of the world. Most of the people in the US believe that the foreign workers are killing the employment opportunities for the Native Americans. Whereas, many believe that through these highly skilled foreign workers, the economy of the country is positively affected.
H1-B Visas help organizations in growth
The H1-B Visas allow hospitals and companies to hire foreigners who are best suited for the job for which the skilled Americans are not available. Amazon, Microsoft, Apple, Intel, Google, Facebook, and Oracle are the major hires of foreign workers in the United States.
The visa applications are facing more and more challenges for H-1B every day making it extremely difficult for the foreign workers to get employment and it has become way more difficult for the employers of the United States to hire such workers.
Trump administration and H1-B Visas
The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services-USCIS showed data which made it evident that the Trump government is issuing way more challenges in issuing the H1-B Visas as compared to the Obama era.
In the time period between the months January and August, 85,000 Request for Evidence -RFEs have been issued to the applicants of H-1B visas. In the same time period in the Obama era, the RFEs issued were 45% less than the Trump era. Other hurdles created for H-1B applications includes challenging the basis of H-1B petitions by saying that there is less evidence that the employer needs a foreign worker. Adding to this, the entry-level jobs are being targeted by the Trump administration. It is looked upon as a stealth campaign against the issuance of H-1B visas. A New York-based immigration attorney, Cyrus Mehta stated that one way to design a policy synchronized with the trump administration is to impose more and scrutiny on the H-1B visa cases.
The trump administration is doing it all to delay the processing of H-1B visa applications by creating more and more hurdles in the processing. Even the process of renewing the popular foreign H1-B visa is toughened.
Well, 59% of the applications of the H-1B visas have been processed and nothing can be said as to how many more applications will be processed by the end of this year. In the fiscal year of Obama’s era, 89% of the H-1B visa applications were processed and issued.
It is not clear whether there will be a major impact on the number of H-1B visas issued by the end of the year but it is evident that objection is being issued over a huge number of H-1B visa applications which is forcing many companies to go for outsourcing as the required personnel is not available in the United States and if the companies cannot bring in the foreign talent in the states the only way is to outsource and hire the required skilled workers.
Donald Trump’s Government is becoming very strict about the work visas that allow foreign workers to get employment in the US-based companies. But what he is forgetting is that the H-1B visas and L-1 visas have not only helped the foreign workers but also the employees of the United States.
It was not very long ago that after noticeable abates in H1-B visas, a lot of people started opting for L1-B visas. But even that didn’t seem to go well with the present Government. The strict rules and restrictions have not only been imposed on H-1B visas, but also on the L-1 visas, which is definitely going to affect outsourcing. Due to the restrictions imposed, the attention has been diverted to outsourcing and many other methods, such as investment visas.
Outsourcing refers to shifting some part of the business overseas. When due to the harsh laws, the employers cannot bring in the foreign professionals or find it difficult to do so, other means of getting their work done is by expanding its brand or shifting some of its areas to countries where they can find the required professional personnel. This is what is going to be the case in the United States if the restrictions on the H-1B and L-1 visas do not get a little lenient, which in turn will have a detrimental effect on the US economy.
Stuart Anderson, contributor to Forbes said that the companies would not stick in the United States after so much strictness and would rather choose to outsource. Economist and an author from the George Mason University, Tyler Cowen said that imposing such restrictions will cause the companies to opt for outsourcing which means that the employment opportunities in the United States will drop and the employment opportunities in the foreign lands will increase. He also added that outsourcing will not only affect the economy badly but it will also be disastrous for the reputation of the country all around the world. Anderson argues that the demand for skills among the US and foreign-born workers is on the rise and it makes sense to allow more IT work to be performed in the US.
Another trend that will gain popularity is the investment visa. EB-5 visas which are commonly known as investor visas have already come in the spotlight now. A person or a family looking forward to the investment visa need to invest one-million dollars in US commercial projects or half a million dollars in projects to increase employment opportunities in rural areas where the employment rates are low.
There are numerous benefits of opting for EB-5 visas, especially for the students studying in the United States. The families who can afford the investment opt for it as it allows their children to work freely in the companies of the United States without the need for H-1B visas. CanAm Investor Services’ chief compliance officer and CEO said that many families from India have been enquiring about the EB-5 visas after the restrictions were imposed on H-1B visas. He also added that by opting for the investment visa, the families cut down up to 10 years from the process of gaining a green card and moreover, it allows the children of such families to work without any hurdles, such as H-1B visas and L-1 visas.
The Labor force that was previously moving to the United States in huge number for employments over an H1-B visa is now facing various issues. Trump administration has introduced some new policies that will abate the number of H1-B visa holders in the United States by a great number. The new norms are also pushing India’s high inclined IT sector in a debacle. As per facts, 15% of the employees working in American IT firms are Indians. Most of these people have shifted to the United States on an H1-B visa. Before this year, an average of 6,500 H1-B visas were granted each year. These individuals would then serve in different industries in the United States as professionals. But now things are not that easy.
Here is the Checklist For An H1-B Visa
The ‘Buy American, Hire American’ Policy:
Trump administration has implemented a policy that forces employers to look for talent within the country instead of beyond borders. By April 2017 the primary processing of H1-B visas have almost halted.
Here are some other things about H1-B visas that have changed with the change of power in the United States:
- The minimum salary has been doubled to $130,000 for H1-B visa holders. This is both, a good news and bad. Although, it increases the overall salaries in the area but also discourage employers to have people on board on an H1-B visa. When the cost of local professional is less than one from abroad, the employers automatically switch their preferences.
- There is no more ‘per country cap’. Earlier, Indians enjoyed a high number of employments in the United States on an H1-B visa but now an equal distribution among several countries has been enforced.
- The employers need to give a fair statement as to why they are hiring a professional from across the oceans and not from the United States. They need to come up with facts that support the idea why ‘no American’ was suitable for this job.
- No computerized lottery system. After Americans, the preference is given to the foreign students who have graduated from the United States on a student visa instead of someone picked on a lottery system on an H1-B visa.
- An H1-B visa holder’s spouse cannot work in the United States anymore. This bounds most of the people with working spouse applying for an H1-B visa.
- The new norms prohibit any company with half of their employees on H1-B visas or L-1 visas from hiring any further foreigners.
Indians and Chinese are the biggest beneficiaries of H1-B visas. According to a report, in 2014, 70% of the H1-B visas for the year were allocated to Indians. Any changes in the laws and policies for the H1-B visas will directly impact Indian markets. According to reports, a total of 30% drop in visa allocations to Indians is expected in the following year. Here are the requirements to qualify for an H1-B Visa.
The Trump government has recently announced a Raise Act, an immigration bill, in the US Senate. The bill, RAISE, is an acronym which stands for Reforming American Immigration for Stronger Employment. As the name suggests, the bill strongly favors the inflow of English speaking, educated and highly qualified immigrants as opposed to the intake of lower social class immigrants with not so strong grasp on the native language. The bill actually aims to curtail the “legal” immigrations that correspond to people holding green cards, bringing in their families and relatives as the US Policy previously allowed for.
The US has always been open to opportunities for all and a place for everyone to live in the land of freedom and independence. However, the new policy aims to focus more strongly on the rights and needs of the American working class rather than letting immigrants snoop in on the jobs available.
Trump & the RAISE Act
The immigrants agreed upon low wages jobs, which most Americans refused to do, leading to companies hiring low income employees and cutting down their expenses. The immigrant policy will put these companies in peril considering the restriction on the immigrant inflow. As per the new policy, only immigrants who qualify the inquiry by legislation would be given the chance to a successful immigration policy. Note that this policy aims at immigrants that come in through relatives or families already residing in the US. Changes to the H-1B Visa program already had huge implications on the Indian IT companies. This however, does not affect the number of immigrants that come in through work visa. As per an estimate conducted, in the first year the RAISE Act will cut down about 41% of the immigrants which will grow up to 50% by the 10
As per an estimate conducted, in the first year the RAISE Act will cut down about 41% of the immigrants which will grow up to 50% by the 10th year, whereas the immigrants coming in through the work visa will remain approximately the same. The reason for so is quoted to be the fact that those who apply through for work visa, already qualify the basic requirements that have been setup through the RAISE act, which includes fluency in English, financial ability to support themselves and their families, a strong educational background and an exceptional record of achievements.
This bill, as described, is said to lay focus on the rights of the American workers more. This meant that those immigrants, who would displace a normal American worker by accepting lower wages, would no longer do so. Hence, giving the American working class a chance to strive to earn for themselves and curb the work force gap in the US.
Given the already low unemployment rate in the US, some criticize it to be not a bold move towards the welfare of US. Some also quote the real essence of the US is liberty and a place for all, therefore this bill contradicts the very essence of the United States of America, the land of freedom and choice.
The bill is expected to be voted upon the Senate soon and as per the overall opinion of critics, it is not likely to pass. The Republicans would require about 60 votes overall from the Senate whereas they only hold about 52 seats. The critics yet await the results of the bill, currently hovering with an ironic stance of welfare of Americans as well as curbing the idea of US being a land of freedom and choice for all.
In short, the Raise Act is a dramatic change to family immigration not for the Employment-Based System. Let’s keep our fingers crossed and hope for the best!