Tensions are high as US President Donald Trump threatens to alter immigration policy that could affect H1B visa holders. Recently, a dialogue was opened between representatives of Indian interests and eight US delegates in order to resolve conflicts that could arise because of new policy implementation.
The US delegates and US interests were overseen by congressman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.), and both sides seemed relieved after talks opened.
An anonymous official commented on the meeting: “US-India has a good relationship historically. India and US complement and supplement each other in several areas, especially with Indian talent adding value to US firms, and the biggest examples are Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella and Google CEO Sundar Pichai.”
The H1B visa is typically held by experienced workers in specialty occupations, and because 65 percent of India’s $155 billion IT revenue is comprised of American accounts, businesses and employees in both countries are concerned for the future. In fact, Indian IT makes up 9.3% of GDP, employing millions of people.
Mr. Trump believes that the overseas Indian IT business is a threat to American jobs, and a reduction in the number of visas issued could relieve pressure on the American workforce. A reduction in unemployment or increased middle class prosperity would put the Trump administration on the map for a win, which many critics say is sorely needed after his recent immigration ban from several predominantly Muslim countries was quickly overturned after three separate rulings from the judicial branch.
Another official clarified that whatever the outcome, both sides wanted to ensure that the issues were made transparent so business interests and investors residing in both countries knew what to expect in the coming weeks and months.
Soon, a Nasscom delegation will visit the US in order to continue talks.
Meanwhile, US Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-Ca.) took action last month by introducing new legislation to appease the Trump administration. Lofgren’s bill suggests that the H1B visa program is subject to “abuse” and that immigration programs are “broken.”
This High-Skilled Integrity and Fairness Act of 2017 put forth aims to ensure the US will continue to seek intelligent minds from abroad, especially those who create more jobs in their respective fields. The ultimate purpose according to Lofgren is to stop the outsourcing of American jobs or the undercutting of wages.
The bill guarantees that at least 20 percent of H1B visas are granted to small businesses or entrepreneurial startups, and is one of the bill’s more popular provisions. The idea is new businesses that have more skilled workers will be more likely to thrive, even in economically uncertain times.
In addition, the bill also grants visa holders a simpler path to permanent residence in the US, a move aimed at decreasing the number of undocumented workers or workers who overstay their visas. It also slashes administrative costs in order to facilitate efficient procedural guidelines.
Indian residents hoping to obtain an H1B visa are urged to contact an H1B visa attorney in order to discuss the potential implications of the Trump administration on immigration status at present and in the future, as events in Washington are changing outlooks on a day-to-day basis.