The Biden-led US government has removed the curbs on H-1B visa and this will be a huge relief to the IT (Information Technology) sector in India. The IT firms in India are the biggest users of the H-1B visa and this is also is one of the most sought-after visas to the US by Indians.
Curbs On H-1B Visa Proposed By Trump
Earlier the Trump-led US administration had proposed a regulation seeking to narrow down the definition given to “Speciality Occupation” under the H-1B visa. However, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) in the US has now removed the rule imposed by the Trump administration which was to redefine Speciality Occupation under this visa.
- Highly skilled foreign workers can travel to the US using an H-1B visa
- During the presidential campaign days in 2016, the Trump administration proposed that several changes will be made to this visa program if he was elected
- The changes were to restrict the number of foreign workers entering the US under this visa
Curbs On H-1B Visa – Changes By Biden Government
The Biden-led US government has now removed the curbs following a ruling by a federal court. The court decided to remove it because the proposed regulation failed to give a good cause that proved the rules attached to this visa violated the APA (Administrative Procedures Act):
- On the 18th of May 2021, the USCIS (US Citizenship And Immigration Services) stated that a final rule was issued by the DHS.
- The DHS (Department of Homeland Security) has now removed the IFR issued by Trump in 2020.
- The IFR has also been removed from the CFR (Code of Federal Regulations) by a US federal district court.
Curbs On H-1B Visa – How The Indian IT Sector Benefits
The rule proposed by the US government under President Donald Trump sought to increase employer compliance commitments and restrict the placement of off-site workers under the H-1B visa. The IFR (Interim Final Rule) was put forth in October 2020.
- The H-1B visa has been in extensive use by the IT sector in India
- Several administrations in the US have always kept the view that the Indian IT firms were misusing the H-1B visa system which is based on a lottery system
The IFR introduced by the DHS in October 2020 had made several changes to the H-1B visa program.
- Regulatory definitions attached to the” Speciality Occupations” under this visa were redefined
- The validity period for international workers employed at 3rd party worksites under the H-1B visa was reduced
- The validity period was reduced from 3 years to 1 year
- The US Department of Labor (DOL) at the same time changed the method by which wage rates are calculated for visa applicants seeking H-1B visa
- The wage percentiles were adjusted by a few levels by the DOL
A court order blocked the two IFRs issued by the DHS and DOL simultaneously seeking to restrict the right of the companies in the US to hire foreign workers under the H-1B visa. The order was issued by the US District Court of California’s Northern District on the 1st of December 2020. As a result of this ruling, both the DHS IFR and the DOL IFR did not come into effect.
IT companies in India can now be relieved that the DHS has officially removed the regulations put forth by the Trump administration on the H-1B visa. However, the Biden-led US government could impose their regulations on this visa program in the months/years to come.
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