Can working in the US be easier post Trump presidency? The President-elect, Joe Biden, has vowed to make the USA an inviting destination for job seekers from around the globe.
This means the US government led by Biden is likely to be favorable for talents from India as well.
Working In The US – Trump Vs Biden
The Trump-led USA government had brought in rules and laws that were extremely tough on international job seekers.
The US administration under President Donald Trump issued the executive order “Buy American Hire American” in 2017 April. This order was issued to protect workers and job seekers from America.
What are some of the favorable changes for international job seekers including Indians that can be expected from the Biden-led US administration?
Given below are some of the important visas to the USA for skilled employees.
Read ahead to understand the alterations made to the rules and laws attached to these visas during the Trump-led US administration and the proposed changes put forward by the President-elect, Joe Biden.
H1B Visa – For Employment In The USA
The H1B Visas are the most popular visas issued for skilled employees from India. This is the most sought after visa by the Indians employed in the IT sector (Information Technology).
- New USA H-1B Visa Rules – Hiring Workers To Be Harder
- H1 Visa Suspension – Trump Suspends Worker Visas Till The End of 2020
- Curbs On H-1B Visa Removed – Can The Indian IT Sector Benefit From Biden’s Decision?
Under The Trump Led US Administration
The Trump-led administration worked intending to create more job opportunities for the Americans. Hence, several rules and laws were altered concerning the H1B visa to make it favorable for US job seekers.
- The executive order, “Buy American Hire American” was issued in 2017 April
- Wage hike rule introduced in October 2020
- Issued as ‘Interim Final Rule’
- Came into effect on the 8th of October 2020
- Wages raised at all levels
- Up to 50% increase in certain cases
- Several lawsuits filed to challenge this rule
- Proposal to remove the B1 Business visa
- B1 Visas were being used instead of H1B for short-term projects
- Another interim final rule
- Narrowed down the definition of the relationship between the employer and employee
- The definition of skilled occupation was also compressed
- Visa period for employees placed at third-party sites reduced to a year
- The rule to be imposed from December 2020
- This law is being challenged in US courts
- The lottery selection process of H1B workers to be scrapped
- Visa to be issued to the employees who earn the highest wages
- Travel ban for non-immigrant workers (Due to COVID 19)
- Till the 31st of December 2020
- Certain exceptions are given
- A preliminary injunction issued by a district court in the US on the 1st of October
- Based on a case filed by a group of trade associations
What Has Joe Biden Proposed?
The President-elect, Joe Biden, proposes the following concerning the H1B Visas.
- The number of high-skilled visas to be increased
- At present 85,000 H1B visas are issued every year
- Out of these 20,000 visas are reserved for those who obtained higher degrees from colleges in the USA
- Steps to restrain the exploitation of foreign employees
- Workers cannot be hired below the market rates
- A new category of visa to be introduced
- To support the overall economic growth
- Counties and cities permitted to hire higher levels of international workers
H-4 EAD Visa – For Spouses Of H1B Visa Holders
H-4 EAD visas are for the spouses of H1 B visa holders who have already applied for a green card. This visa allows them to get a work permit to be employed in the USA.
The Trump Led Administration
The Trump-led US government had on their agenda to get rid of this visa.
- The Agenda of spring 2020 repeatedly mentioned the removal of EAD visa
- ‘Save Jobs USA’ (Started by a group of US-based techies) filed a lawsuit against this ruling.
- The court proceedings continue
Steps Proposed By Biden
President-elect Joe Biden proposes the following concerning the EAD visa
- The H-4 EAD visa is likely to be continued
- The Obama-led USA government introduced the EAD visa
- This was introduced in 2015
- To remove the difficulties due to the backlog of green card applications.
- Some of the backlogs were even decades-long
Education Visas To The USA
There are around 11 lakhs, international students, studying in the USA. Among these almost 2.02 lakhs students are from India.
Under The Trump Administration
The following changes were either proposed or imposed by the Trump-led US government concerning the education visas for international students.
- Amendment of existing OPT (Optional Practical Training) rules
- This was mentioned in President Trump’s agenda for spring 2020
- The current OPT program permits international students to work for one year after getting their degree.
- STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) students can get a two-year extension as well.
- A proposal to reduce the tenure of education visas introduced recently
- Tenure to be reduced to 4 years
- In certain cases, the tenure is to be reduced to 2 years
- At present international students can remain in the USA as long she/he is pursuing courses
- No fixed expiry date for their student visa.
What Does Joe Biden, The President-Elect For USA Propose?
The following proposals have been suggested by Joe Biden regarding education visas.
- Withdraw the proposal to restrict the visa tenure for international students.
- To increase the number of visas for highly skilled international workers
- To exempt international graduates from US doctoral degrees to receive a green card
- This will encourage international students to stay longer in the USA
The USA Green Card
Around 5.9 lakhs of employees and their family members were on the waiting list for green cards belonging to the category for employment (EB 2 and EB 3 category). Out of this number, almost 5.5 lakhs people were Indians.
The average waiting period for Indians to obtain a green card is expected to be almost 49 years. The number of Indians waiting for green cards sponsored by families comes up to 2.27 lakhs.
- Can Indians Benefit From Trump’s Green Card Suspension?
- Trump’s Merit Based Immigration And Green Card System – Key Points
Working In The US Under The Trump Administration
The Trump-led USA government has done nothing to eliminate the backlog of green card applications. The government failed to introduce new laws or rules that could minimize or remove the backlog of applications for green cards.
Working In The US – What Has Joe Biden Proposed?
Joe Biden, the US President-elect has proposed the following regarding green card applications.
- Family-based immigration to be supported
- They propose to exempt spouse and minor children from green card caps
At present, the spouse and children of a green card holder have to fit into the country cap as well as a world-wide yearly cap. This annual cap comes to almost 2.26 lakhs.
- Work-based green cards to be increased.
- Backlogs for green cards to be removed by eliminating country caps
- An annual cap of 1.40 lakhs at present
- The country cap is 7%
- The USA is a country of Immigrants
- The process of citizenship to be made more accessible
- Especially to those qualified and deserving green cardholders
Since the Biden led administration has promised to make the USA an attractive place for international talents, the rules and laws attached to the overseas job seekers currently are likely to be changed or altered.
This means it will be easier for Indian workers and job seekers to get an employment visa, a dependent visa, or a green card.
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