How H1B Visa Will Impact Job Seekers?

Current affairs

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Following article on "How H1B Visa Will Impact Job Seekers? "

The H1B visa is a non-immigrant visa that allows the US companies to hire foreign workers in specialised jobs like IT, finance, accounting, engineering, medicine etc. Initially it was perceived as a cost cutting measure for companies operating in the US because it allows them to hire cheap foreign labour in specialised jobs in the wake of high wages in the US. Since the applying for a non-immigrant visa is generally quicker than the US green Card, the H1B visa was quite popular among the US companies. For the fiscal year starting October 1, 2018, the H1B visa cap of 65,000 visas was already filled and more than 60% applicants were sponsored by the Indian IT companies.


Changes In H1B Visa Rules

During his election campaign, the US President Donald Trump’s slogan was ‘Buy American, Hire American’ claiming that foreign workforce is snatching the jobs away from US jobseekers. The changes proposed by Trump administration in H1B visa include –

  • Denial of extension of H1B visa to green card applicants. 
  • According to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, all multiple H-1B filings will face rejection as it undermine the integrity of lottery process.
  • All US visa applicants will have to submit details of their previous phone numbers, email addresses and social media histories as part of the "vetting" practice.
  • Spouses of certain H1B visa holders will be barred from seeking jobs.
  • It proposes fresh restrictions on minimum salary.
  • Under the new policy announced by Trump administration, companies have to prove that the employees that they send to the US on H-1B visas have “specific and no speculative qualifying assignments in a speciality occupation” for the entire visa period which means H-1B visa cannot be moved between projects and companies once they are in the country.


Possible Impact on Indian Jobseekers

The new H1B visa rules will mostly affect the Indian jobseekers as more than half of the H1B visas are awarded to Indian nationals. The new reform would potentially jeopardize the visa status of 500,000 to 750,000 tech workers from India alone in the US who are waiting for permanent residency or Green Card. The affect will be catastrophic on those Indians who are in the US for over a decade and have US citizen children and own a house but are still waiting for Green Card. Consequently, the visa applications by Indians are expected to fell by 50% this year.

The effect will be felt on not only the Indian jobseekers in the US but techies in India as well. In the absence of H1B visa, the IT firms like Infosys, TCS etc will have to hire US nationals for employment in the US which will increase their wage bill and consecutively, the Indian IT companies may resort to retrenchment in India as well to balance the costs.

The H4 visa was introduced in 2015 that allowed the spouses of H1B visa holders to work in the US. The proposed changes will bar the spouses of H1B visa holders to work in the US. 

Thus the policy changes introduced by the Trump administration will pose a major challenge for Indian jobseekers in the US as well as or the Indian IT companies.


Possible Impact On US IT Sector

Many of the H1B visa holders Indians in the US are small business owners and their exodus may reduce jobs in the US economy. As hiring American workers would be expensive, the companies in the US may further transfer more jobs to other countries to reduce the cost and thus, there is a possibility that the reforms of H1B visa regulations may prove to be counter-productive.

Though the US President is just trying to fulfil his electoral promises, the forceful evacuation of migrant workforce is found to be detrimental for both, the host country and the migrant workforce. When the world is becoming a global village and obstacles in the movement of goods, services and personnel are gradually removed, this is a regressive step and is expected to ill-affect the US IT sector more than that of the Indian IT sector.

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