Bengaluru: To obtain an H-1B visa just got more difficult. Even if one manages to get one, it won’t be of three years, as the norm used to be. Moreover, the shorter duration will make it next to impossible to turn the visa into a green card.
It would be Indians and and IT companies which would feel the heat as they are the biggest users this visa.
A policy memorandum issued by the US Citizenship & Immigration Services on February 22 said its officers could seek detailed documentation and more evidence from firms to establish that they have specific assignments in a specialty occupation for the H-1B beneficiary, and that they have these assignments for the entire time requested on the petition.
If the company is able to only demonstrate that the beneficiary will have the specified work for less than three years, the visa would be granted for that lesser period.
Currently, H-1Bs are issued for three years, and, for a long time, they were extended for three years with few questions asked. Over the past year, the administration has made the process of extension more difficult, compelling Indian IT firms to tell employees on H-1Bs that they may have to return earlier than anticipated. The new rules imply that one may not even now get the initial full three years.
IT association Nasscom’s president, R Chandrasekhar, said it would be complicated for an immigration officer to establish the connections between qualifications and tasks, and that in practice this would bring in an element of subjectivity. “The implication of this is there will be a lot more paperwork. A series of executive orders have been coming out. Each one by itself may not be much, but they have cumulatively added up to making it much more difficult and onerous for companies to use the H-1B route,” he said.