As the U.S. is all set to bring major changes in H-1B visa rules, India on Thursday said it was “closely engaged” with the Trump administration as well as the U.S. Congress on the matter.
The spokesperson in the Ministry of External Affairs issued a statement after Washington said it is planning to “revise” the definition of employment and specialty occupations under the H-1B visas by January. The new H-1B visa rules will have a negative impact on Indian IT professionals and companies in the U.S.
MEA spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said “It is a very important topic for us and that is the reason why time and again, at different levels, we have taken up the matter with the US side. Most recently, it was discussed and mentioned during the two-plus-two talks”. The MEA spokesperson said that, during discussions, India conveyed to the U.S. the contribution made to the growth and development of the U.S. economy by the highly skilled Indian professionals.
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Earlier on October 17, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) said that the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) plans to come out with its new proposal by January 2019. It will “propose to revise the definition of specialty occupation” to increase focus on obtaining the best and the brightest foreign nationals via the H-1B programme. It will also “revise the definition” of employment and employer-employee relationship to “better protect” U.S. workers and wages, the DHS said.
The H-1B visa is the most sought-after among Indian IT professionals. This is a non-immigrant visa that allows U.S. companies to employ foreign workers in specialty occupations that require theoretical or technical expertise. The technology companies depend on it to hire tens of thousands of employees each year from countries like India and China.
Under the “Unified Fall Agenda” of the Trump administration, this move is most likely to hit the functioning of Indian IT companies in the U.S. and also small and medium-sized contractual companies in the IT sector in India.