How USA’s Work Visa Suspension Will Affect Indians?

How USA's Work Visa Suspension Will Affect Indians?

President Trump recently extended the immigration visa ban from 24 June to 31 December, with many tech companies criticizing the move. The step would affect Indian skilled workforce and Indian tech companies and other MNCs that issue a very high number of H1B visas.

Crux of the Matter

Extended Immigration Ban
Trump administration has extended the immigration ban in lieu of increasing unemployment and economic crisis triggered by Covid-19 in the United States of America. Currently, unemployment is the USA is standing at 40 million. Between Feb-Apr, more than 20 million United States workers lost their jobs in key industries where employers are currently requesting H-1B and L workers to fill positions.

US administration has taken this step to insulate its citizens from unemployment, but the tech giants, one of the pillars of the US economy have expressed dissatisfaction with the action. Tech- companies have a large portion of the high skill workforce comprising of immigrant workers from across the globe, majorly India. Thus, Indians are likely to be affected directly by this move.

Between February and April of 2020, more than 17 million United States jobs were lost in industries in which employers are seeking to fill worker positions tied to H-2B nonimmigrant visas.

Donald Trump, President of USA

Understanding Visas
H1B – Temporary work permit to a person employed in a highly specialized field
Eg: An Indian techie hired by Google
Validity: 6 years
New visas per year: ~85,000
Indians receive ~70% of the total H1-B visas issued each year

H2B – Given to types of temporary seasonal workers, who are employed in non-agriculture work
Eg: An Indian employee hired for a construction job
Validity: Up to 3 years
New visas per year: ~66,000

H4 – Issued to family members of H1B and H2B holders
Validity: Duration of the H1B visa
Indians received 83% of the ~126,000 visas issued in FY19

L1 – For intra-company Executives and Managers of MNCs
Eg: An executive working is Coca-Cola unit in India is transferred to US branch
Validity: Up to 7 years
No annual cap on the number of visas to be issued
Indians receive nearly 1/4th of all L1 visas

L2 – For the Dependents of L1 holders
Validity: Duration of L1 visa holders

J1 – For Cultural and Educational exchange
Validity: Up to 7 years (depending on the program undertaken)

J2 – For the Spouses and Dependents of J1 holders
Validity: Duration of the J1 visa holder

  • The H-1B is a visa in the United States that allows U.S. employers to temporarily employ foreign workers in specialty occupations. On June 27, 1952, Congress passed the Immigration and Nationality Act.
  • The Highly Skilled Migrant Programme (HSMP) was a scheme from 2002 until 2008 that allowed highly skilled people to immigrate into the United Kingdom to look for work or self-employment opportunities. It was different from the standard UK work permit scheme in that applicants did not need a specific job offer in the UK.
  • On 27 November 2014, the Electronic Travel Authorisation (ETA) facility became operational for citizens of over 40 eligible countries, including those who are eligible for visa on arrival. On 1 April 2017 the scheme was renamed e-Visa with three subcategories: e-Tourist Visa, e-Business Visa and e-Medical Visa.