Published: Wed, January 10, 2018
Entertaiment | By Lawrence Myers

U.S. drops change on H-1B visa rule, relief for tech workers

U.S. drops change on H-1B visa rule, relief for tech workers

Some reports estimated that almost a million H-1B visa holders, as many as 500,000 to 750,000 of them Indians, could be forced to proceed home in case of such a decision.

Coming as a relief for many Indian workers in the United States is the latest announcement by the Trump administration which clarifies that the government is not considering a policy change that could force the workers on H-1B visa to leave the country. When the reports first became pubic, there was a stir among the Indian's and other people who have been working overseas and who are not the permanent citizens of the state.

The US Citizenship and Immigration Services announced that it was not considering "a regulatory change that would force H-1B visa holders to leave the United States by changing interpretation of section certain language in Section 104C of the American Competitiveness in the 21st Century Act (AC21) statute that states that USCIS may grant the extensions". They were previously on the staff of Senators Jeff Sessions and Charles Grassley respectively, both lawmakers having made fervent legislative efforts to squish H-1B visas.

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"If implemented this could lead to large scale deportations, mostly of Indians, throwing hundreds and thousands of families into crisis", an official of Immigration Voice official had told Hindustan Times at the time of the earlier report. Considering the USA government's tough stance on foreign policy, many still believe the overall fear of losing their H-1B visa status in future could also lead to "self-deportation" of thousands of Indian workers.

H-1B holders whose I-140 Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker form has been approved are entitled to a three-year extension under Section 104 of the law, while employees who have filed for Labor Certifications more than 365 days before their six-year H-1B visa term are granted a one-year extension under Section 106 of the legislation.

This announcement by USCIS has brought vast relief for 750,000 Indians, who were assuming a possible deportation, if that rule was passed.

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US President Donald Trump, during his election campaign, had batted for deporting H-1B visa holders to give opportunity for the US citizens.

USCIS media chief Jonathan Withington sought to make it clear that the agency was never considering such a policy change, adding, "Any suggestion that USCIS changed its position because of pressure is absolutely false". Even if the USCIS begins denying H-1B extensions filed under Section 104 (c), it will presumably honor extensions already granted under this provision. This is a GREAT development.

An American publication, McClatchy, reported that the proposal was withdrawn.

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