H1B Visa : Two Lakhs Indian May Be Forced To Quit America

American H1B Visa Crisis – The Coronavirus pandemic has given a big jolt to the world’s economy resulting in massive layoffs and unemployment. United States of America (USA) is also going through the thoughest phase of their economic slowleness.

Under this slowdown and lack of jobs for native american, there are already talks of layoffs and criticism against migrant workers, especially Indian H-1B visa holders. US Tech Workers, an US body representing technology workers in American, in a petition to the American President Donald Trump has asked the government to suspend both H-1B and H-2 visa, offered foreign farm workers temporarily.

Read – Indian IT firms Defer Annual Wage Hike

ET Reported that As many as 250,000 migrant workers seeking a green card in the U.S.— about 2,00,000 of them on H-1B visas — could lose their legal status by the end of June, according to Jeremy Neufeld, an immigration policy analyst with the Washington D.C.-based think tank Niskanen Center. Thousands more who are not seeking resident status may also be forced to return home, he said. About three-quarters of H-1B visas go to people working in the technology industry, though the exact levels vary year by year.

On April 20, President Donald Trump tweeted that he planned a temporary ban on all immigration to protect American jobs; the following day he announced an executive order blocking most people coming from outside the U.S. from receiving green cards for 60 days. This raised the threat of further disruptions for companies who employ many foreign-born workers.

Why H1B Visa Crisis ?

Close to 68 percent of the H-1B registrations for FY21 were from India, the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) said on April 1.

“Nearly 2,75,000 unique registrations were submitted during the initial registration period. Nearly 81 percent of submitted registrations were for potential beneficiaries from India (67.7 percent) and China (13.2 percent),” USCIS statement said.

Tens of millions of Americans have lost their jobs in the last two months, but workers on visas are vulnerable in ways native-born workers aren’t, because 

  1. H-1B visas, for instance, are tied to a specific location and employer who commits to paying the recipient a minimum salary.
  2. Furloughing recipients, reducing their wages, and in some cases allowing them to work from home violates visa requirements.
  3. H-1B workers who are terminated have 60-days to find another job, transfer to a different visa or leave the country. Even if they don’t lose their jobs, workers can find themselves in a dilemma if they can’t get their visas renewed during this period of disruption. 
  4. If H-1B visas are valid and their job contract is terminated, they will have 60 days to find a new job. 
  5. If their H-1B visa is expiring, renewing them now is tough since the USCIS and embassies are closed.
  6. In case of rejections, they will have to change their status to B2 visa (visitor). This means they cannot look for new jobs. So they will have to come back to India, find a new employer to sponsor the H-1B.
  7. This is applicable for those in the green card queue as well. Some of them have been working in the US for more than a decade. 
  8. Many here who had applied for passport renewals are stuck. They cannot extend their visa nor change their status.
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