Monday, 30 October 2017 10:57

US tightens rules for renewal of H-1B visas

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US technology companies that employ foreigners on H-1B visas will find it more difficult to obtain renewals of these visas after the US Citizenship and Immigration Services tightened the procedure for renewal.

Last week, the USCIS issued new rules that stipulate visa-holders will have to go through the same process for renewal as they did to obtain the visa in the first place.

The main companies to be affected by this change in rule will be Indian outsourcing companies such as Tata Consultancy Services, Cognizant, Infosys and Wipro

Also affected by these rules is the L-1B visa which allows a worker to stay between five and seven years. There is no minimum wage requirement and dependents of an L-1B visa holder can work right away.

American multinationals can use the L-1B to bring in workers from their branches to work in the US.

Other changes made to the H-1B visa regime earlier in the year have ensured that the number of applications have fallen for the first time in four years.

In April, the USCIS received 199,000 applications for H-1B visas for the next fiscal year, compared to 236,000 received last year.

As the application process kicked off, the USCIS said that computer programmers would not be presumed to be eligible for an H-1B visa.

Rather, it specified that there needed to be details of the qualifications of the programmer supplied so that it was clear that the individual was fit to do the specialised task for which the visa was being sought.

The new guidance means that H-1B visas will go to very high-skilled and higher-paid professionals, with low- and mid-level jobs presumably to go to American workers instead.

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Sam Varghese

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Sam Varghese has been writing for iTWire since 2006, a year after the site came into existence. For nearly a decade thereafter, he wrote mostly about free and open source software, based on his own use of this genre of software. Since May 2016, he has been writing across many areas of technology. He has been a journalist for nearly 40 years in India (Indian Express and Deccan Herald), the UAE (Khaleej Times) and Australia (Daily Commercial News (now defunct) and The Age). His personal blog is titled Irregular Expression.

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