Anti-India bias evident in US crackdown on L-1B visas

  • Yashwant Raj, Hindustan Times, Washington
  • Updated: Mar 18, 2015 23:28 IST

A new report based on US immigration data has found a record spike in denial of visas for intra-company transfers to work in the US in recent years, with Indians hit the hardest.

A “remarkable” 56% of applications for L-1B from India were rejected between 2012 and 2014, the National Foundation for American Policy (NFAP) said in a report released on Tuesday.

L-1 visa allows US employers to transfer employees from foreign operations to work in America — L-1A is for managers, and L-1B is for those with “specialised knowledge”.

The number of rejections of L-1B applications has been rising — from just 6% in 2006 to 30% in 2012, 34% in 2013 and a historic high of 35% in 2014, the report said.

The foundation said it obtained these numbers, with a country-wise break up for the first time, under Freedom of Information Act, the US version of India’s Right to Information Act.

Indian companies, especially in the IT sector, have been flagging their concerns, but while the Indian government has been sympathetic, their efforts at lobbying with the US government have had little or no impact.

Many Americans believe companies use L-1s and H-1B visas (for highly skilled foreign workers) to bring cheaper workers, from India and other countries, to displace locals.

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