US President-elect Joe Biden delivers remarks in Wilmington, Delaware, on November 7, 2020, after being declared the winner of the presidential election.(AFP)
US President-elect Joe Biden delivers remarks in Wilmington, Delaware, on November 7, 2020, after being declared the winner of the presidential election.(AFP)

Biden’s H1B visa, green card plans likely to benefit thousands of Indians

Biden will support expanding the number of high-skilled visas and eliminating the limits on employment-based visas by country, which create unacceptably long backlogs, Biden campaign’s policy document said.
By hindustantimes.com | Edited by Poulomi Ghosh | Hindustan Times, New Delhi
UPDATED ON NOV 08, 2020 12:32 PM IST

Apart from the fact that an Indian-origin woman will step inside the White House as the Vice President for the first time ever, the Biden-Harris election is good news for Indian professionals for another reason. The new administration is expected to reverse some of the decisions of the outgoing Trump rule, including that of the H-1B. Tens of thousands of Indian professionals will be benefitted if the new rule plans to increase the number of high-skilled visas.

Also Read: Biden will ‘stand with India’ if elected, highlights Trump admin’s ‘harmful’ action on H1B visa

This was a part of the comprehensive immigration reform that the Biden administration plans to work on, either in one go or in separate pieces, PTI reported.

In June, Trump had temporarily suspended the H-1B visas along with other types of foreign work visas until the end of 2020 to protect American workers from unemployment aggravated by Covid-19 pandemic. In October, the Trump administration had announced new restrictions on the H-1B non-immigrant visa programme, which was aimed at protecting American workers, restoring integrity and to better guarantee that H-1B petitions are approved only for qualified beneficiaries and petitioners. These proposals were not applicable to those who are already in the US, but were meant for new visa-holders who will be going to the US.

Also Read: ‘Green Card waitlist for Indians runs into 200 years’: US senator on country cap

The Biden administration plans to create a new visa category to allow cities and counties to petition for higher levels of immigrants to support their growth.

“High skilled temporary visas should not be used to disincentivise recruiting workers already in the US for in-demand occupations. An immigration system that crowds out high-skilled workers in favour of only entry level wages and skills threatens American innovation and competitiveness,” according to a policy document issued by the Biden campaign.

“Biden will work with Congress to first reform temporary visas to establish a wage-based allocation process and establish enforcement mechanisms to ensure they are aligned with the labour market and not used to undermine wages. Then, Biden will support expanding the number of high-skilled visas and eliminating the limits on employment-based visas by country, which create unacceptably long backlogs,” it said.

Technology companies depend on H-1B visas that allows them to hire tens of thousands of employees each year from countries like India and China.

Employment-based visas, also known as green cards, allow migrants to gain lawful permanent residence in the US in order to engage in skilled work.

Currently, the number of employment-based visas is capped at 140,000 each year.

According to the policy document, Biden will also exempt from any cap recent graduates of PhD programmes in STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) fields in the US who are poised to make some of the most important contributions to the world economy.

(With PTI Inputs)

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