How will Indian IT professionals benefit as Biden lets H1-B visa ban expire

By | Edited by Mallika Soni
Apr 02, 2021 10:05 AM IST

Nearly 70 per cent of the 85,000 H-1B visas issued every year are used by Indian professionals. The expiration of the order is expected to help Indian professionals. Here's how

In a move expected to benefit Indian information technology company, the Biden administration on Thursday decided not to extend the Trump-era visa. The visa ban, which was imposed by former US president Donald Trump last June, was centred on the H1-B visas and also affected the L-1 visa program, seasonal workers in the hospitality industry and students on work-study programs. The H-1B visa, which is a non-immigrant visa, allows US companies to employ foreign workers in speciality occupations that require theoretical or technical expertise. Nearly 70 per cent of the 85,000 H-1B visas issued every year are used by Indian professionals.

US President Joe Biden(AP)
US President Joe Biden(AP)

Why did Trump administration impose the ban?

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The ban was imposed by the Trump administration in June 2020 with the aim to prevent temporary workers across industries from entering the country and was later extended till March 31, 2021, citing the coronavirus pandemic. While the H1-B and other work visas have been criticised for allowing cheap labour in the US against the local workforce of the country, the visas have been useful to the country as a way of getting skilled and trained workers. Owing to this, tech industry leaders like Google CEO Sundar Pichai, Tesla CEO Elon Musk criticised Trump’s move. “Immigration has contributed immensely to America’s economic success, making it a global leader in tech, and also Google the company it is today. Disappointed by today’s proclamation – we’ll continue to stand with immigrants and work to expand opportunity for all,” Pichai said in a tweet.

Read more: Inordinate delay in processing of H-4 work authorisation, say spouses of H-1B visa holders

What has the Biden administration done?

As US President Joe Biden promised during the run-up to the 2021 elections, the administration allowed the Trump-era proclamation to expire. “Visa applicants who have not yet been interviewed or scheduled for an interview will have their applications prioritised and processed in accordance with existing phased resumption of visa services guidance,” the US state department said in a statement on their website.

“Visa applicants who were previously refused visas due to the restrictions of Presidential Proclamation 10052 may reapply by submitting a new application including a new fee,” it added.

How will the move help the Indians IT professionals?

The move is expected to help Indians as the major share of the H1-B visas are used by Indian professionals. The H1-B visas, which are approved for a period of three years, are a hiring pool for IT companies as it helps the companies keep their expenses in check. With the expiration of the order, those who were impacted by the travel ban will now be able to resume work in the US. The order will also allow US diplomatic missions, which are present in different countries, to issue fresh worker visas. It will thereby give permission to US-based IT companies to begin hiring foreign workers again.

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