New Delhi: In a huge blow to Indian techies eyeing the American job market, US President Donald Trump on Tuesday suspended H-1B visas till the end of the year. Some other types of foreign work visas were also suspended till the end of 2020 to protect US workers in a crucial election year. The new restrictions will take effect from Wednesday.
H-1B visa is a non-immigrant visa that allows US companies to employ foreign workers in specialised fields. According to estimates, before the coronavirus pandemic, the US issued 85,000 H-1B visas annually, of which Indians get 60,000. This move may badly affect Indian industry, especially the IT sector. Indian IT professionals who were issued H-1B visas for fiscal year 2021, starting October 1, will now have to wait till at least the end of the year to apply to US diplomatic missions to get their passports stamped, or for visa renewals.
In April, Trump signed an immigration proclamation targeting people outside the US seeking to legally migrate to America, with some exceptions. That order, that was set to lapse, will be extended till 2020 end expanded to include some guest worker visas. The new visas are L-1 visas for intra-company transfers, H-1B as well as the H-4 visa for spouses, H-2Bs for temporary non-agricultural workers and most J-1 visas for exchange visitors.
The proclamation also extends till the year end his earlier executive order that banned issuing of new Green Cards for lawful permanent residency.
Green Card holders are immediately eligible to compete for almost any job, at par with US citizens in most areas.
While issuing the proclamation, Trump has ignored the mounting opposition to his order by several businesses, legislators and human rights bodies. Google CEO Sunder Pichai said he was disappointed over Trump’s decision, and added: “Immigration contributed immensely to America’s economic success, making it a global leader in tech.”