The "Buy American, Hire American" plan reportedly pledged by the incumbent US President, through the 2016 drive, may prove dear for the Indian tech workers in the US on the H-1B Visas, if the Donald Trump’s controversial proposal to end the H-1B Visa extensions materializes.
Yes, if the proposal sees the light of the day, the H-1B Visa holders (a sizeable chunk of who are from India), who have applied for a Green Card at the end of their six-years, will have no options except to leave the nation till the processing is successfully complete.
The result: India could be starting at upwards of 500,000 of its "skilled" manpower coming back from the US. As per the available data, over 50% of all H-1B Visas have been offered to the nationals from India.
Under the present law, the overseas guest employees are permitted one three-year extension of the H-1B Visa that’s valid for a period of three years. At the close of those six years, if the guest employee has a pending petition for the Green Card, in such a situation there is a practically indefinite extension of the H-1B Visa till the time his Green Card processing is successfully done.
Given the fact that there is such a big buildup of the candidates for Green Card chiefly for India & China a large number of employees from these nations spend 10-12 years in what is said to be the H-1B hell or limbo. Allegedly, the minor 'comfort' they presently have is they can continue to live in the nation while the petition for Green Card is under process.
Seen from the US perspectives, the proposal is allegedly to generate a sort of ‘self- deportation’ of a large number of the tech workers from India, in the US to open up those work opportunities for the local people. And, theoretically, the Trump Government is not wrong and well within the confines of the law to change the laws as the H-1B was allegedly meant to positively address the dearth of the trained manpower in the US, and not planned to become a path for permanent movement to the country.
However, over the years, a large number of qualified employees principally those from India & China have allegedly employed the H-1B corridor to first get PR in the nation and then its prized and much sought after citizenship.
They comprise some of the top names from the US tech business, such a Sundar Pichai and Satya Nadella, India-born head honchos of Google & Microsoft in that order. And since they brought such a great value to the US tech business, the whole visa class has usually been looked at positively by both the tech business & preceding governments.
Coming back to the controversial proposal, it aims to put new curbs to stop this exploitation and misuse of the H-1B Visas, besides as mentioned before, bring to an end the facility of giving extension for those who already possess PR in the nation.
For those who came in late, the H1B Visa is a non-immigrant visa that enables the US firms/groups to engage the overseas employees in speciality professions that necessitate theoretical or technical skill. The different technology firms/organizations in the US depend on it to employ a significant share of workers every year from some specific nations, such as India and China.
The same is characteristically proffered for a period of three to six years to the recruiters/firms, to draft a worker from abroad. However, as mentioned before, the H-1B Visa holders, who have started the process for Green Card, may frequently renew their Work Visas ad infinitum.
At present, over 1 million H1-B Visa holders in the nation are waiting for Green Cards, several of whom are from India and have been reportedly cooling their heels for over 10 years.