Apr 06, 2017 04:30 PM IST | Source: Moneycontrol.com
A new memorandum issued by the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) makes it mandatory to ensure a closer scrutiny of computer programmers using H-1B work visas, and ensure that only those programming positions that can qualify as a specialty occupation use these visas.
Companies applying for H-1B visas for computer programming positions will have to submit additional evidence showing that the jobs are complex or specialized and require professional degrees. The memo said the updated guidance is effective immediately, which means it applies to the new visa application season that began on Monday for fiscal 2018.
Analysts were divided on how seriously this would impact India's IT outsourcing industry, which is the biggest user of H-1B visas. H-1B specialty occupations include science, engineering and information technology.
Emotions are running high in Indian tech circles after the Donald Trump administration amended the H1-B visa guidelines, making it difficult for foreign computer graduates to work in the US.
The US quietly reworked its H1B visa policy, and this is likely to impact entry-level IT workers the hardest. About 40 percent of the IT workers who apply for tech jobs fall under the entry-level category. Many who had entered the US on an H1B visa through IT consultancies and offshoring firms are finding that visa renewals are taking longer. Fresh H1B applications are pending with the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services since months, leading to anxiety among candidates and their families.
Some workers whose visa renewals have been recently denied by employers are asking their companies to fire them so that they can stay in the US for a grace period of 60 days and find another possible sponsor.
Employers are now expected to make hurried designation changes or promote their existing H1B holders to justify to government agencies that they are not replacing local citizens with cheap foreign labor. Fearing visa cancellation or being denied re-entry, many Indian techies in the US are unable to return home to address to urgent family needs. Employees on H1B who are ill or are on maternity leave are also a worried lot
Indian IT Industry leaders have advised their offshoring project managers to recruit local talent from American colleges rather than opting for foreign workers on H1B to support local operations in the US.
While 40-60% of all Indian techies working in the USA can get negatively impacted by the new H1-B visa rules announced this week,
As per the changes announced, entry level programmers would be no longer considered as ‘skilled professionals’, which means that thousands of such programmers who entered the US may be asked to leave. And worst, programmers with less than 3 years of experience would be now literally out of contention for getting H1-B visa.
Domestic brokerage said in a report: “Renewals will feel the heat as those who had applied under lower skilled categories in the past will face greater scrutiny and possibly rejection.”, adding, “Applications for fresh H1-B visas will now be skewed towards higher-skilled categories – with higher wages,”
As per analysts from Nomura Research, this decision by US Govt. will impact 40-60% of all techies working in the US. As per their research findings, 40-60% of labor condition applications (LCAs) filed by Indian IT firms were in the category of L1 or entry level jobs, which has now been banned.
About 120,000 H1B holders are estimated to be present in the US and with their H4 companions, the total active workforce is expected to be higher.
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