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US to begin accepting new H1-B visa petitions

The US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) would start accepting new H1-B visa petitions for the fiscal year 2020 starting April 1, the media reported.

The employment start date for these visas would be October 1, the American Bazaar daily reported on Monday.

Like previous years, the regular visa cap limit for H-1B this year remains at 65,000.

Additionally, another 20,000 petitioners, who possess a Master’s, or a higher degree from a US university, will also get the visas.

But, according to many lawyers, this year may be extraordinary, mostly because of the continued scrutiny as well as some subtle rule changes announced earlier this year.

In January, the USCIS introduced a change in the order in which allocations would be counted.

The agency will now put all the petitions including the ones with advanced degree in the regular cap. In the second round, it will select the remaining petitions. The new order is expected to increase chances of petitioners with a US Master’s degree.

According to the USCIS, the new change would result in an estimated 16 per cent rise, or an increase of 5,340 workers, in the selected H1-B petitioners with an advanced US degree.

Florida-based paralegal Vishal Ghadia, told the American Bazaar: “In the last six years, USCIS has received enough H1-B applications to fill the 85,000 cap within the first five working days of the month of April. This time, too, we can expect the cap to reach within five days and the number of H1-B applications similar to last few years.”

However, some lawyers have said that that an apparent crackdown on H-1B and the overall negative sentiment around immigration would reflect on the filings.

Prominent immigration attorney Sheela Murthy told the American Bazaar: “We expect fewer H-1B filings since many employers are frustrated with the system and the administration that has its head in the sand regarding the shortage of high-skilled workers to keep up the momentum of our economy.”

Meanwhile, Kansas City-based attorney Rekha Sharma-Crawford said that due to “the administration working overtime to limit all immigration, there is an uncertainty to the H-1B season this year”.

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Pawan’s letter to PMO on H1B and other issues faced by NRIs

Pawan Kalyan has been in US and interacting with NRIs and various other leaders regarding the issues faced by NRIs. He has already met Ben Carson, Secretary Housing and Urban Development, interviewed by Bloomberg, a major global provider of financial news and information. Pawan Kalyan now sent a letter to PMO regarding the issues faced by NRIs and he tweeted the same letter through his twitter handle.

Pawan tweeted, “A Letter Sent to PMO on H1B issue from US after speaking to Indian Diaspora and their raising concerns about New Immigration Policy which will be effecting their families.”

Pawan’s letter to PMO :

Some of the salient points mentioned in Pawan Kalyan’s letter to PMO are as below:

  • Indian Diaspora contributed healthily to American economy
  • Now Indian Diaspora is facing issues because of the severe policy changes being made to the US immigration and naturalization procedures.
  • Our freedom fighters strove for universal brotherhood despite fighting on imperialism
  • America attracted the Indian populace there with their grand cover of free choice and practical liberties.
  • Employees under the H-1B visas, their dependents, applicants of Green Card Status, Business Owners or Employers, students, spouses and children, who are working and living in the US in various capacities – all are impacted by the changes made to current US policy of immigration.
  • An applicant for a Green Card status in India is asked to wait for the next 150 years. These kind of policies causing distress in families
  • Now US government is taking measures that cause immense distress to the Indians and wi ll result in painful separation of families or disruption of their lives
  • Government of India needs to take an initiative as millions of Indians are suffering because of these policies

Response on Pawan’s letter – positive comments:

Many NRIs are responding positively on Pawan’s initiatives like meeting senators who have been vocal on immigration issues. Most of the politicians who visited earlier either came here for funds or seeking support to their parties. Some of the politicians visited US to attend cultural events. But there were not many political leaders from regional parties who spoke about issues faced by NRIs and diaspora. Most of the regional party leaders thought they don’t need to talk about these issues and it is only national party leaders who need to talk on these issues.

Response on Pawan’s letter – negative comments:

There are some other people who point out that – any country will first need to protect their own citizens and there is nothing wrong in ‘our citizens first’ policy. Also, it is not correct to speak on imperialism and all such topics while we are seeking employment in their country.

Overall:

Overall Pawan’s efforts are appreciated by most of the NRIs though some of them are critical on Pawan’s moves. We will have to wait and see how will be the response of NRIs for Pawan’s ‘Pravaasa Garjana’

-ZURAN (@CriticZuran)

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Legislation introduced in US Congress to protect work authorisation of H1B spouses

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A legislation seeking to prohibit the Trump administration from revoking the work authorisation of spouses of H1-B visa holders, which include Indians, has been introduced in the US Congress by two lawmakers who said that eliminating this benefit would force many foreign workers to use their talents to compete against American businesses. H-4 visas are issued to the spouses of H-1B foreign workers.

The H-1B visa is a non-immigrant visa through which many Indians workers are employed in US companies. It allows the US companies to employ foreign workers in speciality occupations that require theoretical or technical expertise. It is the most sought-after visa among Indian IT professionals.

H-4 visas are issued only to very close or immediate family members of the H-1B visa holders. The move by lawmakers Anna G Eshoo and Zoe Lofgren to introduce the H-4 Employment Protection Act, comes amidst determination by the Trump administration to revoke an Obama-era rule that extends work authorisation to the spouses of H-1B visa holders.

Since the rule was implemented, over 100,000 workers, mainly women, that too from India have received employment authorisation, improving the US’ competitiveness and lessening the economic burden on thousands of H-1B workers and their families, the two lawmakers said after introducing the bill in the House.

The H-4 Employment Protection Act prohibits the Trump administration from revoking this important rule, which it is expected to do by the end of the year, they said. “Protecting work authorization for these H-4 visa holders is a matter of both economic fairness and family unity,” Eshoo said.

“Eliminating this benefit would create a painful choice for many immigrants to either split up their families or return to their home countries and use their talents to compete against American businesses,” Eshoo said.

“These are American citizens-in-waiting, stuck in line for their number to come up,” Congressman Lofgren said.

“Prohibiting H-1B dependent spouses from working is of no benefit to our country, and if allowed to move forward, many of these families that can contribute so much to our workforce will simply move to countries with a more sensible approach to immigration. This much needed bill will block the Trump administration from needlessly harming our economy and the lives of skilled immigrant families,” Lofgren said.

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Donald Trump Doesn’t Want H-1B Visas Just for Outsourcing Roles Anymore, Says White House

Washington The Donald Trump administration wants to make changes in the existing H-1B provisions for it to play a better role in attracting highly skilled foreign workers as opposed to the what it has now evolved into an “outsourcing” role, the White House said Thursday.

“The president’s overall instinct, and he said this publicly a number of times, he wants to find ways to make sure that people who graduate in a highly skilled area like technology stay in the country. He finds that a very positive part of the overall immigration,” White House Deputy Chief of Staff for Policy Coordination Chris Liddell told a Washington audience on Thursday.

During the Washington Post’s live discussion on new technology, when asked about the president’s thoughts on H1B immigration, Liddell said, “He (Trump) has talked about merit immigration, clearly that (H-1B) fits in merit immigration.”

At the same time, he acknowledged that legislatively, the issue might get caught up in a border discussion.

A former executive at Microsoft and General Motors, Liddell is tasked with overseeing and coordinating President Trump’s policy process.

“To the extent that we can from a regulatory point of view rather than a legislative point of view, because the H-1B system to a large extent is governed by legislation — but to the extent that we can modify the regulatory point of view to promote it to be more highly skilled as opposed to outsourcing roles, there’s 1,20,000 H-1Bs. So it’s quite a big pool,” the White House official said.

“Traditionally, unfortunately they have gone to lower-skilled outsourcing types of jobs,” Liddell said.

The Trump administration, he said, would love to find ways to change that as more people are coming out with PhDs in the tech sector.

“So the president is 100 per cent aligned with that. We’ll try and do it as much as we can by regulatory; if it can be done legislatively as well in some way that would as part of a merit-based system, that would be fantastic,” Liddell said.

The top White House official emphasised that there is need to carry on reforms in H-1B to keep more talented graduates in this country.
This is an incredibly constructive part of the immigration debate, which, unfortunately doesn’t get a lot of focus, he said.

Liddell said President Trump has repeatedly spoken about merit-based reform as part of the immigration platform. The Silicon Valley and the tech industry should welcome that as a concept, he said.

“Relatively, as a country, a very small proportion of the people who come in as legal immigrants do it on a merit-based system relative to any other country I know, he said.

“So promoting the concept of merit-based immigration, which clearly would be at least partially orientated towards the tech sector, I would think that there should be a high degree of alignment on,” Liddell said.

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Indian-American arrested in Silicon Valley over H1B visa fraud

A 46-year-old Indian-American has been arrested and charged in California on charges of H-1B visa fraud.

Kishore Kumar Kavuru was arrested Friday morning and produced before the US Magistrate Judge Susan van Keulen. He was later released on bond.

Kavuru has been charged with 10 counts of visa fraud and as many counts of mail fraud in connection with a scheme to maintain a pool of foreign workers for the clients of his consulting companies.

The accused faces 10 years in prison and a maximum fine of USD 250,000 for each count of visa fraud and up to 20 years of imprisonment for each count of mail fraud.

Since 2007, Kavuru was the owner and chief executive officer of four consulting companies. He is accused of submitting fraudulent documents to both the Department of Labor and the Department of Homeland Security, containing details of bogus work projects awaiting the foreign workers.

Because many of the applications were ultimately approved, the Indian-American had a pool of unemployed H-1B beneficiaries that were immediately available for legitimate work projects, giving him a competitive advantage over other staffing companies that followed the sometimes-lengthy visa-application process, federal prosecutors said.

As part of the scheme, Kavuru required some prospective workers to pay thousands of dollars in cash before he would prepare and submit the visa applications. He also required some workers to wait unpaid, sometimes for months, to be placed at an end-client’s workplace, the Department of Justice said in a statement.

Through his consulting companies, Kavuru submitted and mailed approximately 43 petitions for H-1B software engineers. “In fact, there were no software engineer positions available at the benefits company,” federal prosecutors added.

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US makes it tougher for companies to employ fresh foreign workers under H-1B

The Trump administration has introduced a new set of stringent provisions to the H-1B labour application process under which the US employers must disclose the total number of foreigners already employed by them, making it tougher to sponsor fresh foreign workers.

The H-1B visa, popular among Indian IT professionals, is a non-immigrant visa that allows US companies to employ foreign workers in speciality occupations that require theoretical or technical expertise.

The new information required by the Department of Labour is significant because before sponsoring a foreign worker for the H-1B visa, the company needs to get its labour application approved by it.

The department certifies that there are no domestic worker for that particular position and as such the company can hire a foreign guest worker under the H-1B visa category.

The Labour Condition Application form updates will now require employers to provide more detailed information about H-1B worker employment conditions, including disclosing all places of employment for H-1B workers, including periods of short duration and providing the estimated number of H-1B workers at each place of intended employment.

It also requires the clear identification of secondary entities which are using H-1B workers and seeks H-1B dependent employers which are claiming an exemption solely on the basis of education, such as a master’s degree, to provide documentation of the degree.

Under the new forms, employers also need to give an estimate of the the total number of foreign nationals already working at each location listed in the application.

Further, revisions to the worker complaint form include added data fields designed to better describe the nature of an alleged programme violation, the department said in a statement on Tuesday.

To allow appropriate time for transition, the new forms will be made available for use in the coming weeks.

An announcement will be made on the Office of Foreign Labour Certification’s website identifying the date when they will be made available, it said.

Since 2017, the department has taken action to combat visa fraud and abuse and encouraged US workers to report complaints, including establishing protocols for promptly referring matters related to criminal fraud to the department’s Office of Inspector General for investigation.

It has also directed the department’s Wage and Hour Division to use all its tools in conducting civil investigations to enforce labour protections provided by the visa programmes.

Further it has signed an agreement with the US Department of Justice to promptly refer complaints from US workers who believe they have been discriminated against based on the nationality or citizenship.

According to the Society for Human Resource Management, the form changes are the latest in a series targeting employers who place foreign nationals at third-party worksites.

In a February policy memo, US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) required employers to provide detailed work itineraries for the entire duration of H-1B petitions involving offsite employment. An advocacy group representing small and medium size IT companies have filed a lawsuit against USCIS on this issue.

“Employers should expect renewed scrutiny on where H-1B employees are working, whether they are working at third-party sites and, if so, whether the arrangement is permissible,” said Justin Storch, director of regulatory affairs and judicial counsel at the Society for Human Resource Management.

“Given current scrutiny of H-1Bs, both petitioners and end users should be aware of what information is being disclosed on the forms and the fact that the Department of Labour is likely to make this information publicly available,” Storch said.

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Top US CEOs Worried About Changes Being Made To H-1B Visa Review Process

The Trump administration’s “inconsistent” immigration policies, including on the H1-B visa for professionals, could “disrupt” operations of American firms and inflict “substantial harm” on their competitiveness, CEOs from top US companies have warned.

In a letter to US Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen, members of the Business Roundtable, including Apple CEO Tim Cook, Chairman and CEO of PepsiCo Indra Nooyi, President and CEO of Mastercard Ajay Banga and Chairman and CEO of Cisco Systems Chuck Robbins said that confusion around US immigration policy “creates anxiety for employees who follow the law.”

The Business Roundtable, an association of chief executive officers of America’s leading companies, told Nielsen yesterday that “inconsistent government action and uncertainty undermines economic growth and American competitiveness.”

Due to a shortage of green cards for workers, many employees find themselves stuck in an immigration process lasting more than a decade, they said.

To avoid unnecessary costs and complications for American businesses, the US government should not change the rules in the middle of the process, the CEOs said, pointing out to the several policy memoranda over the past year by the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has issued that has resulted in “arbitrary and inconsistent adjudications”.

“Companies now do not know whether a work visa petition that was approved last month will be approved when the company submits the identical application to extend the employee’s status,” they said.

In particular, the CEOs said they are worried about changes to the review process for H-1B visas for high-skilled workers, expected changes to the rules for spouses of H-1B employees and planned changes to certain deportation rules.

The H-1B visa is a non-immigrant visa that allows US companies to employ foreign workers in speciality occupations that require theoretical or technical expertise. The technology companies depend on it to hire tens of thousands of employees each year from countries like India and China.

Employees who qualify for H-1B jobs often hold degrees in science, tech, engineering or math, and are highly sought after by employers, the CEOs said.

The Roundtable members said that a confusing immigration system in the US which threatens to split their families apart, could encourage them to seek employment in a different country. That would put the American economy at a disadvantage.

They also noted that in many cases, the US Labor Department has determined that “no qualified US workers are available to do that person’s job.”

President Donald Trump has said that some IT companies were abusing the US work visas to deny jobs to American workers.

“As the federal government undertakes its legitimate review of immigration rules, it must avoid making changes that disrupt the lives of thousands of law-abiding and skilled employees, and that inflict substantial harm on US competitiveness,” the CEOs noted.

The Business Roundtable will continue to work with Congress to reduce the Green Card backlog, they said.

In the interim, inconsistent immigration policies are unfair and discourage talented and highly skilled individuals from pursuing career opportunities in the United States, they said.

The reality is that few will move their family and settle in a new country if, at any time and without notice, the government can force their immediate departure-often without explanation.

“At a time when the number of job vacancies are reaching historic highs due to labour shortages, now is not the time restrict access to talent,” the CEOs said.

The group has called for increasing the number of H-1B visas and letting people with advanced STEM degrees from American universities qualify for a green card immediately.

Meanwhile, the US Citizenship and Immigration Services said in a statement the “administration has been relentlessly pursuing necessary immigration reforms that move towards a merit-based system.”

“USCIS is committed to reforming employment based immigrant and non-immigrant immigration programs so they benefit the American people to the greatest extent possible,” CNN quoted spokesperson Michael Bars as saying.

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Substantial increase in denial of H1B petitions, says report

There has been a substantial increase in denial of H-1B visa petitions of Indians by the US Immigration authority as compared to people of other nationalities, according to a report by an American non-profit body.

Also, Indian applicants received the most number of Request for Evidence for applications than the people from other countries, said the National Foundation for American Policy report, compiled on the basis of the information received from the US Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS)

USCIS makes an inquiry called a Request for Evidence, or RFE, when they require additional evidence to make a decision on a H-1B case.

“USCIS adjudicators were much more likely to issue a Request for Evidence for applications for Indians than for people from other countries,” it said.

In the fourth quarter of FY 2017, 72 per cent of H-1B cases for Indians received a Request for Evidence, compared to 61 per cent for all other countries.

Data analysed over the years show USCIS adjudicators deny more applications and issue a higher rate of Requests for Evidence for Indians on both H-1B and L-1 petitions, the report said.

The H-1B visa is a non-immigrant visa that allows US companies to employ foreign workers in speciality occupations that require theoretical or technical expertise.

An L-1 visa is a visa document used to enter the US for the purpose of work. It is a non-immigrant visa, and is valid for a relatively short period of time, from three months to five years, based on a reciprocity schedule.

Also, there was a 42 per cent increase in the proportion of H-1B petitions denied for India-born professionals from the third to the fourth quarter of FY 2017.

In the third quarter, 16.6 per cent of the completed H-1B cases for Indians were denied compared to 23.6 per cent in the fourth quarter.

Similarly, there was a 40 per cent increase in the proportion of H-1B petitions USCIS adjudicators denied for professionals from countries other than India from the third to fourth quarter, rising from a denial rate of 14 per cent in the third quarter to 19.6 per cent in the fourth quarter.

The report said that H-1B denials and requests for Evidence (RFEs) increased significantly in the 4th quarter of FY 2017, likely due to new Trump administration policies.

The proportion of H-1B petitions denied for foreign-born professionals increased by 41 per cent increase from the 3rd to the 4th quarter of FY 2017, rising from a denial rate of 15.9 per cent in the 3rd quarter to 22.4 per cent in the 4th quarter, it said.

The number of Requests for Evidence in the fourth quarter of FY 2017 almost equalled. The total number issued by USCIS adjudicators for the first three quarters of FY 2017 combined (63,184 vs 63,599).

Failure to comply with an adjudicator’s Request for Evidence will result in the denial of an application.

As a percentage of completed cases, the Request for Evidence rate was approximately 69 per cent in the fourth quarter compared to 23 per cent in the third quarter of FY 2017, the report said.

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H1B visa fraud: US receives over 5,000 tips on email helpline, says Trump official

More than 5,000 complaints of H-1b visa fraud and abuse have been received by a federal agency on a dedicated email helpline that was launched by the Trump administration last year, an official said. “As of May 21, 2018, the USCIS has received over 5,000 tips to the dedicated H-1B email address,” Philip Smith, a Spokesperson for the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) told PTI. After US President Donald Trump Signed “Buy American, Hire American” executive order last year, Fraud Detection and National Security Directorate (FDNS) established email addresses dedicated to receiving information about suspected H-1B and H-2B fraud or abuse. FDNS leads USCIS’s efforts to combat immigration benefit fraud. Anyone (including both American workers and workers who suspect they or others may be the victim of H-1B or H-2B fraud or abuse) can email ReportH1BAbuse@uscis.dhs.gov or ReportH2BAbuse@uscis.dhs.gov to submit tips, alleged violations, and other relevant information about potential fraud or abuse, Smith said.

The USCIS, however, did not provide any other details with regard to the nature of complaints, the companies involved and which country’s high-tech professionals were the victims of H-1B visa fraud and abuse. “Pursuant to the Buy American, Hire American Executive Order, FDNS has helped the agency investigate the H-1B program to protect American workers,” Smith said. In April 2017, USCIS FDNS created and implemented the Targeted Site Visit and Verification Program (TSVVP) as part of its continuous efforts to enhance the integrity of the immigration benefit process, he said. “This targeted approach focuses on H-1B dependent employers (those who have a high ratio of H-1B workers as compared to US workers, as defined by statute); Cases that we cannot validate the employer’s basic business information through commercially available data; and employers petitioning for H-1B workers who work off-site at another company or organization’s location,” Smith said in response to a question.

FDNS officers resolve background check information and other concerns that surface during the processing of immigration benefit applications and petitions. Resolution often requires communication with law enforcement or intelligence agencies to make sure that the information is relevant to the applicant or petitioner at hand and, if so, whether the information would have an impact on eligibility for the benefit. FDNS officers also perform checks of USCIS databases and public information, as well as other administrative inquiries, to verify information provided on, and in support of, applications and petitions. Smith said administrative inquiries may include targeted site visits – Inquiries conducted in cases where fraud is suspected. FDNS uses the Fraud Detection and National Security Data System (FDNS-DS) to identify fraud and track potential patterns, he said.

The USCIS has formed a partnership with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), in which FDNS pursues administrative inquiries into most application and petition fraud, while ICE conducts criminal investigations into major fraud conspiracies, he said. According to the USCIS, the H-1B visa program should help US companies recruit highly-skilled foreign nationals when there is a shortage of qualified workers in the country. “Yet, too many American workers who are as qualified, willing, and deserving to work in these fields have been ignored or unfairly disadvantaged,” the USCIS says on its webpage. Employers who abuse H-1B visa program may negatively affect US workers, decreasing wages and opportunities as they import more workers from abroad, it said. Highly popular among Indian technology professional, the H-1B visa is normally issued for three years and renewed for another three years. The US Congress has a cap of 65,000 H-1B visas per year. It also issues another 20,000 H-1B visas to those who have masters and higher education from a US academic institute.

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H1B visa approvals for Indian IT cos drop by 43% between 2015-17: Report

Top seven Indian IT companies experienced a whopping 43 per cent drop in their H-1B visa approvals between 2015 and 2017, a US think-tank has said.

The National Foundation for American Policy in a report said that the 8,468 new H-1B visas for Indian-based companies in the finanacial year 2017 equaled only 0.006 per cent of the 160 million in the US labour force.

The top seven Indian-based companies received only 8,468 approved H-1B petitions for initial employment in FY 2017, a decline of 43 per cent for these companies since FY 2015, when it received 14,792 H-1B visas.

Given that 199,000 applications were filed in FY 2017 for the FY 2018 cap year – 105,000 in excess of the FY 2018 H-1B annual limit – even if none of these companies received new H-1B visas the annual limit still would have been reached on the first day of the April filing period, it said.

“The data indicate the problem is not which companies are receiving H-1B visas, which some contend, but that the 85,000-annual limit is too low for an economy the size of the United States,” it argued.

Based on the H-1B visa data obtained from the US Citizenship and immigration Services (USCIS), the foundation said that the Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) received 2,312 H-1B visas in 2017 as against 4,674 in 2015, registering a drop of 51 per cent.

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US makes H-1B visa approval tougher for 3rd-party worksites

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In a move that is likely to hit Indian IT firms and their employees, the Trump administration has announced a new measure that makes it tougher to issue H-1B visas to those to be employed at one or more third-party worksites.

The US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) published a policy memorandum on Thursday saying it may request detailed documentation to ensure that a legitimate employer-employee relationship is maintained while an employee is working at a third-party worksite.

The H-1B programme offers temporary US visas that allow companies to hire highly skilled foreign professionals working in areas with shortages of qualified American workers.

Indians get most of the H1-B visas, although there are no national quotas for the facility nor is it specifically designed for Indians.

Under the new policy, the USCIS says the employers must provide contracts and itineraries for employees who will work at a third-party location.

According to the guidance, in order for an H-1B petition involving a third-party work site to be approved, the petitioner must show by a preponderance of evidence that the beneficiary will be employed in a speciality occupation and the employer will maintain an employer-employee relationship with the beneficiary for the duration of the requested validity period.

“When H-1B beneficiaries are placed at third-party worksites, petitioners must demonstrate that they have specific and non-speculative qualifying assignments in a specialty occupation for that beneficiary for the entire time requested on the petition,” the official statement said.

“While an H-1B petition may be approved for up to three years, the USCIS will, in its discretion, generally limit the approval period to the length of time demonstrated that the beneficiary will be placed in non-speculative work and during which the petitioner will maintain the requisite employer-employee relationship,” it said.

The updated policy guidance aligns with President Donald Trump’s “Buy American and Hire American” Executive Order and the directive to protect the interests of US workers.

According to the US administration officials, the scrutiny is needed to ensure the integrity of the controversial visa programme, which critics say has cost American jobs.

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Donald Trump administration makes H1B visa extension more difficult

In a new directive, the Trump administration has made it more difficult for the renewal of non-immigrant visas such as H1B and L1, popular among Indian IT professionals, saying that the burden of proof lies on the applicant even when an extension is sought.

Rescinding its more than 13-year-old policy, the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) said that the burden of proof in establishing eligibility is, at all times, on the petitioner. USCIS said the previous memorandum of 23 April, 2004 appeared to place this burden on this federal agency. “This memorandum makes it clear that the burden of proof remains on the petitioner, even where an extension of non- immigrant status is sought,” USCIS said in its latest memorandum issued on 23 October.

Under the previous policy, if a person was once found to be eligible for a work visa initially, they would usually be considered for extension of their visa. Now during every extension, they need to prove to the federal authorities that they are still eligible for the visa they apply for.

William Stock, president of the American Immigration Lawyers Association, said that the change is being made retroactively to people already living in the country and not just to new visa applicants. “In adjudicating petitions for immigration benefits, including non-immigrant petition extensions, adjudicators must, in all cases, thoroughly review the petition and supporting evidence to determine eligibility for the benefit sought. “The burden of proof in establishing eligibility is, at all times, on the petitioner,” the USCIS said.

The new policy is in line with the Trump administration’s goal to protect American workers from discrimination and replacement by foreign labour, Number USA website said. This new policy will make sure that only qualified H1B workers will be allowed to stay in the US and will help crackdown on visa fraud and abuse, it added.

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PM should get firm US assurance on H1B visa issue: Congress

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The Congress on Thursday said during his visit to the US, Prime Minister Narendra Modi should “demand and obtain credible and firm assurances from President Donald Trump that he will reverse his decision on granting H1B visa to Indian professionals”.

The party also demanded that the Prime Minister should respond and register protest over “disparaging obseravations” made by the US President about India while walking out of the Paris Agreement on climate change.

“Prime Minister will be travelling to the US. He should demand and obtain credible and firm assurances from US President Donald Trump that he will reverse his decision which discriminates against the Indian professionals for grant of H1B visa,” said Congress spokesperson Anand Sharma.

“There has been a drop of 37 per cent, whereas the Indian professionals constitute less than 0.06 per cent of the American workforce. We do not want mere statements and photographs,” he added.

“We want answers and also how the Prime Minister responds and registers our protest over the disparaging observations made about the Republic of India recently when the US decided to walk out of the Paris Agreement. We will wait for the PM’s response or reaction.”

Prime Minister Narendra Modi will for the first time meet President Donald Trump on June 26 at the White House.

Trump’s recent withdrawal from the Paris Agreement on fighting climate change created fissures in the India-US ties, especially with Trump commenting that India signed the pact only because it expected “billions and billions” in aid.

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Techie fails to gets H1B visa extension, dejected wife commits suicide

Rashmi Sharma (39) committed suicide in Alkapur Colony, Puppalaguda, Hyderabad as her family returned from the US. After working for eight years in the US with the Bank of America, Sanjiv Sharma husband of the deceased could not get an extension on his H1B visa due to the new rules. The family had to return back to the country a month ago and were forced to sell property, furniture in the US at a very low price.

Depressed over the return, the victim allegedly committed suicide, when her husband and their two sons had stepped out to get laptop repaired. When Sanjeev along with the kids returned home, they found that the house was locked from inside and Rashmi did not respond to the knocks. Consequently, then broke the door and found her hanging from the ceiling.

It’s been less than a month since the family moved to Hyderabad from the US. Rashmi who hails from Uttar Pradesh apparently was dejected over returning to India and shifting to Hyderabad and not even New Delhi or somewhere in North India. A case of suspicious death was booked, however, police said that there was no sign of major differences between the couple.

Telugu360 is always open for the best and bright journalists. If you are interested in full-time or freelance, email us at Krishna@telugu360.com.

Visa troubles – upsurge in ‘foreign returned techies’

Telugu360 was in conversation with a co-founder of a Hyderabad startup who in a candid conversation mentioned – “At least, two people have told me that they left their job in the US – one to join family business and other to start their own business. I emphasize on today. Since Trump came in the number has been going up. I know a lot of them who already left and there are people who are contemplating to return home”

This is going to be the case with most of the Indians, who will now know at least one ‘foreign returned techie’. It is apparent that the Indians in the US have accepted the Trump change and are looking to come back home. As each month is passing by the number of Indians searching for jobs in India is snowballing. As per the analysis of one of the Big four companies, 600 Indians were looking to return home in December and by March the number hit 7000.

A workable option for companies to not only retain the Indian workers but also address the shortage of workers in US is through global in-house centers (GICs). The idea for GICs was to maintain low cost but now they can turn into a facility for talent.

POTUS Donald Trump ordered federal agencies to look at tightening the H1B visa programme used to bring high-skilled foreign workers to the country, as he tries to carry out his campaign pledges to put “America First”. On similar lines Australia abolished the 457 visa programme used majorly by Indians, in the national interest to put Australians and Australian jobs first. The rising nationalism is going to cost India intensely.

Telugu360 is always open for the best and bright journalists. If you are interested in full-time or freelance, email us at Krishna@telugu360.com.

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