The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced on October 6th, 2020 that it would be increasing restrictions on H1B visas, with the aim of protecting American workers from perceived foreign competition. The new rule will impact many non-immigrant workers who are working in the U.S. Here’s what you need to know:
- The H1B visa program allows U.S. companies to employ foreign workers with specialized skills for a maximum of six years.
- The new regulation will limit the length of H1B visas from 3 to 1 year for contract workers
- Companies that are outsourcing jobs will be hit hardest by this regulation which will affect many Indians
- There are reports that the USCIS is denying more H1B visa applications than before, often citing vague reasons
- The H1B visa program is vital for the technology industry, and the new rule is likely to impact not only the workers but also many companies in the tech sector
As mentioned above, the H1B visa program allows U.S. companies to employ foreign workers for a maximum of six years. It is a competitive program that many have tried to take advantage of, leading to oversubscription and long waits for visa applications.
With the new regulation, the H1B visa will be shortened from 3 to 1 year for non-immigrant contract workers. The rule also restricts H1B visas for workers employed at third-party sites, including outsourcing firms. These firms help companies cut costs by hiring workers in countries such as India, Indonesia, and the Philippines, and many Indian workers could be affected by this rule.
The USCIS stated the objective of the rule is to prevent “potential abuse and fraud” in the H1B visa system, but several people have criticized the new regulation as going too far. Critics say it will hinder innovation in the tech sector, as many start-ups rely on the H1B visa program to hire specialized talent that is not available in the US.
There have been reports of the USCIS denying more H1B visa applications than before, often using vague reasons. These denials have been attributed to the new regulation, which has increased the burden of proof for those applying for H1B visas.
The tech industry, which relies heavily on the H1B visa program, is likely to be hit hardest by the new rule. Tech companies such as Amazon, Google, and Microsoft have been vocal on the importance of the H1B visa program for their businesses, and may be forced to curtail their hiring if the new regulation causes a talent crunch.
What is the H1B visa?
The H1B visa is a non-immigrant visa that allows U.S. companies to employ foreign workers with specialized skills for a maximum of six years.
Who is affected by this new regulation?
Non-immigrant workers with H1B visas, particularly those in the tech sector and those working for outsourcing companies, are expected to be most affected by the new regulation.
What is the objective of the new regulation?
The USCIS stated that the new regulation aims to prevent “potential abuse and fraud” in the H1B visa system.
How will the new regulation impact the tech industry?
The new regulation is likely to hinder innovation in the tech sector, as many start-ups rely on the H1B visa program to hire specialized talent that is not available in the US.