The Trump administration’s plan to “revise” the definition of employment and specialty occupations under the H-1B visas will come as a major blow to Indian IT companies and small and medium-sized contractual firms mostly owned by Indian-Americans.
The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) on Wednesday said that the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) plans to come out with its new proposal by January, 2019.
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 thousands of employees each year from countries such as India and China.
It will “propose to revise the definition of specialty occupation” to increase focus on obtaining the best and the brightest foreign nationals via the H-1B programme. It will also “revise the definition” of employment and employer-employee relationship to “better protect” US workers and wages, the DHS said. Such a move, which is part of the Unified Fall Agenda of the Trump administration, will have a detrimental impact on the functioning of Indian IT companies in the US and also small and medium-sized contractual companies in the IT sector, which are mostly owned by Indian-Americans, according to news agency PTI.
The DHS will also propose additional requirements designed to ensure employers pay appropriate wages to H-1B visa holders, the administration said. The DHS reiterated that it was proposing to remove from its regulations certain H-4 spouses of H-1B non-immigrants as a class of aliens eligible for employment authorisation. Th H-4 visas are issued by the USCIS to immediate family members (spouse and children under 21 years of age) of the holders of H-1B visa.