Thursday, 21 June, 2018

New Policy on H-1B Visa by Trump Administration makes approval difficult

H-1B visa approval made tough by Donald Trump administration H-1B visa approval made tough by Donald Trump administration
Kenny Thornton | 24 February, 2018, 12:28

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.

Your company must show enough evidence that it "has specific and non-speculative qualifying assignments in a specialty occupation for the beneficiary for the entire time requested in the petition", the seven-page policy memorandum of the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) states.

Indian IT companies, which are among the major beneficiaries of H-1B visas, have a significant number of their employees deployed at third-party worksites. A substantial variety of American banking, travel and industrial services depend upon on-site IT employees from India to obtain their task done.

While all these issues in the new USCIS policy are already asked for in challenges to the H-1B petition known as "Requests for Evidence', it provides more incentive for USCIS to ask for more evidence regarding the specific nature of the work and duties of the H-1B worker at the client", he said.

"Therefore, in order to protect the wages and working conditions of both USA and H1B non-immigrant workers and prevent any fraud or abuse, the USCIS seeks to ensure officers properly interpret and apply the statutory and regulatory requirements that apply to H1B petitions involving third-party worksites", the USCIS spokesperson said.

US President Donald Trump's administration announced new H-1B visa rules, ahead of the filing season, expected from April 2.

If the company is able to only demonstrate that the beneficiary will have the specified work for less than three years, then the visa would be granted for that shorter duration.

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Also, the blanket three-year validity for all H-1B visas has been withdrawn.

The new policy envisages a detailed documentation of a legitimate employer-employee relationship while the latter is working at a third-party worksite.

Sometimes American companies abruptly end the contract of an employee, due to which the workers temporarily do not have any work - which in IT parlance is called on "bench".

Extensions of H-1B visas have become even tougher, in particular if the employee has been on a bench for any part of their previous duration. However, software companies such as Tata Consultancy Services, Infosys, Wipro and HCL Technologies are unlikely to see any problem when they send their own staff to the USA, though the paperwork and cost to get the visas would be more now, industry experts said. "They also apply and get H-1B visas on behalf of the techies who cough up huge amounts to work in the US", Lakshmikanth added.

"Employment-based petitioners who circumvent the worker protections outlined in the nation's immigration laws not only injure U.S. workers (eg their wages and job opportunities), but also the foreign workers for whom they are petitioning", it said.

This consists of proof of real work projects, which might consist of technical documents, turning point tables, marketing analysis, cost-benefit analysis, sales brochures, and moneying files.

Business looking for H-1B visas for their workers operating at a third-party website, would now have an extensive paper work to submit prior to sending their applications.

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