Blow to Indian techies as US further tightens H-1B visa rules

Venkatesh Ganesh Mumbai | Updated on October 07, 2020

Narrows definition of ‘specialty occupation’, limits visa validity to a year

With the US Presidential elections less than a month away, the Trump administration has further tightened H-1B rules that would make it tougher for Indian techies to get jobs in American companies. The new rules change the definitions of specialty occupation, limit the validity of an H-1B visa to one year for a worker placed at a third-party worksite, and tightens enforcement and investigations.

Though these measures will have no major impact on Indian IT services companies, which have changed their business models to hire locally, American tech companies may be forced to reduce hiring from foreign countries, including India and China, by about 30 per cent.

The new rule will narrow the definition of “specialty occupation” as the US Congress is of the view that companies were gaming the system. H-1B visas are used by US companies to bring highly skilled workers from India as they find it difficult to hire locals with the same skills. But the US administration believes that some companies were hiring low-cost foreign workers in the garb of “specialty occupation”, thereby impacting jobs available to Americans.

 IT firms cheer US court’s move to block H-1B visa ban

Key changes

One of the key changes under the new rule is the maximum validity period for a specialty occupation worker has been reduced from three years to one year (for workers placed at third-party worksites). The wages of onsite workers will also go up and be at par with median wages in their respective States.

“Narrowing the definition will make it tougher,” said Dan Nandan, who runs Hire IT People, a staffing company in the US.

IT industry body Nasscom said that the move will restrict access to talent and harm the American economy, endanger US jobs, put US interests at risk, and slowR&D into solutions for the Covid crisis.

US announces $150 million for ‘H-1B One Workforce’ training programme

Published on October 07, 2020

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