The US Government’s decision to pause entry of immigrants for the next 60 days exempts all visa programmes, including H-1B, but is liable for a review within the next 30 days. In a Presidential order signed late on Tuesday night, US President Donald Trump said within 30 days, the Secretary of Labor and Secretary of Homeland Security, in consultation with the Secretary of State, will review non-immigrant programmes and recommend other measures appropriate to stimulate the US economy and ensure prioritisation, hiring, and employment of workers.

A spokesperson for Nasscom said the current temporary ban will not affect non-immigration visas which includeH-1B and L visas. “However, the new rules also state that H-1B visas will be reviewed during the next 30 days, which, we believe, is unnecessary. All H-1B visa holders are knowledge workers and play a critical role for companies based out of the US, who, in turn, are helping the economy grow,” Shivendra Singh, Vice-President and head, Global Trade Development, Nasscom, told BusinessLine.

Mark Davies, Global Chairman, Davies & Associates LLC, said apart from H-1B visa applicants, all EB-5 applicants are fully exempt from these restrictions. According to various reports, 10,000 foreign nationals and their families are allowed to enter the US every year at present through the EB-5 visa programme. Most of those who enter the US through EB-5 visas are the rich Chinese nationals and their families.

Singh said the US government should consider tech workers equal to healthcare workers who have been exempt from such temporary ban. The proclamation exempts any person “seeking to enter the United States on an immigrant visa as a physician, nurse, or other healthcare professionals to perform medical research or other research intended to combat the spread of Covid-19.”

Last year, 85,000 H-1B visas were issued, of which, 70 per cent were from India. This shows the high value of our skill sets, Singh pointed out. The registration for applying for the new season for H-1B visas has already commenced and the final list will be out by October.