The United States is planning to restart domestic visa revalidation in a few categories — H-1B and L1 visas — as a pilot phase later this year, and aims to scale it up in the next few years. This move could benefit a significant number of Indian tech workers. 

Prior to 2004, certain categories of non-immigrant visas, like the H-1B visa, could be renewed or stamped in the US itself. However, later overseas tech workers had to fly to their home country to obtain the H-1B extension stamped on their passports for visa renewal. 

When fully implemented, the pilot project will help professionals obtain the stamping from the US itself. Foreign guest workers and their employers have experienced serious hardship due to this requirement, given that the visa wait time is for about two years, around 800 days. Typically, H-1B visas are granted for periods of three years.

‘Beneficial move’

Human resource analysts say this is a beneficial move on various fronts. Kamal Karanth, Co-founder, of Xpheno said, “While its a pilot and with unknowns like the scale, time, and eligibility, it is in principle a huge personal, logistic, and financial relief for NIV holders. The current renewal process comes with the uncertainties over waiting time and even the approval by itself.”

For professionals on key projects and roles, traveling to the home base for an uncertain window of time for renewal disrupts work and progress. The proposed move will provide continuity on the work front while the renewal process is completed without the costs of international flybacks, he added. 

Boosting economy

Aditya Mishra, CEO, CIEL HR Services said, “IT services industry will now have a chance to secure additional contracts that will allow them to send employees from India on both a short-term and long-term basis to the US and generate some cost of lever arbitrage.” 

With this, people will be able to earn a little more money, which is good for India’s forex remittance, the economy could be boosted as consumption will rise with more travel and disposable income, which they will either remit to India or spend there when they visit. However, the impact won’t be felt in three-six months’ time but in a slightly longer time, he added.