A new op-ed in the News India Times highlights the growing angst in India over the Trump Administration's improved vetting of H-1B visa applications. The purpose of the new vetting procedures is to reduce some of the abuses within the program that allow foreign workers to fill jobs that could instead go to high-skilled American workers.
The op-ed's author, Sujeet Rajan, is one of the publication's leading columnists. He writes that the Administration's effort on H-1Bs "threatens to upend and dismantle the work visa program that benefits Indian workers the most, without any reforms."
Reports say that the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) is now delaying issuing the H-1B visa in the tens of thousands, to not only those who got through the lottery system for the 85,000 annual visas, but also to those who have filed for extension of the visa.
The result is panic amongst foreign workers and American companies alike.
As a result of President Trump's "Buy American, Hire American" executive order, the Administration has taken steps to:
- make it easier for American workers to report fraud within the H-1B program by establishing an email and toll-free number;
- begin re-screening renewal applications instead of automatically approving them, and in some cases, re-interviewing visa holders;
- detect vague or missing information on H-1B visa applications and return them to the applicant for additional verification; and
- consider an end to an Obama-era rule that allows the spouses of H-1B workers on the H-4 visa to obtain work permits
Rajan obviously sees it differently, but he advocates on behalf of Indian tech workers and the businesses that rely on them to keep wages low and boost profits. Anyone who believes that immigration policy should put the interests of American workers first believes that the steps taken by the Administration thus far are steps in the right direction.
Rajan calls the Trump Administration's policies an "assault" on the H-1B visa, but that's exactly what American tech-workers need. For too long, they've faced increased job competition and age discrimination as a result of the H-1B visa.
There’s much more the Administration can do -- officially ending work permits for H-4 visa holders, changing the process that H-1B visas are awarded, and ending the Optional Practical Training program. But they've taken some good steps and the anxiety among H-1B visa holders and the businesses that use them is a good sign.
CHRIS CHMIELENSKI is the Director of Content & Activism for NumbersUSA
Updated: Tue, Dec 26th 2017 @ 9:55am EST