Toughest ever H-1B visa process begins todayToughest ever H-1B visa process begins today
The process of filing petitions for H-1B, one of the most sought after American work visas among highly skilled Indian professionals, begins Monday amid unprecedented scrutiny by the Trump administration.
From April 2 (Monday), the USCIS (United States Citizenship and Immigration Services) will open its doors to the H-1B visa applications for the season 2018-19. Successful applicants will be able to work in the US from October 1, 2018, during the tenure of the visa – which maybe for an initial maximum period of three years.
In a policy memorandum issued on March 23 but made public recently, the USCIS stated that in cases where multiple applications are filed by “related entities” (a parent company, a subsidiary, or even an affiliate) for the same visa seeker, there needs to be a legitimate business need. Else, these applications will be rejected.
Kuldeep Singh, an immigration lawyer, says, “In the US federal law, a single company cannot file multiple H-1B applications + for the same visa applicant. When a company files an H-1B application, another related company cannot do so unless there exist two separate job opportunities. These jobs must be clearly different.”
There have been many reports from the USCIS, the federal agency responsible for processing all H-1B visas, that it will have absolute zero tolerance for even minor errors in the application. Talks on various social media platforms and among various groups indicate that immigration lawyers this time expect a much higher rate of rejection.
The H-1B is a non-immigrant visa that allows US firms to employ foreign workers in jobs that require theoretical or technical expertise. The technology companies depend on this visa to hire tens of thousands of employees each year from countries such as India and China. The H1-B visa has an annual limit of 65,000 each financial year as mandated by the US Congress, their parliament.
When it comes to spouses of H-1B visaholders, they get the H4 visa currently, which doesn’t allow them to work or run a business until they obtain an employment authorisation document (EAD). However, not all dependent spouses of the H-1B holders are eligible to apply for an EAD. This route is available only to the H-1B visa recipients on track for a Green Card. Hence, many foreign professionals are exploring the option of becoming a permanent resident of the US.