With the beginning of the New Year, the Department of Homeland Security has recently stated that it is considering reforming current regulations that would prevent the extension of H-1B visas. Such reform would be a fulfillment of promises made during Trump’s campaign to combat mass immigration and restore jobs to American workers, thereby saving the American middle-class.
The H-1B visa is a “non-immigrant visa in the United States, which allows foreign workers to temporarily work in US companies, under the Immigration and Nationality Act, Section 101… The duration of stay, under this visa, is three years which can be extended to a maximum six years. An extension of ten years is applicable, exclusively for those who are engaged in defense-related project work in the United States.”
The visa was implemented under the intentions to import “skilled” workers into America’s workforce; however, due to the possibility of legal immigrants applying for green cards whilst possessing the H-1B visa has resulted in the program devolving into little more than a pathway for Indian tech workers.
Currently, foreign workers are permitted a single three-year extension of their visa (which by default possesses three-year validity). After these six years, if the migrant’s Green Card (permanent residency) application is still pending, then there is a virtually infinite extension placed on the worker’s visa until the application is fully processed.
The H-1B visa reform would forbid migrant workers from extending their visa if their Green Card applications are not accepted within the six-year maximum duration of of their H-1B visa.
An overwhelming majority of H-1B workers are from India and China, as seen from the following chart provided from Times of India:
As evident by the above chart, the proposed alterations to the H-1B visa would affect India tremendously more than any other country, as more than half of the annually issued visas are given to Indian workers. There is an estimated 255,000 Indian migrants in possession of an H-1B visa within the last six years alone, and countless more holders – spanning well beyond a decade – are also waiting for Green Card applications to be processed, meaning that the proposed reforms would deport long-term Indian residents immediately.