H-1B Visa Updates That You Need To Know
Vikram, a techie on H-1B visa cleared for GC, says when he and his wife first heard of President Trump’s order suspending work visas, they panicked.
His H-1B visa has expired and he is on an extension that is being granted easily by US authorities given the Covid-19 restrictions and lockdowns. But if his family were to travel to India or anywhere out of the US, they will be unable to return without getting their passports stamped with renewed visas.
Many Indians on H-1B or in line for Green Cards are stranded in India already because of no commercial flights. They have begun to make their way back, slowly.
Pramila Jayapal, the Indian American congresswoman who led a joint appeal by lawmakers to the administration to not cancel H-4, slammed Trump’s new order in a post on twitter:
“For months, Trump has been desperately trying to do anything to open the country back up and return to ‘normal’. EXCEPT for those who are immigrants seeking to contribute to this country,” she wrote, and added, “We must defeat Trump’s racist and white nationalist agenda.”
But for some IT services companies that use H-1Bs to hire workers from India, or elsewhere, the Monday order was “not as bad as feared”.
What you need to know:
- H-1B workers and H-4 dependents who are currently outside the US and do not have visas stamped in their passports will not be able to travel to America.
- B-1 and B-2 visitors are not impacted.
- O-1, TN, E-3 are not impacted
- F-1 students are not impacted. OPT is not impacted. STEM OPT is not impacted.
- Any application filed with USCIS can still be filed and will continue to be processed in the same manner as before. All I-129 and I-539 applications filed with USCIS are not impacted.
- L-1A and L-1B workers and L-2 dependents who are currently outside the United States and do not have visas stamped in their passports will not be able to travel to the US.
Changes being considered:
- Scaling back the OPT program by reducing the OPT for STEM students from the current three years to one year.
- Eliminating work permits for H4 visa holders.
- Increasing the H-1B visa fee to $20,000
- Narrowing the definition of specialty occupations and shortening the length of the visas “for workers paid at the lowest pay tier and require pay increases for them upon renewal.”