The Trump administration has passed a new directive making it tougher for non-immigrant visas, including H-1B and L1, to be renewed. Such visas are popular among Indian techies.
The US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has rescinded a 13-year-old policy, saying a visa petitioner always shoulders the burden of proof in establishing eligibility.
An April 2003 USCIS memorandum placed this burden on the agency.
What is the H-1B visa?
The H-1B is a non-immigrant visa in the United States set up under the Immigration and Nationality Act, section 101(a)(15)(H). It allows US employers to temporarily employ foreign workers in specialty occupations.
Workers must prove eligibility during every visa extension
The USCIS' latest memo "makes it clear that the burden of proof remains on the petitioner, even where an extension of non- immigrant status is sought."
Previously, individuals once found eligible for a work visa would normally end up being considered for an extension.
However, workers must now prove their eligibility to federal authorities each time they seek a visa extension.
Do you know?
Indians are the biggest beneficiaries of H-1B visa regime
Indians are the biggest beneficiaries of H-1B visas. In 2014, IT companies from India took 21,750 out of 65,000 available visas, while 86% of the total visas went to IT professionals from India.
America First: New rules meant to protect US workers
The visa policy change would not only be applicable to new visa applicants but also retroactively to workers already living in America.
The policy is part of the Trump administration's America First agenda of protecting US workers from being replaced by foreign ones.
The policy seeks to ensure that only qualified H-1B workers remain in America and to crack down on visa fraud.