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03 Apr 2017

H-1B visas: Application dates open April 3 for 2017-18

H-1B visa application starts April 3

Starting April 3, the US will start accepting applications for H-1B visas for the new fiscal year.

Last year, 236,000 petitions were submitted for 85,000 available visas within just a week. When demand is more than supply, a lottery system decides awardees.

However, with the Donald Trump administration adopting an unwelcome approach towards foreigners, there are additional stress factors this time.

In context

H-1B visa application starts April 3
What's new under the Trump administration?


What's new under the Trump administration?

Despite measures tightening restrictions on foreigners' entry, the Trump administration hasn't enforced changes to the H-1B application process.

Congress has been reviewing a bill proposing a hiked minimum annual salary of $100,000 for employees hired under the H-1B programme; no call has been taken yet.

The only change is the temporary suspension of 'premium' processing; non-premium processing could take up to eight months.

Abuses of the H-1B programme

Trump has actively objected to companies using the programme to hire entry-level workers from outside at cheaper rates, instead of bringing in top foreign talent. A recent study also found that the programme had reduced IT wages by 5% and employment by 11% during 1994-2001.

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04 Apr 2017

H-1B visas: US tightens rules for foreign IT workers

The US tightened laws on hiring of computer programmers under the H-1B visas scheme; apart from having necessary IT skills, the petitioner will now have to "provide other evidence to establish that the particular position is one in a specialty occupation".

It has also warned companies against misusing the programme to hire cheap foreign talent and discriminate against local workers.

H-1B Visa: Cap of 65,000 visas for 2018 already reached

09 Apr 2017

H-1B Visa: Cap of 65,000 visas for 2018 already reached

US Citizenship and Immigration Services has already received enough applications for the 65,000 H-1B visas supposed to be issued for the 2018 fiscal year, within five days.

However, there is still no clarity on how it will determine success of applications; in previous years, selections were done through computerized lotteries.

10 Apr 2017

Indian students look to Canada, Ireland amid US immigration crackdown

Amid a strict approach towards immigration by the Donald Trump administration, Indian students, for whom the US has been a prime destination for studies and jobs, are now looking to Canada, New Zealand and Ireland.

A spate in racist attacks has also led to doubts about safety.

In 2015-16, a record 165,198 Indians formed the second-largest international students group in US universities.

US Universities see decline in Indian applications

In a survey, 26% of US institutes reported a drop in applications from India for undergraduate programmes this time, while 15% reported similar trends in graduate programmes. When UK had tightened visa norms, Indian student numbers dropped by half in 2014-15 from 2010-11.

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