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Posted at: Nov 10, 2018, 1:44 AM; last updated: Nov 10, 2018, 12:35 PM (IST)

Top US IT companies say H-1B visas being held up

Top US IT companies say H-1B visas being held up
Tech firms depend on H-1B visa to hire tens of thousands of employees each year from countries like India and China. File photo

Washington, November 9

There has been a “dramatic increase” in the number of H-1B visas being held up, a coalition of American employers representing top IT companies like Google, Facebook and Microsoft has said and alleged that the US immigration agency was “acting outside” of its own regulations.

The H1B visa, popular among Indian IT firms and professionals, is a non-immigrant visa that allows US firms to employ foreign workers in speciality occupations that require theoretical or technical expertise. The technology companies depend on it to hire tens of thousands of employees each year from countries like India and China.

“We have observed three changes in H-1B adjudication practices under the current administration that seem to permeate most of the increased H-1B adjudication inconsistencies experienced by employers,” Compete America said in a letter to Secretary of Homeland Security Kirstjen Nielsen and Director of the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) Francis Cissna.

Expressing concerns over legal issues regarding the recent changes in adjudication standards for H-1B non-immigrant visa petitions at USCIS, the coalition — Compete America — said the agency’s current approach to H-1B adjudications cannot be anticipated by either the statutory or regulatory text.

This leaves employers with a disruptive lack of clarity about the agency’s practices, procedures, and policies. This lack of certainty wreaks havoc among nation’s employers which are hiring high-skilled Americans and foreign-born professionals, it said in the letter. — PTI

‘It’s Against norms’

Compete America, a coalition of affected US firms, alleged that the USCIS appears to be “acting outside of its own regulations and the controlling statute” by requiring petitioners to comply with the agency’s current view that a comparatively entry-level job, and corresponding wage level, cannot be a specialty occupation.

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