India Abroad

New US Proposal To Revise Definition Of 'Speciality Occupations' For H1B Visas

DIVYIA ASTHANA | 0
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| October 18 , 2018 , 14:13 IST

In a further crackdown on the H1B visas the US issues for foreigners working there, the US president Donald Trump administration has announced that it is coming out with new proposals to revise the definition of speciality occupations under H-1B visas as well as the definition of employment.

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) on Wednesday said the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) plans to come out with its new proposal by January, 2019 under its Unified Fall Agenda.

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It will "propose to revise the definition of specialty occupation" to increase focus on "obtaining the best and the brightest foreign nationals via the H-1B programme".

The proposal would also revise the definition of employment and employer-employee relationship to "better protect" US workers and wages, the DHS said.

The move is expected to have a detrimental impact on the functioning of Indian IT companies in the US and on small and medium-sized contractual companies in the IT sector, most of which are owned by Indian Americans.

The DHS also said that it is proposing to remove from its regulations certain H-4 spouses of H1B non-immigrant visa holders as being eligible for employment authorisation.

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A 2015 rule issued by the Obama administration allowed work permits for spouses who otherwise could not be employed while H-1B visa holders seek permanent resident status -- a process that can take a decade or longer.

The move to end the Obama-era rule could have an impact on more than 1,00,000 H-4 visas holders, who have work permits. H-4 is issued to spouses of H-1B visa holders.

Of the H-4 spouses with work permits, 94 percent of them are women. In fact, a vast majority were Indians at 93 percent, as of early 2017, according to a study done in by the Migration Policy Institute in the US.