Trump administration junks plan to deport H-1B visa holders, say reports
Washington, Jan 9: In the last few days, a gloom has descended over India's technology industry after a report stated that the Donald Trump administration is planning to deny an extension of H-1B visa to foreign workers beyond the maximum permissible period of six years.
The implementation of the proposal means forced deportation of hundreds of Indian techies working in the United States (US) and waiting for permanent residency in the form of the high-valued, Green Card.
However, on Tuesday, reports indicated that the Trump administration has no such plans to forcefully deport foreign tech workers, especially Indians, by bringing regulatory changes in the H-1B visa policy.
The news has brought enough cheers to Indians working in America, their families back home in India, and the Indian technology industry in general.
"...USCIS is not considering a regulatory change that would force H-1B visa holders to leave the United States by changing our interpretation of section 104(c) of AC-21, which provides for H-1B extensions beyond the 6-year limit.
"Even if it were, such a change would not likely result in these H-1B visa holders having to leave the United States because employers could request extensions in one-year increments under section 106(a)-(b) of AC21 instead," said Jonathan Withington, Chief of Media Relations at US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), the agency that oversees H-1Bs, in a statement to Hindustan Times.
Withington added, "The agency is considering a number of policy and regulatory changes to carry out the President's Buy American, Hire American Executive Order, including a thorough review of employment-based visa programs."
The Trump administration was facing intense pressure from the technology sector not to go ahead with its controversial proposal on foreign workers and their visa policies.
Several American companies, which have hired a large number of foreign techies, had requested the Trump administration not to stop the extension of the H-1B visa to their workers.
A few US lawmakers and advocacy groups had criticised the Trump administration's reported plan to curb H-1B visa extension as it would have resulted in the self- deportation of an estimated 500,000-750,000 Indian Americans.
The decision to implement the controversial proposal was a part of President Donald Trump's election campaign--"Buy American, Hire American".
The H-1B visa allows US-based companies to hire highly skilled foreign professionals.
Announcing the news that the Trump administration has dropped the draconian H-1B visa proposal, Immigration Voice said in a post on its Facebook page, "We are ECSTATIC to share this Breaking News."
The advocacy group campaigning for a better deal for H-1B workers, mostly from India, claimed that it had succeeded "in protecting its members and getting USCIS to change its policy regarding H-1B renewal."
It added: "USCIS has announced to us that it is retracting its policy to deny all H-1B visa through (beyond) year 6 based on section 104. This is a GREAT development. And we thank USCIS to make the right decision."