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Monday, April 5, 2021

A walk-back: On the expiry of H-1B visa ban (The Hindu)

President Joe Biden allowed a ban on issuance of H-1B visas for skilled workers to lapse at the end of March 2021, a move signalling his intent — articulated as a campaign promise last year — to pull the U.S. back from harsh immigration rules imposed by his predecessor, Donald Trump. Mr. Biden’s action will have a significant and favourable impact for Indian nationals seeking employment with U.S. tech firms, given that they were the largest demographic to benefit from this visa annually; they garnered approximately 70%.of the 65,000 H-1B visas annually made available to private sector applicants other than students. By some estimates, H-1B visa applications of up to 219,000 workers were likely blocked as a result of Mr. Trump’s proclamation last June, halting the processing and issuance of non-immigrant work visas of several types. The stated aim was to prevent foreign workers from cornering jobs in the context of the economic distress associated with the COVID-19 pandemic. Yet, this raised genuine questions about whether such rules would set back the U.S.-India relationship by impacting Indian IT services exported to the U.S. These totalled approximately $29.7 billion in 2019, 3.0% ($864 million) more than 2018, and 143% greater than 2009 levels. Not only did the CEOs of Silicon Valley tech titans protest the clampdown on a key source of skilled labour driving their core operations, but some universities also filed lawsuits challenging a subsequent student visa ban last year, leading to a partial walk-back on the rules for the latter.

Courtesy - The Hindu.

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-Rajeev Kumar (Editor-in-chief, Sampadkiya.com)

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