H-1B visa: Trump proposal may lead to mass deportation of Indians
The move is aligned with President Donald Trump’s “Buy American, Hire American” vision to boost manufacturing and protect local jobs for Americans.
The Trump administration is considering a proposal that could potentially lead to large-scale deportation of foreigners on H-1B visas for high-speciality workers waiting for their Green Card, said a Hindustan Times report.
The US government's present step would drastically alter the way high-tech companies operate in America.
According to the report, the proposal circulated in the form of an internal memo in the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), which oversees citizenship and immigration, intends to end the provision of granting extensions to H-1B visa holders whose applications for permanent residency (Green Card) had been accepted.
An estimated 500,000 to 750,000 Indian H-1B visa holders could be sent home if the US administration decides to go ahead with the proposal, said the report.
It may be noted that the move is aligned with President Donald Trump’s “Buy American, Hire American” vision to boost manufacturing and protect local jobs for Americans.
“If implemented this could lead to large-scale deportations, mostly of Indians, throwing hundreds and thousands of families into crisis,” an official of Immigration Voice, an advocacy body in San Jose, told the newspaper, adding that Immigration Voice is planning to mount a challenge through outreach and sue when a decision is announced, he added.
“The idea is to create a sort of ‘self-deportation’ of hundreds of thousands of Indian tech workers in the United States to open up those jobs for Americans,” the report quoting a US source briefed by homeland security officials told McClatchy DC Bureau, which first reported the proposal, said.
Meanwhile, a response to Hindustan Times requests to both DHS and the US citizenship and immigration services (USCIS) was awaited, but the existence of the memo was confirmed by sources in the US and Indian governments, industry and those that are likely to face action under the new rules.
An H-1B visa is granted for three years, with the provision of three more with one extension after which visa holders return to their countries. If approved for Green Card, they wait in the US using extensions.
For Indians, that wait could stretch for years given the massive backlog caused by the system of per-country annual cap on the number of permanent residencies, said the report.
The Indian government is reportedly watching the development with mounting alarm as it had the administration’s previously announced plans and decisions to tighten H-1B rules and regulations with the objective of preventing its abuse to replace American workers with lower-paid foreigners.
According to the HT report, the US grants 85,000 non-immigrant H-1B visa every year — 65,000 to foreigners hired abroad and 20,000 to foreigners enrolled in advanced degree courses in US schools and colleges. An estimated 70% of these visas go to Indians — hired mostly by American companies such as Facebook, Microsoft and Google and some by American arms of Indian tech giants Infosys, Wipro and TCS.