H-1B rules tougher, cloud on 3-year term

H-1B rules tougher, cloud on 3-year term

Indian IT companies have deployed a significant number of its employees at third-party worksites.

By: || Updated: 24 Feb 2018 08:56 AM

Trump makes H1B visa rules tougher/ AFP / file

Washington: The Trump administration has announced a policy that makes tough the procedure for issuing H-1B visas to those to be employed at one or more third-party worksites, which will impact Indian IT companies and their employees.

Under the policy, a company will have to go the extra mile to prove that its H-1B employee at a third-party worksite has specific and non-speculative qualifying assignments in speciality occupation. The H-1B programme offers temporary US visas that allow companies to hire highly skilled foreign professionals working in areas with shortages of qualified American workers.

Indian IT companies have deployed a significant number of its employees at third-party worksites. Several American banking, travel and commercial services depend on on-site IT workers from India to get their job done.

The new move, announced on Thursday through a seven-page policy, empowers the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) to issue H-1B visas to an employee only for the period for which he or she has work at a third-party worksite.

The latest policy memorandum is a part of President Donald Trump's "Buy American and Hire American Executive Order" and the directive to protect the interests of US workers, the USCIS said.

The policy means that H-1B visas could be issued for less than three years. This will reverse the tradition of issuing the H-1B visas for three years at a time.

Effective immediately, the new guidance comes weeks ahead of the beginning of the H-1B visas filing season, which is expected to start on April 2, for the fiscal year 2019 beginning October 1, 2018.

The guidance says that for an H-1B petition involving a third-party worksite to be approved, the petitioner must show by a preponderance of evidence that the beneficiary will be employed in a speciality occupation and the employer will maintain an employer-employee relationship with the beneficiary for the duration of the requested validity period.

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