Big Tech raps shifting of goalposts to block H-1Bs
BIG tech companies in the US have pushed back against a dramatic jump in the blocking of H-1B visa applications, accusing the immigration agency of acting outside of its own regulations.
Flagged by Compete America, a pressure group of companies like Amazon, Microsoft, Google, Facebook, IBM, Walmart, Accenture and Deloitte, its November 1 letter said the Trump administration’s crackdown was wreaking havoc on the employers. The H1B visa allows US companies to employ foreign workers in speciality occupations that require theoretical or technical expertise. The letter to the Secretary of Homeland Security Kirstjen Nielsen and Director of the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services Francis Cissna says the agency appears to have changed the yardstick on three counts without announcing or explaining them.
Also, the changes are not part of the regulations governing a H-1B specialty occupation that have been in effect since 1991, the letter said. The goalpost changes include offering an entry-level job at a corresponding wage level cannot be treated as a speciality occupation.
THE Trump administration has assured lawmakers and the American corporate sector that the public would get an opportunity to respond to its proposal of revoking work authorisation to H-4 spouse visas after they raised their concerns over the move, which will impact thousands of Indians.
H-4 visas are issued to the spouses of H-1B foreign workers. The H-1B visa is a non-immigrant visa through which many Indians workers are employed in US companies. It allows the US companies to employ foreign workers in speciality occupations that require theoretical or technical expertise. It is the most soughtafter visa among Indian IT professionals.
H-4 visas are issued only to very close or immediate family members of the H-1B visa holders. It includes the employee’s spouse and children less than 21 years of age.
The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) had said that the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will come out with a new proposal by January 2019 under which it is mulling to remove from its regulations certain H-4 spouses of H-1B non-immigrants as a class of aliens eligible for employment authorisation.
The new rules could impact up to 70,000 H-4 Visa holders who have work permits.
USCIS has recently written a near identical letters to top US lawmakers and leaders of the corporate sector who had raised concern over the Trump administration’s proposal to revoke the H-4 visas.
“The public will be given an opportunity to provide feedback during a notice and comment period on any proposed revisions to regulations providing employment authorisation to certain H-4 non-immigrants,” L Francis Cissna, USCIS director, wrote to senators Kamala Harris and Kirsten Gillibrand.