Good news for Indian IT: Biden allows Trump’s visa ban to expire

Since H1-B visa ban is lifted, hope soars for Indian applicants, who bag most number of such visas

President Biden has allowed a Trump order to expire: iStock

President Joe Biden on Thursday (April 1) allowed a June 2020 order banning the issuance of new non-immigrant worker visas expire. Biden’s decision is supposed to buoy business groups, and more significantly, Indians applying for H1-B visa

Executives had grown frustrated that the directive was not immediately revoked, arguing it damaged American companies.

The executive order, signed by Trump had barred the entry of eligible work visa holders, first for 60 days till August, which was extended till December and then March 31, 2021. “With some exceptions, we should not permit large numbers of foreign workers to enter the United States at a time when so many Americans are out of work,” an official statement by the White House had said.

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Also read: Indian-Americans taking over US, says Biden as they keep getting key positions

“Immigration has contributed immensely to America’s economic success, making it a global leader in tech, and also Google the company it is today. We’ll continue to stand with immigrants and work to expand opportunity for all,” Google CEO Sundar Pichai had tweeted after the Trump decision.

The H-1B visa is the most sought after. The visa is issued to highly skilled workers in the IT sector and is bagged by mostly Indian workers. As of April 1, 2020, the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) had received about 2.5 lakh H-1B work visa applications, according to official data. Indians had applied for as many as 1.84 lakh or 67 per cent of the total H-1B work visa.

Also read: H1-B visa restrictions compel Indian firms to hire locals: Report

On a yearly basis, the US Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) gets a total of 85,000 such visa applications. At the very top of the list of H1B visa holders in the US are Indians. In the fiscal 2017, the total number of beneficiaries was 276,423.

In view of initial employment, a number of 67,815 Indian workers were monitored in the fiscal year of 2017. As many as 208,608 Indians continued their employment in 2017. Indians account for 73.9 percent out of the total number of H1B visa holders in the US.

Biden last month withdrew a Trump order that stopped the issuance of new green cards, citing the pandemic — a move that drastically cut legal immigration to the U.S. Trump had said the policies were necessary to protect the American economy as it emerged from the pandemic-induced recession.

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