Advisory on the Recent H1B Visa Reforms

 

In this period, when the entire world has been struggling due to the Coronavirus pandemic, international students and study abroad aspirants have been feeling extremely anxious and insecure. Particularly, those wanting to study in the US feel that their great American dream looks gloomy. In these circumstances, a recent, bold move by the US pertaining to H1B Visa, is serving as a ray of hope for international study aspirants. Let us find out how: 

 

What is an H1B Visa?

The H1B Visa allows foreign professionals to temporarily work in the United States in specialty occupations, which requires skilled theoretical/ practical expertise, obtained through a bachelor’s/ higher degree or an equivalent work experience.

 

H1B Visa Scenario before the Proposed Reform

  • 20,000 H1B visas were allocated to foreign students who pursued their master’s (or higher degree) in the US
  • The regular lottery (of 65,000 H1B visas) were allocated via a lottery system to:
    • Foreign professionals from IT/ITes firms (who pursued their bachelor’s degree/ above in their home country)
    • Foreign students (having a US-based master’s degree) who did not make it to the 20,000 H1B visas lot
  • This meant that a highly skilled IT worker with a bachelor’s degree in computer science (from a reputed Indian institution) had at least a 15% lesser chance of obtaining an H1B visa
  • Consequently, foreign students with a US master’s (or a higher degree) had at least a 15% higher chance of bagging the H1B visa

 

New H1B Visa Reform Proposed Now

Recently, a legislation has been introduced in both the chambers of the US Congress where a proposal has been made to reform the H1B visa policy. As per the proposal in issuing H1B visas, utmost priority to be extended to US-educated foreign technology professionals.

The US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) declared in April 2020 that, the US received nearly 275,000 unique registration requests for the Congressional mandated 85,000 H-1B visas for foreign technology professionals, of which more than 67 percent are from India.

As per this reform, only skilled foreign professionals educated in the US can apply for the H1B Visa, as opposed to the earlier process where foreign working professionals across the world could apply.

In the light of the most recent news, the H1B Visa Reform Act has become even more favourable towards US-educated foreign technology professionals.

 

Objective behind the H1B Visa Reform

  • Give complete preference to the best and the brightest students educated in the US*
  • Act with utmost fairness in granting H1B Visas
  • Eliminate the lottery system and nullify the exploitation by IT/ITes firms to recruit poorly trained foreign professionals, instead of skilled American workers.

*the exact pool (whether 65,000 or 85,000) for US-educated foreign students will be clearer once the bill is actually passed

 

How will this Reform Benefit Students Aspiring to Study in US?

  • India accounts for the second largest number of international students in the US, after China. Currently there are 202,014 Indian students in the US (as per the 2019 Open Doors Report on International Educational Exchange)
  • Indian students educated in the US will be considered at par with their American counterparts and professionals.

**subject to passing of the bill. It has not been approved yet

The United States is extremely aware and appreciative of the extensive and valuable contributions made by H1B visa immigrants to the leadership in the Silicon Valley. This means that the US will continue to remain the numero uno study destination for study aspirants, COVID or no COVID.

 

Do not lose sight of your dreams! Agreed, the Coronavirus pandemic has shaken the entire world. However, sooner or later, we are expected to come out of it! This unprecedented move by the US has opened the doors for a superlative future, and the doors will remain open for you, forever. Do not derail your study abroad plans.

 

For more information, call our Study Abroad Helpline 1800 102 4646

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