Joe Biden was sworn in as the 46th President of the United States in January 2021 and in his first speech, he pledged to defend the nation and fight the multiple crises. “Together, we shall write an American story of hope, not fear, of unity not division, of light, not darkness”.
One of the biggest items on his agenda is to roll out a sweeping overhaul of the immigration reforms. The objective is to bolster the number of key employment and family-based visas available by recapturing unused visas from previous years and exempting spouses and children of green-card holders from quotas that restrict immigrants from varying countries from immediately entering the United States.
The plan will also grant work permits for spouses and children of temporary worker visa holders. Additionally, doctoral graduates in the science, technology, engineering and mathematics fields will also be exempted from visa limits that critics say have led to talented immigrants moving elsewhere around the globe, depriving the United States of their ingenuity.
In fact, recently a US court has overturned the last two changes to the H-1B visa program initiated by the previous US government led by Donald Trump. The changes would have significantly restricted the ability of US companies to hire foreign workers including Indian nationals. The previous government had brought in several changes to the H-1B visa program specifically introduced a month before the Presidential elections in November’20.
The judgment overturned minimum wage levels for H-1B workers that were increased by an average of 40%, effectively pricing them out of the market for several high-skill jobs. Further, the administration had changed the definition of specialty occupation, employee-employer relationship and limited the validity of an H-1B visa for one year, instead of three, for a worker placed at third-party worksites.
Cisco CEO Chuck Robbins recently wrote in a tweet that the company aligns with Biden and Harris’ “belief that we must build a more inclusive future for all.”
Box CEO Aaron Levie also celebrated Biden and Harris’ victory in a series of tweets. “Businesses need market stability, global trade relations that don’t change on a whim, talent from everywhere, long-range planning and a lack of constant distractions.”
India is expecting big things from President Biden. Overall, his immigration pledges to the Indian American community included providing a route to permanent residency for an estimated 5,00,000 Indians living illegally in America, increasing the number of work-based Green Cards when economic conditions permit, and removing country caps on employment-based immigrant visas.
Just to note that the United States issues 85,000 new H-1B visas each year, of which almost 70% are bagged by Indian nationals. There are multiple positive immigration-related developments happening since the time Joe Biden’s administration started taking control of the various aspects of the US economy. All of this is really good news for international students and working professionals.
The American Dream is certainly alive!!
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