So, a recent study found out that denial rates for H-1B visas have been on a steady rise — from a mere 6% in 2015 to around 24% in recent times. And this has upset thousands of Indian tech workers.
Why? you ask.
Well, for the uninitiated, the H1B visa is a golden ticket to paradise. If you’re qualified enough and can get your hands on one of these bad boys, you can live in America, work in America and even apply for a green card (permanent residential status). However, of late, with denial rates picking up, Indian tech workers seem to be left behind.
So, what happened?
In the past, the allocation of H1B Visas was done based on a lottery system. Meaning if there were 85,000 visas for the taking, outsourcing companies like Infosys and TCS could theoretically game the system by flooding the immigration office with hundreds and thousands of applications on behalf of their employees. This way the odds of receiving a visa improves drastically and these companies end up taking most of the visas on offer.
So the US immigration arm has tweaked the system to prefer workers with a master’s degree or higher from a US institution. And since most tech companies hire immigrants with a bachelor’s or a master’s degree from their country of origin there has been a dramatic uptick in denial rates.
The idea here is simple. Make it difficult for tech companies to hire immigrants at lower wages and you’ll immediately see them hiring more Americans at better wages. This has been a big campaign promise for Donald Trump i.e. ‘Buy American and Hire American’. And so, the story goes that there’s been a concerted effort to ensure tech workers are denied H1B visas without any regulatory change as such.
What regulatory change, you ask?
Well, to deny so many applications legally you will have to have some sort of new law/regulation in place. And so people have been trying to challenge visa denials in court contesting that they are discriminatory in nature.
Anyway, for now, it seems as if we have to just live with this arrangement. Although I feel for all the people who are currently in a state of limbo praying for a visa extension.
This article was originally published in Finshots
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