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    US clears air around H-1B visa with policy memorandum, computer programmers won't be eligible

    Synopsis

    The document essentially says that a previous guiding policy document for H-1B visa petitions, from the year 2000, will no longer hold.

    ET Bureau
    NEW DELHI: The United States government’s intent to bring about changes to the existing H-1B visa regime became clearer through a policy memorandum it released over the weekend, which says computer programmers will not be eligible for H-1B visas by default.

    The agency that oversees lawful immigration to the United States, the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) on March 31, released a policy memorandum titled “Rescission of the December 22, 2000 ‘Guidance memo on H-1B computer related positions’”.

    The document essentially says that a previous guiding policy document for H-1B visa petitions, from the year 2000, will no longer hold.

    It says that according to the 2000 memo that “described all programmers as sharing a fundamental job duty, i.e., writing and testing computer code”, and that it was improper to conclude based on this information that USCIS would “generally consider the position of programmer to qualify as a specialty occupation”.

    "Nasscom is assessing the memo but it seems that it is primarily going to impact entry level H-1B seekers. Our companies typically do not hire entry level engineers for H-1B visas, and this should not have a substantial impact on business," said Shivendra Singh, Head — Global Trade Development at IT industry body National Association of Software and Services Companies (Nasscom).

    The USCIS memo further says that the fact that a person may be employed as a computer programmer and may use information technology skills and knowledge to help an enterprise achieve its goals in the course of his or her job is not sufficient to establish the position as a specialty occupation.

    This means, going forward, some programmer jobs may not qualify for "specialty occupation", as such, those programmer jobs do not qualify for H-1B "visa, said Rajiv Dabhadkar, founder of the National Organisation for Software and Technology Professionals, which works for Indian workers overseas.

    “The situation has been the same for a long time with these positions except that now it is in the form of a memo. Immigration attorneys have been receiving requests for evidence on this issue lately because a ‘speciality occupation’ requires a US bachelors degree or equivalent to qualify, this memo is targeted to deny applications of guest workers with a low degrees,” he added.

    45 Comments on this Story

    Himanshu1426 days ago
    The headline of the article is totally misleading and just to grab more reviews.
    Tirth1427 days ago
    Can anyone please clear this fact about the international students graduating in USA.
    PutSomeNameHere 1427 days ago
    In 1999 India got an unexpected break. Maybe it was the impudent atomic blast finger to the world, maybe it was the IITians' prominence during the dot-com boom - but US started to believe that Indians were smart. Jobs flowed to India, Indians flew to San Francisco - but ... here the tragedy bit starts ... Indians never built on it. We have several colleges, sure, but those do not teach. Meanwhile enrollment in CS in US is soaring. We did not build software products; we were happy supplying bodies to other people's projects. Yet another case of of fate handing us seeds to sow, and us boiling them to make a meal for a day.
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