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H1B visas

31 May, 2020, 12:46 PM IST



Four out of five H-1B visa holders get higher wages than US average: Study

The average offered wage for all 61,420 H-1B requesting employers in FY 2019 was $100,461, while the average prevailing wage determination for that skill level was $83,619, according to the analysis done by American think-tank Cato Institute. It contradicts a recent study by another US think-tank that had said 60% of H-1B workers are paid below the local median wage for the job.

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  • The first study, based on visa data from 2005 to 2018, found that an increase in the share of workers with an H-1B visa within an occupation, on average, reduces the unemployment rate in that occupation. So, rather than adversely impact labour market opportunities for US workers, the H-1B program leads to faster earnings growth, it found.

    The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), which administers the country's immigration system, will stop asking H-1B visa applicants for a detailed itinerary of their entire work stint in the country, in a move expected to benefit Indian IT services providers.

    Several Indians in the US, either on the H-1B work visa or Green Card having children who are American citizens by birth, are being prevented from travelling to India aboard the special repatriation flights being run by Air India amidst the coronavirus-linked global travel restrictions.

    IT service companies and consultancies, which normally place people at third-party locations, reported higher visa denial rates than US technology firms, as has been the case over the past few quarters. Cognizant (60 per cent), Infosys (59 per cent) and Deloitte (40 per cent) had the highest number of denials in the top 25 list.

    Most experts advice that it’s often best to continue with these employer schemes even though employees on H-1B visas will have to pay steep sums for medical cover after losing their jobs.

    Trump has sought a review of the non-immigrant programs, which includes the popular H-1Bs.

    H-1B visa recipients can remain in the country legally for 60 days without being paid.

    The US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) said that given the immigration related-challenges as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, non-immigrants could apply for an extension of stay (EOS) or change of status (COS) permit. However, immigration lawyers pointed out that this provision already existed and no additional flexibility had been allowed for the current situation.

    Indians currently in the United States on H1-B visas could face some testing times in the next few weeks. For several,the H1-B visas have lapsed or are likely to do so soon.

    The H-1B visa is a non-immigrant visa that allows US companies to employ foreign workers in speciality occupations that require theoretical or technical expertise.

    However, indications are that the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) may soon decide to allow H1-B visa holders to do so, despite the fact that one of the requirements for H-1B visa workers is that they should be employed at the address mentioned on the labour condition application filed by employees.

    The US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has issued new guidelines enabling physicians holding the H-1B visas to practice telemedicine and providing local hospitals with the necessary flexibility to meet increased demand for medical treatment during the COVID-19 pandemic.

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