Biden administration plans to ease visas for skilled Indian workers amid PM Modi’s US visit: Report

In order to help some skilled workers enter or remain in the United States, the Joe Biden administration will make it easier for Indians to live and work in the United States, Reuters reported citing three people familiar with the matter.

The development comes amid Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s official state visit to the US. The US State Department could make the announcement on Thursday that a small number of Indians and other foreign workers on H-1B visas will be able to renew those visas in the US, without the need to having to travel to other nations, Reuters reported citing one of the sources, part of a pilot program that could be expanded in coming years.

By far, a large percentage of H-1B visa holders and applicants hail from India. Indian citizens made up 73 per cent of the nearly 4,42,000 H1-B workers in the fiscal year 2022. Another US official said that the mobility of the people is considered a “huge asset” to the US.

“And so our goal is to approach that in a sort of multifaceted way. The State Department already has been working very hard to find creative ways to make changes to things,” Reuters quoted the US official as saying.

A US State Department spokesperson did not reveal the visa types that would qualify or the timing of the pilot launch. The spokesperson said that the pilot will start with a small number of cases with the intent to scale the initiative in the following one or two years, Reuters reported.

Each year, the US government makes 65,000 H1-B visas available to companies that intend to have skilled foreign workers and an additional 20,000 visas for workers with advanced degrees, Reuters reported. The visa for the workers remains valid for three years and can be renewed for another three years.

The decision to allow some of the temporary foreign workers to renew their visas in the US will free up resources for visa interviews in consulates in other nations, Reuters reported citing the sources. Citing sources, the report said the pilot program will include some workers with L-1 visas.

Earlier in March, the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced that the country has received the sufficient number of electronic registrations needed to reach the Congressionally mandated H-1B visa cap for the fiscal year 2024.

“U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has received enough electronic registrations during the initial registration period to reach the fiscal year (FY) 2024 H-1B numerical allocations (H-1B cap), including the advanced degree exemption (master’s cap),” USCIS said in the statement.

“We have randomly selected from the registrations properly submitted to reach the cap, and have notified all prospective petitioners with selected registrations that they are eligible to file an H-1B cap-subject petition for the beneficiary named in the applicable selected registration,” it added.




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