'American workers first': USA announces revised rules to combat H1B visa fraud

The reproduction of the story/photograph in any form will be liable for legal action. The new regime would witness targeted site visits, allowing the USCIS to focus resources where fraud and abuse of the H-1B program may be more likely to occur, and determine whether H-1B dependent employers are evading their obligation to make a good, faithful effort to recruit American workers.

Just being a computer programmer does not qualify an Indian professional to get an H-1B visa to the United States of America under the "speciality occupation" scheme - allegedly a crackdown by the Trump administration to deter and detect the misuse of the facility by the Indian IT-firms.

Additionally, a report from Axios pointed to a separate USCIS memo quietly released over the weekend suggesting that "computer programmers are no longer presumed to be eligible for H-1B visas". The new policy envisages a careful investigation of the profile and here are some of the imperative changes in the application procedure that you need to know. In fact, he hasn't even limited the cap on the number of visas that will be issued. But critics say that over the last two and a half decades, it has evolved into a stop-gap measure that is somewhere between a tourist visa and a "green card".

Though the USCIS press release about site targeting drew attention for its protectionist language, the memo about what might happen to software workers initially appeared to be of greater effect.

US Embassies around the world started accepting next year's H1-B visa petitions from April 3.

Mark Krikorian, executive director of the right-wing Center for Immigration Studies, said that Trump had "missed an opportunity" to implement serious reform - like eliminating the H-1B lottery altogether.

Protecting American workers by combating fraud in our employment-based immigration programs is a priority for USCIS. "The administration is considering several additional options for the president to use his existing authority to ensure federal agencies more rigorously enforce all aspects of the programme", the official told the agency.

Indian firms like TCS, Infosys and Wipro - on their part - have been reducing their dependence on H-1B visas, ramping up local hiring to meet requirement.

Such companies have bounced back in a big way on the stock market since then, and Monday's news didn't really move the needle on their share prices.

The USCIS in March this year announced that to clear a backlog of regular H-1B visa applications, it is suspending for six months a programme that allowed some companies to jump to the head of the queue for quicker processing of H-1B visas by paying a special fee.

The USCIS has a Congressional mandate to issue 65,000 H-1B visas in general category and another 20,000 for those applicants having higher education - masters and above - from US universities in the field of science, technology, engineering and mathematics. A Senate bill to reform the H-1B program sponsored by Iowa Republican Chuck Grassley and Illinois Democrat Dick Durbin was introduced in January; the bill has been praised by both left- and right-leaning immigration experts.

The USCIS will focus on cases where it can not validate the employer's basic business information through commercially available data, H-1B-dependent employers, those who have a high ratio of H-1B workers as compared to US workers, as defined by statute, and employers petitioning for H-1B workers who work off-site at another company or organisation's location.

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