Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Obama’s Recent Visit to India May Loosen H1-B Restrictions

Sangeetha Shanmugham
World Education Services

During President Barack Obama’s recent visit to India, he assured Prime Minister Narendra Modi that his administration will try to deal with India’s concerns about H1-B and L1-B visa restrictions for immigrant workers and international students.
U.S. officials have since confirmed that they will consider India's concerns over the lack of available work visas as part of Obama's widespread immigration changes.

Immigration laws have been at the center of an intense discussion in the U.S. But it is the status of undocumented immigrants that has been the focus of this conversation, and not the limited supply of H1-B and other skilled worker visas. Although the U.S. government has proposed increases in the number of work visas in the past, it has yet to implement them.

WES Student Advisor reached out to Sunita Kapoor, a Texas-based attorney, to find out more about the subject. She remains hopeful that Obama’s administration will take steps to loosen the current immigration laws for students and foreign workers.

“As per my knowledge, understanding and research under the executive action, Obama has given instructions to improve immigrant visa availability for employment green card cases, improve the guidelines on L-1B and pass the regulations about H-4 work authorization and relax the policy on F-1 OPT candidates and National Interest waivers candidates to retain them in U.S.,” Kapoor said in an email.

“There was demand and need that he should increase H-1B quota numbers, however, it did not come in the executive action,” Kapoor said. “We are hoping that he would do something in this regard in [the] near future.”

The current quota for H-1B visas is 65,000, a number that was reached in a matter of days last year. Additionally, there are 20,000 available to those with advanced degrees, bringing the total number of available H1-B visas to 85,000.

Ben Rhodes, U.S. deputy national security advisor, told journalists travelling with Obama's staff that, "I think what the president indicated is that these are the types of issues that we have approached through the context of a comprehensive immigration reform. So, given [Obama's] ongoing efforts to work with Congress in pursuit of comprehensive immigration reform, we would be incorporating these types of issues in that process and would be in touch with the Indian government as that moved forward."

The measures in Obama’s executive action from November includes some benefits for international students enrolled in STEM majors and skilled workers, including allowing the spouses of certain H1-B visa holders to work in the U.S., and a reduction in the amount of time needed to get a green card.

The immigration reforms are still in the proposal stages and haven’t come into effect yet. However, if Obama’s assurances to Modi come true, this could significantly influence the number of international students who enroll in universities across the country; they may feel more compelled to look to the U.S. as an education destination if they have the choice of gaining some work experience along with their degrees. We’ll keep you posted on this issue, so don’t forget to check in with us for more updates.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Comments posted on may be moderated.

Like us on Facebook for exclusive content from U.S. Admissions Experts!