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H-1B visa reforms

LiveMint logoLiveMint 05-03-2017 Livemint

In the short term, the US suspension of premium processing for H-1B visa applications will likely impact Indian IT firms, which depend heavily on the guest worker programme.

The move, which came despite Indian pleas to treat H-1B visas as a matter of trade and business rather than immigration, should be seen as the first in a more serious set of reforms being pushed by the Donald Trump administration.

The suspension appears to have been timed with an eye on the next visa lottery in April. The lottery is needed because the number of applications outweighs the capacity of the programme. But Trump has called for a “merit-based” system and a Democratic senator, Richard Durbin, has asked him to scrap the lottery and prioritize US university graduates and the highest-paid workers.

Indian IT firms must plan for the future—such changes will have a considerable impact on the manner in which they currently do business in the US.

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