Biden administration unsure to lift Trump’s H1B Visa ban

Following Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas’ statement that it will prioritize the urgent needs of individuals fleeing persecution, the Biden administration seemed undecided over ending Trump’s H1b Visa ban and issuing new H1B visas. 

In January, former President Donald Trump decided to extend the ban till March 31 st on account of very high unemployment rates in the US. He added that the country could not afford to hire more foreign workers. 

President Joe Biden has reversed several of his predecessor’s executive orders, such as the Muslim visa ban or those related to Green Card. However, the H1B visa ban is yet to be lifted. The H1B ban will expire on March 31 st if an official decision isn’t made. 

During the White House news conference, Mayorkas was asked, “What is the status of the review of the Trump visa bans for H1B visas, and has the White House decided to lift those Visa bans before they expire at the end of the month?”. He replied, “I don’t really (know); I hate to end the questioning on a question. The answer to which I am not fully certain. But this goes to what has proceeded us. We have so much repair and restoration work to do to and rebuild our prioritization matrix. And, the acute needs of individuals fleeing persecution are the highest priority. Which brings me to this meeting this morning”.

The US Citizenship and Immigration Services has proceeded with its H-1B application allocation process for the next fiscal year 22, which commences on October 1 st 2021. It announced last month that it received applications that were sufficient to allocate 65,000 H-1B visas to individuals who have completed their higher education from US universities. 

Biden had rescinded Trump’s policy that prevented several Green Card applicants from entering the US during the COVID-19 pandemic. This decision will benefit Indians working in India on the H-1B visa. Trump issued the ban last year, saying that it was an effort to protect US workers amid soaring unemployment rates that resulted from the pandemic. 

A Green Card, officially known as a Permanent Resident Card, is a document allotted to immigrants in the US. It provides proof that the carrier has been granted the right to reside in the country permanently. 

The current immigration system in the US imposes a 7% per country restriction on Green Card allotment. It has severely impacted highly trained Indian IT professionals, primarily on H-1B work visas, who come to the US. H-1B is a non-immigrant visa that permits US companies to hire foreign workers in occupations that require theoretical or technical expertise. Technology companies in the US rely on H1B visas to engage tens of thousands of Indian and Chinese employees. 

The US currently has a surplus of around 473,000 qualified family-based Green Card requests. As a result of Trump’s Green Card ban, over 120,000 family-based preference visas were misplaced. However, this proved to be a boon in issuing employment-based Green Cards, primarily for those on H1B visas. As a result, several IT professionals received their Green Cards during the last few months of Trump’s administration. 

While the decision is pending many software Engineers and IT Profestioan are waiting for H1B Visa Ban to be lifted so that they can go for H1B Visa stamping and fly for their  Onsite dream.

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US H1B Visa Ban extended till March 31; Indian IT professionals impacted