Retirement Plan

New H1-B visa lottery process: More paperwork for those who hire foreigners

The Trump administration has introduced a new set of stringent provisions to the H1-B under which, companies hiring foreigners to work in the US through the highly sought-after immigration option, will have to pre-register electronically for the annual H-1B lottery. They will then file ‘full-fledged applications’ for the winners. Currently, petitions have to be filed upfront, together with all supporting evidence, just for entry into the lottery. The new policy will entail additional paperwork atop the already cumbersome process, including increased scrutiny, especially for employers like IT service companies. Approval by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) is the first step towards a change in the H-1B filing mechanism. The H-1B Visa cap, enforced by US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), has a mandated limit of 65,000 for the regular pool and an additional 20,000 for the advanced degree Sponsoring employees have to submit the applications in the first week of April and within days the quota is met owing to which a random lottery mechanism is adopted. Indians typically garner more than 60% of the H-1B visas. Tech companies like Cognizant, TCS, Infosys and Wipro are among the top hirers. Experts say the proposals on H1-B visa pose a threat for the IT companies’ margins. These proposals could reduce the number of visas available for those without the US advanced degrees. Indian IT companies pre-dominantly employ people with bachelor’s degrees. Some companies are already facing margin pressure as tighter visa rules require them to hire US citizens and sub-contract work if they cannot hire quickly enough.

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