New regulations under consideration by the Department of Homeland Security could prevent H-1B extensions, and prohibit hundreds of thousands of workers from keeping their H-1B visas while their green card applications are pending, McClatchy reported last week. Separately, US legislation to get tougher on H-1B visas, especially those used by outsourcing firms, has raised concerns of Nasscom, the Indian trade association for the IT and business process outsourcing industry.
H-1B visas allow companies to bring in highly skilled temporary foreign workers. It’s often used for IT workers. A full definition is available on SIA’s Lexicon.
The Times of India reported the change preventing H-1B extensions would impact Indian tech workers the most, and could send 500,000 Indian workers out of the US.
News on the extensions comes as Nasscom raises concerns about federal legislation aimed at H-1Bs that makes a number of changes.
“That formulation has conditions which are extremely onerous and makes it very difficult for people to not just get the visa but also on how they can be used,” Nasscom President R. Chandrashekhar told The Hindu newspaper.
The bill, HR 170, was approved Nov. 15 by the House Judiciary Committee. It had been introduced this year by Congressman Darrell Issa, R-Calif. One of the changes included in the proposal is an increase in the required minimum wage level for H-1B visa holders to $90,000 instead of $60,000. It would also require the Secretaries of Labor and Homeland Security to publish a report on use of H-1Bs, including lists of H-1B dependent employers, occupations, wages, worksites and the status of any ongoing or completed investigations into the misuse of H-1B programs.