On April 18, 2017 President Trump signed an executive order requiring all H1B visas to include a minimum salary of $130,000 dollars. Due to the high price, this ban has effectively eliminated employment opportunities for many foreigners in the tech industry who were looking for jobs in the United States.
As a result of this ban, many immigrants are now scrambling to find new loopholes through which they can immigrate into America before their H1B ban visa expires. This includes the use of “G-1 Work Permits”.
Multiple immigration attorneys have reported that many employers are now using a G-1 Work Permit to circumvent the H1B cap. These permits, issued by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), give certain foreign workers a chance to work in America legally. The job title usually falls under the category of IT field. Although USCIS permits are available only for specific professions, immigration attorneys have reported that U.S. employers have broadened the scope of these permits by manipulating the classification of their workers’ job titles.
To make matters worse, even though the regulations clearly specify that G-1 Work Permits are only to be used for certain professions, USCIS has been reluctant to enforce their rules. This negligence has resulted in an increase in the number of H1B visas issued with G-1 jobs. USCIS is aware of this issue but has failed to take any action against employers who use these permits to hire foreign workers at lower wages. While a G-1 visa is valid for 4 years and allows the holder to work throughout the United States, it can only be extended once. As a result many immigrants who used these permits to get into the country are now worried that they will have to leave after their permit expires.
The bill, which will now go to the House of Representatives, would prohibit companies with more than 50 employees from hiring workers through H-1B and L-1 visa programmes.
Indian IT companies use H-1B visas for foreign nationals to take on specialised positions in the US. As an alternative to this, US Senators are pushing for the country’s own skilled workforce to be trained more efficiently. One of the key aims is to prevent tech companies from outsourcing jobs overseas.
The Indian government has been dealing with H-1B visa issues for years now. In 2012, it tried to introduce similar rules in India to prevent the country’s highly skilled professionals from moving overseas.
This resulted in a number of protests from the Indian IT Industry, which claimed this would hamper the nation’s business and prevent global technology companies from investing in India. One year later, companies were allowed to adopt similar rules while they were not directly targeting H-1B visas.
Therefore, in response to this ongoing issue USCIS has published a new policy about using G-1 Work Permits for H-1B visas. According to this policy, all G-1 Work Permits should be officially classified as H-1B visas so that they are not considered a temporary or privilege visa. This will effectively make it impossible for employers to use these permits to hire foreign workers at lower wages without any consequences.