H1-B visa rules: Trump tightens the noose on US firms; entry-level Indian techies to bear the brunt

The US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has said that an entry-level computer programmer position could not be called "specialty" , on the basis of which the H1-B visa could be issued.

The new administration under President Donald Trump has spelled out certain changes in the H1-B Visa rules that could massively impact Indian techies seeking jobs in the US.

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The US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has said that an entry-level computer programmer position could not be called "specialty" , on the basis of which the H1-B visa could be issued. For Indian techies this could mean that those who have just started off their careers and hope to work in the US may struggle to get their visa.

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Here are all the top developments related to the H1-B Visa issue:


  • The US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has reversed a decade and a half old guidelines which were, seemingly, kept broad for smooth migration of workforce to meet global needs.
  • The specific guideline change that impacts Indian techies the most pertains to the definition of "specialty occupation" under which the H1-B visa could be applied. The US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has ruled that an entry level computer programmer position would not generally qualify as a position in a "specialty occupation".
  • The USCIS, in a policy memorandum, has categorically said: "The fact that a person may be employed as a computer programmer and may use information technology skills and knowledge to help an enterprise achieve its goals in the course of his or her job is not sufficient to establish the position as a specialty occupation."
  • The UCIS also added that those applying for H1-B Visa cannot just follow the existing handbook that describes the "specialty occupation", but instead come with more proof that their job profile falls under "specialty occupation" category.
  • The Trump administration has also issued a warning to US companies against the misuse of H1-B Visas which results in discrimination against US workers. The Trump administration is essentially telling US companies to hire US nationals instead of people of other nationalities. "Too many American workers who are as qualified, willing and deserving to work in these fields have been ignored or unfairly disadvantaged. Protecting American workers by combating fraud in our employment-based immigration programs is a priority for the USCIS," a statement said.
  • Thousands of Indians, meanwhile, have started applying for H-1B work visas for the next fiscal beginning October 1, 2017. The application process started yesterday.