H1B visa: US announces steps to protect American workers from visa abuse

Namrata Tripathi

The United States has signalled an intensified effort by the Donald Trump administration to curb "abuse" of the H1-B visa programme, which is mainly used by Indian IT professionals.The US has said that it will use its authority "rigorously" to launch investigations into H1-B visa violators.

The US Labour Department said its efforts to protect American workers from visa abuse will involve increased coordination with other departments in the government for investigations, and in some cases persecution, according to PTI reports.

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The US H1-B visa is a non-immigrant visa, which allows firms to hire foreign workers in specialised occupations. The H-1B and L1 work visas are majorly used by Indian IT professionals. Currently, the cap on H1B visas stands at 65,000, out of which 25,000-35,000 are issued to Indian nationals.

After the US Citizenship and Immigration Services and the Justice Department, the Labour Department is the third federal agency which has implemented Trump administration's pledge to prevent the abuse of H1-B visa. The US Justice Department had earlier cautioned employers in America to not discriminate against the US workers.

US Citizenship and Immigration Services

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The Labour Department on Tuesday said it is considering making changes to the Labour Condition Application for the future application cycles to ensure that American workers are not discriminated against. The federal agency said the Labour Condition Application, which is a required part of the H1-B visa application process, may be updated in future for greater transparency for agency personnel, US workers and the general public.

The step was welcomed by the two top Senators, Chuck Grassley and Dick Durbin, who were demanding reforms to the H1-B visa programmes.

"This announcement by the Trump administration to target employers who abuse the H-1B programme is a welcome first step toward preventing the firing of skilled American workers. However, much more needs to be done," they said. "The president should continue using his authority to prevent outsourcing companies from displacing American workers".

The White House on Monday warned against the abuse of H1-B visas by companies stating that the Trump administration will enforce laws protecting Americans from "discriminating hiring practices".

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