United States President Donald Trump appears to have gone slow on his campaign pledge to tighten laws for overseas professionals in the country. White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer has offered hope to Indian tech companies that they may be able to benefit from the existing H-1B visa policy for their workers this year.
This comes after India's foreign and commerce secretaries discussed the issue during their trips to Washington, DC. Earlier, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had also raised its concern regarding the H-1B visa with visiting US Congressmen in Delhi. However, according to officials and experts, they haven't ruled out some of the changes in US Visa rules.
Sean Spicer said that they are having a "comprehensive" look at the visa policy, without revealing any time frame.
"The President's actions that he's taken in terms of his executive order and another revamping of immigration policy have focused on our border security, keeping our country safe, our people safe," Spencer said.
He further added, "And then, obviously, whether it's H-1B visas or the other one - spousal visas - other areas of student visas, I think there is a natural desire to have a full look at - a comprehensive look at that."
Trump's new immigration policy had called for 40% increase in the minimum wage of foreign workers on H-1B visas to $100,000 a year to match the current wage rate in the US.
Doing so, the policy says, "will force companies to give these coveted entry-level jobs to the existing domestic pool of unemployed native and immigrant workers in the U.S., instead of flying in cheaper workers from overseas."
The document adds, "This will improve the number of black, Hispanic and female workers in Silicon Valley who have been passed over in favour of the H-1B programme."
US Citizenship and Immigration services advises that "it is important to plan in advance if you will be filing for an H-1B visa that is subject to the annual H-1B numerical cap."
Application for H-1B work visas, meanwhile, for fiscal year 2018 will be accepted from April 3.
With the deadline 16 days from now and the H-1B program remaining in place, it appears the US will either continue the visa for another year or risk the ire of those individuals and employers who apply.
Spicer's lack of specifics saw the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers' US chapter accuse Trump of breaking campaign promise and continuing to cost Americans jobs.