Trump Administration Warns Companies Not to “Misuse” H-1B Visas

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The Trump administration has issued a stern warning to companies not to discriminate against American workers by “misusing” the H-1B work visa programme, the most sought after by Indian IT firms and professionals.

“The Justice Department will not tolerate employers misusing the H-1B visa process to discriminate against US workers,” said Acting Assistant Attorney General Tom Wheeler of the Civil Rights Division.

The warning came as the government began accepting employers’ H-1B visa petitions for the next fiscal year beginning 1 October 2017.

The US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) on Monday had announced multiple measures to “deter and detect” what it described as “fraud and abuse” of the H-1B work visas.

The USCIS announcement indicated that the US government is going to be tough and stringent in its approval of H-1B visas this year.

The USCIS has a Congressional mandate to issue 65,000 H-1B visas in general category and another 20,000 for those applicants having higher education – Masters and above – from US universities in the fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

Asserting that its multiple measures announced will further “deter and detect H-1B visa fraud and abuse”, the USCIS said the H-1B visa programme should help US companies recruit highly-skilled foreign nationals when there is a shortage of qualified workers in the country.

This will hurt the Indian IT sector since companies such as TCS, Infosys and Wipro depend heavily on H1-B visas to execute contracts in the US. In addition to H-1B visas, Indian IT firms also use short-term L-1 visas.

During his election campaign, President Donald Trump had promised to increase oversight of the H-1B and L-1 visa programmes,” it said.

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