High-skilled Indian professionals bring important skill sets, bridge technological gaps and impart a competitive edge to the US economy, the MEA observed.

Assessing impact of Trumps visa order on Indians industry Ministry of External Affairs
Money Visa Thursday, June 25, 2020 - 19:51

The Ministry of External Affairs has taken cognisance of the suspension of certain categories of non-immigrant visas by the United States till December 31, 2020. This comes two days after US President Donald Trump signed the proclamation.

An MEA spokesperson has said that the ministry is assessing the impact of the order on Indian nationals and industry in consultation with stakeholders.

“This is likely to affect movement of Indian skilled professionals who avail of these non-immigrant visa programmes to work lawfully in the US. We are assessing the impact of the order on Indian nationals and industry in consultation with stakeholders,” an MEA spokesperson said.

On Monday, US President Donald Trump suspended H-1B, H-2B, H-4, L-1 and J-1 visas till the end of this year. Indians are the single largest group of H1-B visa-holders accounting for nearly 74% of the work visas and this move by Trump’s administration is set to deal a blow to Indian companies that place technology workers in US companies.

As of April 1, 2020, the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) received about 2.5 lakh H-1B work visa applications and Indians made up for 67% (1.84 lakh) of these in the current financial year.

However, this move does not impact visa holders who are in the country, or currently hold a valid visa but are outside the country.

But this suspension will impact those who do not have a valid official travel document (transportation letter, an appropriate boarding foil, or an advance parole document) other than a visa that permits them to travel to the US and seek entry or admission.

The MEA observed, “High-skilled Indian professionals bring important skill sets, bridge technological gaps and impart a competitive edge to the US economy. They have also been a critical component of the workforce that is at the forefront of providing Covid-19 related assistance in key sectors, including health, information technology and financial services.”

“People-to-people linkages and trade & economic cooperation, especially in technology and innovation sectors, are an important dimension of the U.S.-India partnership. The US has always welcomed talent and we hope our professionals will continue to be welcomed in US in the future,” MEA spokesperson added.

H-2B visas are for non-professional workers. An exemption has been made for agricultural labour in this category on whom the US food supply depends. Similarly, in the J-1 category nannies or au pairs -- who are employed by the elite across the political spectrum -- are exempt, while it would apply to scholars and researchers except those in certain health or specialised fields or are professors. The H-4 visas are for spouses of H-1B workers and the restrictions are linked. Employees transferred by their companies to work in the US are given L-1 visas.

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Also read: US President Trump suspends H-1B and H-4 visas till end of the year

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