As US proposes change in H1B visa rules, Telugu diaspora may be worst affected

The two states of Telangana and Andhra account for the most number of US visas issued every year.
As US proposes change in H1B visa rules, Telugu diaspora may be worst affected
As US proposes change in H1B visa rules, Telugu diaspora may be worst affected
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Even as a new Bill in the US House of Representatives seeking to reform H1B visa rules has left many IT companies shocked, it is expected to have an even bigger effect on the Telugu diaspora.

The two states of Telangana and Andhra send the highest number of students from India to the US every year.

Most Telugu students who pass out of American universities work in the computer and software sector in the US, while some return home with their degrees to work in India.

According to an IANS report, the US issued more than a million visas to Indians in 2016, which also accounts for 72 percent of all H1B visas issued worldwide.

Out of this number, a large chunk are from Andhra and Telangana.

As of 2014, there were close to 30,000 full-time students from Hyderabad alone, compared to Mumbai's 17,294 or Delhi's 8,728.

Vijayawada and Visakhapatnam in Andhra accounted for another 2,000 students each.

The states held the record in 2015 too, with the Hyderabad consulate alone issuing 27,000 student visas through the year.

Katherine Hadda, the American Consulate General in Hyderabad, has also said that one in every four Indians has a Telugu connection in the US.

The 'Telugu boom', as it is referred to sometimes, began in the late 80s and early 90s, when several educated Telugu speaking people from the then united Andhra Pradesh began migrating to the US and Canada in search of better opportunities.

Since then, it has become a local tradition among middle class and upper-middle class families in the two states of Telangana and Andhra to ensure that at least one person from the family goes to the US to study or work.

Unlike the current rules, which have a minimum salary set at USD 60,000, the recent Bill proposes to more than double the salary for H1B visa holders to USD 130,000.

Presently, the lower minimum salary allows Indian IT companies to send engineers to the US, keeping their costs low and giving them an economic advantage. However, the new rules may result in a direct loss of employment, as it becomes financially unviable for companies to hire foreign workers.

Besides this, the Bill also proposes to make a Master’s degree mandatory for all H1B visa holders.

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