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There is 50% Decrease in the Applications for H1B Visa here is why…

Washington D.C,

Immigration experts think “there could be a sharp decline in the number of H-1B petitions filed by Indian IT services companies this year following the tough environment created by the US administration under President Donald Trump.”

On April 2, H-1B filings for the next fiscal began and will conclude when the immigration authority, the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), determines that they have received enough applications to meet the upper limit of 65,000 visas that can be issued in a year.

“The general consensus seems to be that filings of H-1B petitions by Indian IT services companies would be down this year, possibly by as much as 50% compared to the recent years,” said Scott FitzGerald, a partner in US immigration firm Fragomen Worldwide.

The Trump government has been progressively increasing the rigidity with which it scrutinizes work visa applications. In February, it issued a policy memorandum that allowed its officers to demand more detailed documentation from applicants to determine they have specific assignments in a speciality occupation for the H-1B beneficiary, and for the entire time requested on the petition.

H-1B visa rejection rates for renewals have risen clearly. Stephen Yale-Loehr, professor of immigration law practice at Cornell Law School, said “the number of H-1B petitions that received requests for additional evidence last year increased more than 40% over the previous year, That trend is likely to continue this year,”

FitzGerald said petitions will be rejected if USCIS deems it to be incomplete if they find missing or incorrect –­­­ signatures, filing fee checks, checked boxes. He said these have increased the administrative work for the IT firms and lawyers to audit the checklist for all H-1B filings and the increase in requests for evidence have resulted in higher legal fees, which to discourages Indian companies from filing too many petitions.

Cyrus Mehta, managing attorney and founder of New York-based law firm Cyrus D Mehta & Partners said “One should expect the same sort of H-1B carnage like last year. No matter how well one responds to the request for evidence or argues the case before the Administrative Appeals Office (AAO), the outcome could still be a preordained denial – as if Trump’s wall is already up,”

Indian IT companies have been the prominent users of the H-1B visa for many years. They use it to send employees in India to the US to service clients there. Trump, however, believes companies do not do enough to find local talent to do the same job and prefer Indian employees because they are cheaper.

Meanwhile, Indian companies are establishing more development centres in the US to tap into local talent. “Their overall dependency on the programme is likely to reduce this year,” said Vikram Shroff, a lead of HR law at law firm Nishith Desai Associates.

But FitzGerald doubts  “If not, will these (Indian) companies look to recruit talent away from more traditional ‘IT staffing’ firms? Will they instead look to offshore as much of the work as possible to India?”

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