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International Relations

Urge to Suspend H-1B

  • 25 Apr 2020
  • 4 min read

Why in News

The US President has been requested to suspend the foreign workers programme, including H-1B as a huge number of Americans have lost their jobs due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Key Points

  • A lawmaker in the US has sought suspension of the H-1B, H4, L1, B1, B2, Optional Practical Training Program and guest worker admissions.
  • The Congressional Select Committee on the Coronavirus Crisis has also been urged to take action to protect medical professionals holding H-1B visas because they are essential to confront and combat the current crisis.
    • Due to the loss of revenues, many health centres are closing down which will impact H-1B visa holders currently practicing medicine at these facilities.
  • Indians and H-1B Visa
    • Indians are the largest beneficiaries of the H1B visas and held three out of four H1B visas as of 2018, data from the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) shows.
    • Indians held 309,986 H1B visas as of 2018, which was 73.9% of the total H1B visas issued.
    • Indians comprised 68% of H1B registrations for Financial Year 2020-21, followed by China, which accounted for 13.2%.
    • The latest move will hamper Indians who are working in the US on such visas by decreasing the chances of employment.
  • Earlier, the US temporarily suspended approval of some Green Cards.

Green Card

  • It is officially known as a Permanent Resident Card.
  • It is issued to immigrants to the US under the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA), 1952.
  • It allows a person to live and work permanently in the US.

H-1B Visa

  • It is a non-immigrant visa that allows US companies to employ graduate level foreign workers in specialty occupations. Speciality occupations requires:
    • Theoretical or technical expertise in specialized fields such as in IT, finance, accounting, architecture, engineering, mathematics, science, medicine, etc.
    • Any professional level job that usually requires a bachelor’s degree or higher can come under the H-1B visa for specialty occupations.
  • The US H1-B visa is designed to be used for staff in specialty occupations. H-1B has an option of green card application.
  • H-1B visa holders can bring their spouse and children under 21 years of age to the US under the H4 Visa category as dependents.
    • An H4 Visa holder is allowed to remain in the US as long as the H-1B visa holder remains in legal status.
    • While an H4 visa holder is not eligible to work in the US, they may attend school, obtain a driver's license and open a bank account while in the US.

Source: IE

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