H1B Visa – UPSC Prelims

About H-1B visa:
  • H1-B is a non-immigrant visa.
  • It allows US companies to employ foreign workers on the basis of theoretical or technical expertise.
  • H-1B visas are generally approved for a period of three years for a person. But many visa holders change employers to extend their US stay.
  • Most IT companies in the US hire from the pool of H-1B visa-approved workers. As they are already present in the US to keep their costs in check. Such workers are often hired by the companies as subcontractors.
About the 2020 Ban on H1-B skilled workers:
  • In 2020, the previous US President signed an executive order suspending the entry of H-1B and other foreign work visa holders.
  • This decision was to protect the American jobs after the Covid-19 pandemic impacts. However, the ban did not have its intended impact.
Why did the President then let the executive order expire?
  • H-1B visa allows cheap labour in the US, they are beneficial to US companies. It is helpful in getting inexpensive but highly skilled and trained workers.
  • Hence, the US President has decided to reverse the ban to allow companies to hire new workers.
Impact of this decision on the Indian IT industry:
  • The US government has a cap of 85,000 total H-1B visas for each year.
  • Among these, 65,000 H-1B visas are issued to highly skilled foreign workers. The rest 20,000 can be additionally allotted to highly skilled foreign workers having a higher education or master’s degree from a US university.
  • Indian IT companies are among the biggest beneficiaries of the US H-1B visa regime. Since the 1990s they have the highest share in the total number of visas issued each year.
  • Hence, this decision will mean the availability of a greater workforce for the IT companies.
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