Strict H-1B Visa Norms – A boon for F1 Visa Students

Indians and IT companies, the largest users of the H-1B Visas, are feeling the impact as the Donald Trump administration is making it more challenging for them to get H-1B work visas. On February 22, 2018, the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (UCIS) issued a policy memorandum that said that its visa officers could seek detailed documentation and more evidence from firms to establish that they have specific assignments in a specialty field for the H-1B beneficiary. Secondly, these assignments would require them to stay for the entire duration requested on the petition. If the company can suitably demonstrate that the beneficiary can work on the assignment or project and complete it within three years, then the visa would be granted for the required period only. This has made the H-1B route more tedious and complicated for Indian companies.

So, the Visa officials would carry out a detailed analysis about the beneficiary’s qualifications and the nature of the work involved. If these details match, then the H-1B visa would be approved. But the complexity of this new development is that there is no fixed rule about the basis of rejection. So it would bode well for the H-1B visa beneficiary to prepare well for any such eventuality. The first and foremost strategy would be that one cannot base one’s preparation on assumptions. You need to know your facts well and stay updated on the latest developments. The rules have become way too stringent and the grounds for rejection are sometimes erratic. To avoid such contingency situations, a company lawyer or an external lawyer could help you ensure compliance and guide you in meeting all requirements.

Though this development does not bode well for native Indian companies, who send their employees on H-1B visa, there is a wave of optimism that this stringent approach would lead to a shortage of skilled professionals in the field as the native American work force cannot fulfil the needs of an ever-growing industry. So there is every possibility of the policy being revoked. Until then, being well-prepared and achieving the required compliance is the only way to resolve the Request for Evidence clause of the H-1B visa policy. The good news, however, is that students on the F1 visa would be benefitted by this policy as American companies would prefer hiring the talent available within the country. The STEM OPT option allows F1 students to make the most of this opportunity, thereby helping them get good placements.

Even with the framing of such stringent policies, one needs to understand that getting an American degree far outweighs the education and research opportunities offered by other countries. It is a known fact that American universities offer the best education and state-of-the-art research facilities along with distinguished faculty, flexible course-work and excellent work opportunities through the STEM OPT. It continues to draw students to apply in large numbers.  So if you are on the lookout for top quality education coupled with working in the best global organisations, then the USA will provide you with the best of these opportunities. Studying this policy in depth and understanding its repercussions would help you weigh your options and take the right decision.

Meet our counsellors today to help you understand more about the new policy norms and how you could make the best of this opportunity.