In a bid to provide more job opportunities to Americans, Trump’s string of H-1B visa policy proposals have been steadily rocking the boat for H-1B aspirants in India and the beneficiaries working in the US. Close on the heels of the proposal for strict work requirement and qualification screening for H1B Visa applicants, the Trump administration has revoked spouse work permit of the H-1B visa holder, also known as the H4 EAD, which was earlier granted to spouses of H1B visa beneficiaries during the Obama regime in 2014. This has further compounded the issue with lakhs of Indians rethinking about their future in the US. Aspiring Indian professionals, who wish to take up jobs through the H-1B and H4 EAD, are suddenly riddled with doubts of gaining access to secure work opportunities in the US.

The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has indicated that the government’s proposal to end work authorisation for spouses of H-1B workers in America is aimed at giving a boost to the Donald Trump government’s ‘Buy American Hire American’ policy. A mandatory response period has been provided to facilitate public feedback and representation before finalizing these policies.

While H-1B aspirants in India and the ones currently working in the US have been left baffled by the targeted approach of the Trump government, political hardliners put down Trump’s favourite agenda items on immigration as a means to gaining political mileage and winning the votes of American high tech workers in the forthcoming midterm elections in November.

Meanwhile, it is definitely worth noting that the stringent H-1B visa regulations call for the employment of ‘high skilled’ foreign workers by US businesses, which is undeniably changing the definition of the speciality occupations. H-1B aspirants need to pursue graduate programs in US universities that suit specific job requirements so that they do not lose out on work opportunities. The same could also apply for the H4 EAD – H1B visa holder’s spouse work permit restriction. By pursuing a degree in a specific skill class like Data Science, Artificial intelligence, Machine Learning, Information Security, Robotics or others, the spouses of H-1B visa beneficiaries can then take the H-1B visa route themselves and apply for jobs in the USA.

Trump’s immigration policies notwithstanding, the shortage of a skilled American high tech work force still looms large amidst such proposals. So there is much optimism that with the right skill-sets, aspirants have every chance of being absorbed in high-skilled positions in American companies. Further, with Trump’s additional tax reform coming into place earlier this year, American companies are reviewing their plans to establish or expand their R&D centres and businesses in India and other countries. This would only add to the demand for a skilled work force on home ground, thereby leading to increased opportunities. For more information on the impact of Trump’s additional tax reforms on Indian aspirants, visit https://www.collegepond.com/trumps-additional-tax-policy-silver-lining-stem-opt-aspirants/

While these developments are far from over, it is well worth taking the ‘wait and watch’ approach and circumventing the problems through appropriate measures rather than hastily ruling out the possibility of working in the USA.