Bury techies in paperwork: How US will make green card approval tougher

Donald Trump US President, to the media on the south lawn of the White House in Washington on Saturday
The latest trick that the Trump administration pulled off to deny slow green card to immigrants is by complicating the requisite paperwork. This move comes amid a slew of measures the US government has undertaken in the past couple of days to promote what Trump calls a 'Buy American, Hire American' strategy.

The US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USICS) is planning to demand additional forms, certified translations and notarized signatures from people while applying for a green card or citizenship, an Economic Times report said. Earlier, US Congressmen would waive off signing privacy waivers that would fast-track the green card approval process. However, with the new rules are meant to dissuade them by burying them in paperwork.

The US government has also proposed a bill that will deter Indian IT companies from recruiting Indian talent to work in the USA. The Protect and Grow American Jobs Bill aims to achieve this by limiting the definition of visa-dependant companies, increasing the minimum wage ceiling for a worker to $100,000 for avoiding labour certification and seeking a promise that the visa holder is not displacing an existing employee for a tenure of 5-6 years.

If this bill becomes a law, it can cause large-scale deportation of H-1B visa holders. An estimated 500,000-750,000 Indian H-1B visa holders will be impacted.

"That formulation has conditions which are extremely onerous and makes it very difficult for people to not just get the visa but also on how they can be used," said R Chandrashekhar, President, National Association for Software and Services Companies (Nasscom).

Furthermore, the US government is said to be considering a regulation that ends the current indefinite stay granted to those H1-B visa holders whose green card applications are pending.

Chandrashekhar also pointed out that the use of visas by Indian IT firms has fallen by 50 per cent in the last two years and that the number now stands below 10,000.

"It is below 10,000, which is a minuscule fraction of 85,000 visas (H-1B visas) issued every year... how such onerous restrictions on 12-15 per cent of the visas that are being issued protect American workers, certainly defies logic," he added.

The proposed changes in US policy would have a dramatic effect, particularly on Indian visa holders considering more than half of all H-1B visas have been awarded to Indian nationals, according to a Pew Research Center report. 

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