Washington, DC – Right from the beginning, the Trump Administration has focused on jobs and hence on H-1B visas which are non-immigrant visas allowing US companies to employ foreign workers in specific occupations.
Last week, as the reiterated talks of revising the H-1B visa policy was rediscovered by the obsessed Indian media, the Spokesperson in the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) of the Government of India chipped in his two cents. According to a report by PTI, the quasi-government news agency of India, MEA Spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said, “It is a very important topic for us and that is the reason why time and again, at different levels, we have taken up the matter with the US side. Most recently, it was discussed and mentioned during the two-plus-two talks.”
Kumar further disclosed his government engagement with not just the Trump administration, but also with the US lawmakers on the subject. PTI report quoted him as saying, “It is indeed correct that the administration has taken measures to prevent abuse of this program and there are certain bills which have been introduced.”
“I think what we get to hear are the provisions from those bills, but it is important to note that none of these bills have been passed so far,” he added.
US lawmakers and the administration are concerned about immigration in general and there are ongoing attempts to streamline the H-1B visa program as is evident from the following coverage by IAT:
Trump Administration Continues to Reform H-1, H-4 Visa Process
Trump Administration Cracks Down on H1B Visa Fraud and Abuse
USCIS Tightens Policy to Combat H-1B Visa Abuses
Labor Department Also Cracks Down on H1B Visa Fraud and Abuse
In addition to the US government trying to streamline the H-1B visa process and crack down on the abuse of the system, there are numerous stories which are appearing and the following were covered by IAT:
Indian American Sridevi to Serve Prison Term for H-1B Visa Fraud
Fremont’s Sunitha Guntipally Gets Over 4 Years in Prison For Visa Fraud
Huge H1B Visa Fraud Investigation Nets Four in Bay Area, Nevada
This is just the tip of the iceberg of H-1B visa fraud, and there are many more cases of fraud and exploitation of Indian workers that go unreported.
Ironically, the Government of India usually keeps its silence on such fraud cases as it seems not to have a political value. In addition, there are umpteen number of organizations that have sprung up who are championing the causes of H-1B visa holders and proclaiming that the US lawmakers are being approached for cases.
Important to note that the US lawmakers do not have a direct interest in H-1B visa holders who are not US citizens and have no voting rights. The lawmakers are involved in immigration policy matters and are working with the administration to weed out rampant H-1B visa fraud.
The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) under whose umbrella comes the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) recently announced plans to revise the definition of “specialty occupation” to fine-tune the H-1B program.
Indians who are here in the US on H-1B visa vouch for the need to “revise the definition” of employment and employer-employee relationship and the DHS is proposing the same to “better protect” US workers as well as wages. In different parts of the US, some of the Indians work for meagre wages in reality even though they have officially signed on for higher wages.
The ongoing H-1B visa fraud and deplorable conditions of some of those workers from India need to be highlighted by the Narendra Modi led Indian government. Throwing spanners in the reform process does not help the cause of Indian workers who are being exploited by unfair practices.