H-1B visas could soon be stamped in the United States following the recommendation of the presidential commission

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Many Indian professionals, whether new or awaiting H-1B visa renewals, face uncertainty due to long visa application appointments, with the current waiting period being over a year.

Many Indian professionals, whether new or awaiting H-1B visa renewals, face uncertainty due to long visa application appointments, with the current waiting period being over a year.

A Presidential Commission on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders has unanimously approved a recommendation for the provision of H-1B visas inside the United States, a decision if accepted by President Joe Biden will be a big relief to thousands of foreign professionals, especially from India.

The H-1B visa is a nonimmigrant visa that allows U.S. businesses to employ foreign workers in specialized occupations requiring academic or technical expertise. Tech companies depend on it to hire tens of thousands of employees every year in countries like India and China.

Under current mandatory practice, one must apply for a visa at a U.S. consulate or embassy overseas before their H-1B status can be activated.

The decision came from the President’s Advisory Commission on Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders during its meeting at the White House on Wednesday.

Long waiting period for Indians

Notably, many of them new or awaiting renewal of H-1B visas face uncertainty due to long visa application appointments in countries like India where the period of current wait is over a year. A recommendation was offered by American Indian Ajay Jain Bhutoria, a member of the commission.

“As part of our immigration process, H-1B visa holders have the opportunity to work in the United States, live here, and contribute to the growth of our economy, innovation, and economic development” , Bhutoria told committee members at the conference. meeting, which was broadcast live by the White House.

H-1B visa holders, he told commission members, face problems and often even forced family separation upon renewal or when traveling abroad.

“There are situations where many people, whose parents have been in intensive care or in critical condition or the death of a relative, but they could not return to their country of origin with the fear that there are often delays in visa appointments in countries of origin,” he said.

“In India, at present, the waiting period is 844 days to get a visa appointment, which is two years or more. The situation is similar in Pakistan, Bangladesh and many other countries. China is doing much better right now. So they can’t get dates and they can’t get dabbed and they’re stuck,” Mr Bhutoria said.

Based in Silicon Valley, Mr. Bhutoria is a successful entrepreneur and has supported President Biden since day one of his campaign.

“What happens then, they potentially lose their jobs. The wife and children are separated here and have no means to support themselves or often the spouses do not drive. Many of these types of situations disrupt their lives when they have had the full opportunity to work here legally,” he explained.

“USCIS should update the policy”

This recommendation essentially says that the USCIS (US Citizenship and Immigration Commission) should update its policy, as it was done several years ago, to provide guidelines allowing for the extension and stamping of visas to the United States. United by USCIS, he said.

“It was done before. He was arrested,” he added.

“This recommendation is to ask USCIS to allow stamping in the United States. Alternatively, USCIS should also consider providing advanced travel documents to these visa holders when exiting the country on a visa. expired so they can return to the United States without having to get re-stamped in their home country,” Mr. Bhutoria said.

Family separation problem

Several commission members described this as an issue of family separation and mental health.

Chief Commissioner Sonal Shah, an American Indian, said it was an issue of family separation and the dignity of H-1B visa holders.

“It’s an easy way to instill fear in families,” she said.

“One of the comments I would make here is that I think it’s broadly in the commission’s thinking about the dignity of people, and how can we make it easier and a dignified process and a dignified approach. It is one thing to have rules, it is quite another to disrespect the dignity of families and individuals,” Ms Shah said.

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