Presidential committee unanimously approves recommendation at White House meeting; President Biden’s endorsement expected
Indians living in the United States will soon be able to have their H-1B visa stamped there. To make the process easier and “dignified,” the President’s Advisory Commission on Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders unanimously approved a recommendation for said decision at the White House on Wednesday.
If President Joe Biden accepts the recommendation, it will be a great relief for thousands of foreign professionals, especially Indians. Currently, they must apply for a visa stamp from a U.S. consulate or embassy overseas to have their H-1B status activated or reactivated.
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What is the H-1B visa?
The H-1B visa is for non-immigrants. It allows American companies to employ foreign employees in specialized trades requiring theoretical or technical expertise. In particular, tech companies depend on it to hire thousands of employees each year in countries like India and China.
However, many of these employees face uncertainty due to lengthy visa application appointments, whether for a new visa or renewal of the existing visa. In countries like India, the current waiting period is over a year.
This situation prompted American Indian Ajay Jain Bhutoria, a member of the commission, to come up with a recommendation. Bhutoria is a successful entrepreneur based in Silicon Valley. He has supported President Biden since day one of the latter’s campaign.
“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 members of the commission. the meeting.
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Appealing to the better nature of the members, he told them how people lose their jobs or are forced to stay away from loved ones in their home countries for fear of not being able to renew their visas in time.
“There (have been) situations where a lot of people, whose parents have been in (the) intensive care or in critical condition, or when a relative has died, but they have not been able to return to their country of origin” fearing a delay in the visa appointment there, he said during the meeting, the White House was broadcast live.
“In India, currently, the waiting period is 844 days to get a visa appointment, which is two years or more. There is a similar situation in Pakistan, Bangladesh and many other countries. China is doing a lot better right now, so they can’t get appointments, can’t do stamping and get stuck,” Bhaturia explained.
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“What happens then, they potentially lose their jobs. The wife and children are here, separated and without any means to support themselves. Or, often (the) spouses do not drive. A lot of these…situations create a disruption in their lives, when they have had the full opportunity to work here legally,” he explained.
“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 (the) re-stamping (done) in their home country,” Bhutoria said.
Therefore, the recommendation is that the USCIS (US Citizenship and Immigration Commission) update its policy, as it has already done many years ago. “It was done before. He was arrested,” Bhutoria added.
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A “question of family separation and dignity”
Chief Commissioner Sonal Shah, also Native American, said it was a matter 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 this fits in broadly with the commission’s thinking about (the) dignity of people, and how (to) make it an easier and dignified process…. It’s one thing to have rules; it is quite another to disrespect the dignity of families and individuals,” Shah added.
(With contributions from the agency)