Indian-American group waits for Biden administration to reverse H-1B visa rules


During his campaigning, the US President-elect Joe Biden had repeatedly mentioned that he would reverse all rules that the Trump administration had imposed regarding H1-B visa rules.

Now holding him on his words, a top India-centric American business advocacy group, US-India Strategic and Partnership Forum, has urged the incoming Biden administration to ease the restrictions on H-1B visas.

In addition, the group is requesting the administration to provide green cards to higher education students with science and mathematics degrees to meet the increasing demand for IT professionals in the country.

The ban on visas was originally set to expire on December 31. But when the date arrived, the outgoing President Donald Trump had extended the ban till March 31.

This obliviously affected a large number of Indian IT professionals who were issued visas by the US government for the fiscal year 2021.

Biden had termed Trump’s immigration policies are cruel and promised to lift the suspension on H-1B visas, once elected.

Mukesh Aghi, president of US-India Strategic and Partnership Forum, told media reports, “It is more of a legislative issue. We have basically recommended to the Biden administration, one, is ease up the H-1B (visa), but at the same time, every STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) Ph.D. graduating, should be given a Green Card, so that they stay and contribute from day one as a taxpayer and also to the growth of the economy.”

“That’s the position, we still are very supportive of. And I think the sentiment seems to be the same with the Biden administration,” said Aghi.

Aghi also said that the number of H-1B visas issued every year should be driven by market demands.

At this point in time, the current figure of 65,000 H-1B visas in addition to another 20,000 to those foreign nationals with graduation from a US university is quite inadequate to meet the huge demand of IT professionals in the US, he noted.

Currently, there is a shortage of 1 million IT professionals in the US. At the same time, he asserted, there is a need to ensure that the local job environment continues.

Aghi said the COVID-19 crisis and the current change in administration in the US provide India an opportunity to look at the Biden administration in a positive manner.

“It also sends a message to the Biden Administration that with the current scenario, which is a geopolitical one, India can be a reliable partner”, Aghi said.