Nasscom is ‘cautiously optimistic’ on exemptions in US visa ban


In a move that could help Indian IT professionals and those working in the healthcare sector, the Trump Administration has announced certain exemptions in H-1B and L-1 travel ban for those continuing employment with the same employer.

On 12th August 2020, the U.S. Department of State (DoS) issued guidance on “National Interest Exemptions” to the Presidential Proclamations suspending entry of certain immigrant and nonimmigrant (H-1B, H-2B, and L-1) visa holders into the United States.

President Donald Trump, in his June proclamation, banned the entry into the US of workers in several key non-immigrant visa categories, including the H-1B, arguing that they eat into American jobs during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The State Department, which issued the revised travel advisory, on Wednesday said that the exemptions have been given under the ‘national interest’ category.

The National Interest Exceptions include potential exemptions for technology workers on H-1B/ L-1 visas providing critical infrastructure services. It also includes exceptions for H-1B/ L-1 visa-holders who would be returning to the U.S. in the same position with the same employer and visa classification.

NASSCOM said it has consistently raised the importance of visa holders working in the tech sector, particularly those who would be delivering services designated essential as per the DHS CISA ‘Guidance on the Essential Critical Infrastructure Workforce’. It raised the importance of particularly those who would be returning to the US in the same position with the same employer and visa classification.

NASSCOM welcomes this move and believes it will help U.S. businesses access talent critical to the economic recovery phase in the post-COVID world.

However, keeping the fickle-minded decisions of the Trump’s administration, NASSCOM said that it is “cautiously optimistic” about the exemptions offered – as caveats in the DoS guidance about seniority, unique and significant contributions and/or other factors that go along with the exceptions still allow a lot of leeway in the interpretation of the new guidance. The impact can only be gauged in course of time,” it added.


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