Trump’s Immigration Policies Hit Indian Workers The Hardest

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The crackdown on H-1B visa has struck the Indians living in the country the hardest, as they are now faced with increasing cases of visa denials and demands for proof of their eligibility to work.

Update:

The Trump administration isn’t just trying to keep immigrants from entering the United States, it appears hell-bent on making life difficult for those who are already here.

President Donald Trump has often expressed concern for the American workers who he believes are getting hurt by employees coming from other countries under the protection of H-1B visas.

Hence, in the last few months, the administration revealed it was considering a policy tweak that would jeopardize the livelihoods of many Indian families living in the United States. A recent report suggests the crackdown on H-1B visa is doing exactly that – and worse.

According to a report by a non-profit think tank, National Foundation for American Policy, the clampdown on H-1B, which allows U.S. companies to employ foreign workers in specialty occupation, has struck the Indians the hardest, as they are now faced with increasing cases of visa denials and demands for proof of their eligibility to work.

An altercation within a Department of Homeland Security (DHS) memo in previous months led to companies having to prove that the employee coming from another country wouldn’t be displacing another worker for five to six years.

However, the recent federal figures suggest applicants from India are encountering more “requests for evidence” of eligibility than applicants from other nations.

In accordance to the POTUS’ “Buy American and Hire American” executive order, the rejection rate for Indian workers’ H-1B applications have increased by 42 percent since last year, the foundation reported.

The officials from U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services are also reportedly singling out Indian workers by being particularly tough on them during the application process.

For instance, as per the information based on federal figures, 72 percent of H-1B applications for Indian citizens were required to provide additional evidence that the applicant and the job were eligible for the visa.

Meanwhile, 61 percent of applications filed by other nationals had to provide any such additional information.


Donald Trump stands at a podium in front of a banner highlighting his "Buy American - Hire American" slogan.

A policy tweak being considered by President Donald Trump’s Department of Homeland Security could result in huge implications for hundreds of thousands of Indian immigrants in the United States.

A change to the H-1B visa rules is one proposal the Trump administration is considering. Such visas are used by companies to “employ graduate level workers in specialty occupations that require theoretical or technical expertise,” according to workpermit.com.

The visas can last for up to six years — an initial three years, followed by an extension of another three years — during which time visa holders can apply for permanent citizenship as well.

But an alteration is being considered internally within a DHS memo that would change which employers would fit the category of being allowed to hire workers using H-1B visas. The proposal would also require the company to prove that the employee coming from another country wouldn’t be displacing another worker for five to six years.

Proving as much could be difficult for many companies to accomplish and could result in many of them no longer hiring new workers or opting to renew H-1B visas for current employees. If implemented, as many as 500,000 to 750,000 Indians who are H-1B visa holders could be sent packing in the next few years.

It isn’t clear why the Trump administration is choosing to target these workers in particular, but it’s plain to see that the anti-immigration policies of this president are set to hurt many workers in the United States.

It’s similarly unclear whether the number of jobs these workers would leave behind could be filled up by the American non-immigrant workforce alone. Indeed, H-1B workers account for tens of billions of dollars in the U.S. economy, and these workers’ departures could significantly disrupt that.

Trump and his conservative allies once proposed a merit-based immigration system in place of what we have currently. While that system would carry with it its own set of flaws, amending the H-1B visa program in the way proposed above would run counter to the argument made by Trump that we want highly-skilled immigrants to come to America.

It doesn’t seem that the criterion matters at all — it’s more likely that Trump just wants to greatly curtail immigration for non-white, non-European applicants around the globe, for what seem to be reasons rooted in bigotry more than genuine concern for the American worker.

Banner / Thumbnail : Yuri Gripas/Reuters 

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