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After Muslim Immigration Ban, is Donald Trump Going After H1-B Visas?

New Delhi: After banning immigrants from seven Muslim-majority countries, President Donald Trump has reportedly drafted an executive order to revamp the H1-B visa, which allows thousands of Indians to work at tech giants like Google and Mircosoft in the US.

If implemented, the order could force Indian companies like Infosys and Wipro, and affect the hiring process of US companies like Microsoft, Amazon and Apple, a report in the Livemint said. Indian IT companies generate around 55-60 per cent of the revenue from the US.

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“Our country’s immigration policies should be designed and implemented to serve, first and foremost, the US national interest,” Livemint quoted from a Bloomberg review of the draft proposal. “Visa programs for foreign workers … should be administered in a manner that protects the civil rights of American workers and current lawful residents, and that prioritizes the protection of American workers — our forgotten working people — and the jobs they hold.”

Silicon Valley’s top executives, including India-born CEOs Google’s Sundar Pichai and Microsoft’s Satya Nadella, have already condemned Donald Trump’s immigration ban on people from Syria, Iran, Sudan, Libya, Somalia, Yemen and Iraq.

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H-1B visas are intended for foreign nationals in “specialty” occupations that generally require higher education, which according to US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) includes, but is not limited to, scientists, engineers or computer programmers. The government awards 65,000 every year.

Companies say they use them to recruit top talent. But a majority of the visas are awarded to outsourcing firms, sparking criticism by skeptics that say those firms use the visas to fill lower-level information technology jobs. Critics also say the lottery system benefits outsourcing firms that flood the system with mass applications.

The H-1B visa program tends to be more critical to outsourcing firms than US tech firms. For instance, more than 60 percent of the US employees of Infosys are H-1B holders, and the company in its annual report has cited an increase in visa costs as among factors that could hurt its profitability.

(With agency inputs)

Source: News18