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CHENNAI: With Joe Biden steering a blue wave of change in the US, the domino effect in the Indian IT sector was clearly visible as the hiring of skilled workers in the West has increased. IT consultants in town are on a hiring frenzy after recent changes the Trump administration made to H1-B visa requirements were curbed.
According to PR Vignesh Raja, an IT consultant for Fusion Global Solutions Pvt Ltd. based in Chennai, there have been tremendous demands in the past month. He adds that he is getting “positive spirits” from simplifying the visa process. “Many of those whose H1-B visas have expired and could not be renewed will now choose to do so. You will now see an increase in visa applications, ”claims Raja.
The Biden government has also campaigned for racial equality. The latest development ends years of efforts by the Trump administration to repeal an Obama-era regulation that allowed a certain subset of spouses of H1-B visa holders to work in the United States. U.S. government data shows that Indians filed 74 percent of all H1-B petitions in fiscal 2019. Raja is convinced that the upper limit for these visas will now be increased.
Manoj, who works for Baltimore’s health and strategic welfare company, says the move would prove beneficial for many like him. He had returned to Madurai for his wedding and is now trying to return to the state with his wife. “I now have an F-1 visa and would apply for an H1-B in March. It all depends on the lottery system and the visa cap, ”he says.
Many Indians living in the US on an H1-B visa have given some thought before booking tickets to India. The problem is, their visas aren’t stamped when they return. “If the guidelines change, reassurance will be given to those with H1-B visas that their visas will be re-stamped as soon as they try to return to the US,” says one techie.
Aditya Narayan Mishra, CEO of CIEL HR Services, a recruiting firm, told Express that Biden’s move to repeal many of the Trump administration’s policies will result in the free movement of professionals between the two countries. He says this will be a boon to the outsourcing industry as well, which is good for both countries, adding that activities that have been frozen in the field will resume.
Mishra also says the US has been hit by “reverse brain drain” as more Chinese and Indian nationals have returned home due to parentheses introduced by the Trump administration. As restrictions ease, skilled labor could return, which could fuel the US economy. While it appears that the visa restriction has been eased, the other problem the tech geeks are facing is not getting work permits, but tickets for flights to the United States. “There are only a few places available for those who want to return to the US,” says an IT expert. She says her friend, who was looking for a ticket, is now struggling to fly back as there are few airlines flying to the US.
Cori Bickel, spokesman for the US Consulate General Chennai, told Express that the process of obtaining work permits, also known as work permits, is administered in the US by the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). US consulates play no role in this process. However, the US Consulate General in Chennai issues H-4 visas that allow family members of H-1B visa holders to enter the US. In the United States, certain H-4 visa holders may file Form I-765 (Work Permit Application) to apply for a Work Permit and Work Permit Document (EAD).
When asked if the consulate had resumed stamping H1-B visa applications, Bickel said embassies and consulates at that point were able to provide visa services based on local conditions and the health and safety of the country To resume employees and customers. “The US Consulate General in Chennai offers limited visa services, including student and work visas, including H1-Bs. In view of the health and safety conditions, we will continue to expand visa services if necessary, ”said Bickel.
He added that the Consulate General in Chennai currently has visa appointments in both student and petition categories, as well as their family members, including H-1B, H-4 and F-2 in February and March. “We are unable to comment on certain visa applications,” he replied when asked how many such visas are still outstanding.