US Officers gain extra powers in visa issues

July 17, 2018
The US administration has decided to give arbitrary powers to officials for rejecting requests seeking fresh H-1B work visas or extensions.  This measure will impact adversely on the revival of business of Indian outsourcing companies in the market.

Tata Consultancy Services and Infosys state that the US market is going through the revival phase. Moreover, there are clients who intend to spend on large technological projects to compete with modern companies.  Indian firms earn nearly two-thirds of revenue from the market in USA.

US Officers gain extra powers in visa issues

The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services, has issued a policy update. This permits officials discretion to deny the visa application without initially issuing a request for evidence or the notice of intent to deny.  The new policies, will take effect from September 11. Additionally it gives discretionary powers to Immigration Officials for deporting an individual if they are unsatisfied regarding the documentation provided by visa-seekers.

Empowered authorities 

A few weeks ago a notification was issued which empowers the authorities to issue a notice to appear to an individual who is seeking the visa renewal. Issuing an NTA will start the removal proceedings against visa-holders. It will be hard for a H-1B visa holder to get an extension. They will need to apply for extension in advance (six months) or opt for premium processing, at a higher cost.

Shivendra Singh, Vice-President, NASSCOM says that the person can contest this NTA but cannot work in that time, creating a huge challenge.  In 2016, the US gave the approval to 3, 45,262 H-1B visa petitions. Among them 1, 14,503, (33%), were for initial employment on the work visa. 67% were for visa extensions away from the first three years. This implies that the applicants seek change of employers.


In 2017, the approved petitions for H-1B visas were 3, 64,584.  Immigration rules of USA permit holding H-1B visas for six years. Indians hold 70% of these H-1B visas. Debjani Ghosh President NASSCOM says that Fresh H-1B visa requests from IT services major firms like Infosys, TCS and Wipro are at a low and Indian companies received only 12% of the total visas issued. Additionally, American technology companies were big benefactors.

In the opinion of NASSCOM the new policy of Trump administration will have a major impact on US innovation and on the competitive ability of US companies.  All this suggests more difficulties for legal skilled talent in filling the skills gap.

The future

This development comes at a time when the US labor market is tense and around three million STEM jobs are additionally available than the number of aspiring professionals. This means fall in growth in the innovation sector and lesser ability of US companies to be competitive.

Immigration analysts have the opinion that in the previous rules visa petitioners had an additional chance in case their documents were less than the expectations of the immigration officials. Now the situation is Whenever the USCIS denies the petition, for several months, persons can be put in removal proceedings, and also get a notice to appear.

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