COVID-19: India Wants US to Extend H1B Visa Validity

Indian authorities have signified their intention to pressure the US into extending the validity period of H1B visas held by skilled Indian nationals in the United States.

According to sources close to the Indian Ministry of External Affairs, this issue was the main subject that was discussed when the Indian Foreign secretary, Harsh Vardhan Shringla, had an April 8th telephone conversation with the US Deputy Secretary of state, Stephen E. Biegun.

Recall that virtually most countries on the planet, are currently on various types and forms of lockdowns and suspension on economic, business activities as the world strives to contain the novel coronavirus –also known as COVID-19.

Unfortunately, the lockdown in the US has led to a significant rise in the unemployment rate – as, at the last count, more than 16 million US workers have filed unemployment claims. The consequence is that many H1b visa holder –who are mostly Indian- have become apprehensive about the possibility of lay-offs which hangs in the air

US rules specify that once a holder of an H1B visa has been relieved of his job by his employer/sponsor, he has up until 60days to find a new job. Else, the H1B visa may be revoked.

India is hoping that with an extension of visa’s 60 days’ post-termination job search window to say 180 days, affected Indians would be able to carry out extensive job search more and assuredly get jobs –so that they may be able to retain their H1b visa.

India nationals and H1B Visa

According to data released by the United States Citizens and Immigration Services (USCIS), Indian migrants are by far the largest foreign citizens in the H1B citizenship poll. Recently, a spokesperson at USCIS declared that H1B application from Indians in the Financial Year 2021 alone, amounts to close to 68% of total H1B applications received.

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  • April 19th, 2020
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