Getting H-1B visa gets harder now

US norms hit entry-level Indian techies

Getting H-1B visa gets harder now

 The US has ruled that being a simple computer programmer would no longer qualify as a specialist profession, which is a must for the issue of an H-1B work visa. The move could have far-reaching implications for thousands of Indians.

The ruling reverses the more than a decade-and-a-half-old US guidelines that were issued in the context of addressing the new millennium needs.

The US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has ruled that an entry-level computer programmer position would not generally qualify as a position in a `specialty occupation’. The clarification on what constitutes a `specialty occupation’, superseding its previous guidelines of December 22, 2000, was issued by the USCIS through a new policy memorandum on March 31.

The move could have far reaching implications on thousands of Indians applying for H-1B work visas for the next fiscal beginning October 1, 2017, the process for which started on Monday. Issued just one business day before the USCIS started accepting H-1B visa petitions, the policy memorandum, titled ‘Rescission of the December 22, 2000 guidance memo on H1B computer related positions’, has sent shock waves across companies and immigration attorneys.

“The fact that a person may be employed as a computer programmer and may use information technology skills and knowledge to help an enterprise achieve its goals in the course of his or her job is not sufficient to establish the position as a specialty occupation,” the USCIS policy memorandum ruled.

“Thus, a petitioner may not rely solely on the (current version of the) Handbook (that describes specialty occupation) to meet its burden when seeking to sponsor a beneficiary for a computer programmer position. Instead, a petitioner must provide other evidence to establish that the particular position is one in a specialty occupation,” the memorandum said.

UK visas to be more expensive

Tougher and more expensive visa rules announced by the UK home office last year are set to take effect from Thursday, affecting Indians and others from outside the EU.

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