US President Biden’s Presidential Commission for Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders has unanimously approved a change in the H-1B visa process. The commission unanimously accepted the provision to stamp such visas in the US as opposed to in the applicant’s home country.
The H-1B visa is provided to non-immigrant working professionals who have been temporarily hired by employers in the US for technical and theoretical work. The approval of this provision by the Biden administration is sure to be a huge relief for Indian professionals wishing to work in the US. A substantial number of Indian professionals move to the US for work with a 2013 report showing that the number of Indian engineers and scientists in the US had neared a million. This number could have only increased exponentially since.
The President’s advisory committee for Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians, and Pacific Islanders unanimously approved the provision during its meeting at the white house on Wednesday. The suggestion was moved to motion by Ajay Jain Bhutoria, an Indian American member of the advisory commission.
The approval of this provision is sure to provide a sigh of relief for Indian working professionals as the current process entails having to schedule an appointment at a US Consulate or Embassy abroad, the wait time for which is over a year in India.
Bhutoria addressed the members of the committee stating, “As part of our immigration process, H-1B visa holders are given the opportunity to work in the United States live here and contribute to the growth of our economy, innovation and economic development.”
“There are situations where a lot of people, whose parents have been in ICU or in critical condition or their death of a parent, but they could not travel back to the home country with the fear that if there is often delay in the visa appointments in the home countries”, he added, speaking on the current plight of H-1B visa holders in the US.
Chief commissioner of the AAPI commission, Sonal Shah, stated that this is an issue of family separation and mental health saying, “That’s an easy way to put fear into families… One of the comments I would make here is that I think this is overall in the commission’s thinking about dignity for people, and how do we make it easier and a dignified process and a dignified approach. It’s one thing to have rules, it’s another to not hold the dignity of families and individuals.” Shah is also of Indian descent.
This news comes after the US Administration introduced new legislation to the Immigration Act which provides a smoother track for H-1B visa holders and long-term visa holders to obtain a green card.