US rejects Indian concerns over Visa row

US rejects Indian concerns over Visa row
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New York: Despite India 's concerns, the Donald Trump Administration has issued a new directive making it more difficult for the renewal of non-immigrant visas such as H-1B and L1, which is  popular among Indian IT professionals, Zee News has reported.

Stating reasons behind the move, the US Citizenship and Immigration Services said that the burden of proof lies on the applicant even when an extension is sought, as it rescinded its more than 13-year-old policy.

The USCIS said in its latest memorandum that the previous memorandum of April 23, 2004 appeared to place this burden on this federal agency.

"This memorandum makes it clear that the burden of proof remains on the petitioner, even where an extension of non-immigrant status is sought," USCIS said.

Under the previous policy, if a person was once found to be eligible for a work visa initially, they would usually be considered for extension of their visa. Now during every extension, they need to prove to the federal authorities that they are still eligible for the visa they apply for.

William Stock, president of the American Immigration Lawyers Association, said that the change is being made retroactively to people already living in the country and not just to new visa applicants.

"In adjudicating petitions for immigration benefits, including non-immigrant petition extensions, adjudicators must, in all cases, thoroughly review the petition and supporting evidence to determine eligibility for the benefit sought," the USCIS said.

The new policy is in line with the Trump administration's goal to protect American workers from discrimination and replacement by foreign labour, NumberUSA website said. 

This new policy will make sure that only qualified H-1B workers will be allowed to stay in the US and will help crackdown on visa fraud and abuse, it added.

Importantly, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj had on Wednesday raised India`s concerns over H-1B visa with the United States Secretary of State, Rex Tillerson.

Speaking at a joint press conference along with Tillerson following delegation-level talks, Swaraj said, "Discussed H-1B visa issue and requested US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson not to take action that may adversely impact Indians."

"There has been no change yet. There are proposals. Efforts are on to ensure the bill doesn`t get passed in the Congress," Swaraj said.

Earlier in September, the External Affairs Minister had raised the issue of H-1B visa with Tillerson during a meeting held on the sidelines of United Nations General Assembly in New York.

The H-1B is a visa in the United States under the Immigration and Nationality Act, section 101(a)(15)(H) which allows U.S. employers to employ foreign workers in specialty occupations.

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