H-1B applicants have already been through a lot. There is more scrutiny in applications than ever, and it seems to be getting tougher for Indians to enter the US on a work visa.
Ever since Donald Trump became President we all knew our American Dream was doomed. Coming to the US is getting harder, but for Indians already settled in the US the effects of recent policy shifts from the Trump administration are particularly damaging.
How difficult is it to get an H-1B visa?
The increased scrutiny and rejection is a result of President Trump’s “Buy American and Hire American” order signed in April 2017. The H-1B visa, especially popular in Silicon Valley, lets skilled foreign workers live and work in the U.S. for up to six-years.
Between July and September 2017, the US declined H-1B visas to 23.6% Indians as compared to 16.6% in the three preceding months. Of the 57,526 H-1B visa petitions received from Indians in the fourth quarter, 14,932 were denied.
In the same period, there has been a sharp increase in the number of requests for evidence (RFE). These are the notices that US authorities issue to visa applications seeking more information on their applications as well as other personal details.
Between October and December 2016, during the period which President Barack Obama was in office, only 18.2% of Indian applicants were asked to submit supplementary material while under Trump administration up to 72% of Indians who applied for H-1B visas received RFE’s between July and September 2017.
We Indians always find a way
There is no stopping for “extraordinary individuals” from getting into the country even with increasing restrictions for Indians.
Indians applying for the O-1 visa are getting fewer rejections than before according to National Foundation of American policy.
It was found that between March and September 2017, the rejection rate was hovering around only 5%, whereas it was 14.7% between October and December 2016, when Barack Obama was in office.
Decoding the O-1 visa
O-1 visa comes in four categories namely O-1A, O-1B, O-2 and 0. Without any doubt, the popularity of O-1 visa has been increasing among Indian applicants in the last few years.
According to the US Department of Homeland Security, “O-1 non-immigrant visa is for the individual who possesses extraordinary ability in the sciences, arts, education, business, or athletics, or who has a demonstrated record of extraordinary achievement in the motion picture or television industry and has risen to the top in his/her field”
From singers like Rihanna and Justin Bieber to actress Lupita Nyong’O many celebrated immigrants in the US live and work on the O-1 visa.
While most O-1 recipients belong to the stated creative fields, there are cases of the visa being allotted to those making a mark in the field of technology, banking, and other industries too.
However, getting an O-1 is still not easy
Wait, you must be wondering. How is it that I can show my “extraordinary ability and achievement”? Here is what the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services website has to say:
1. Awards like Nobel or Pulitzer can surely prove to the US government that you’re extraordinary.
2. The person concerned should be a member of an association in the field of classification which requires outstanding achievements, as judged by recognized national or international experts in the same field.
3. Published material in professional or trade publications, newspapers or other any major media in the field for which achievement is sought.
4. Original scientific and business-related contributions of major significance in the field.
5. Authorship of scholarly articles in professional journals or other major media in the field for which classification is sought.
6. A high salary or other remuneration for services as evidenced by contracts or any reliable evidence.
7. Participation on a panel, or individually, as a judge of the work of others in the same or in a field of specialisation.
8. Employment in an essential capacity or position for any organizations and establishments that have a distinguished reputation in the US.
Getting an O-1 visa will still be a challenging task with the number of Indians visiting the US on the visa increasing over the years.
But stress not, your American Dream can still be a reality, with Minister of External Affairs Sushma Swaraj planning to raise the visa issue at a 2+2 dialogue with the US.
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