The H-1B Visa and Its Limitations
The H-1B visa is a coveted document that permits the beneficiary to live and work in the United States. They can bring their spouse and unmarried dependents with them, buy and rent property, and engage in most behaviors allowed to American citizens.
It’s a system that can help both the foreign worker and the US employer. Because of the high demand for specialty workers in skilled labor areas, positions can stay vacant for years due to a shortage of qualified employees. When employers are given permission to reach overseas or across borders and hire foreign nonimmigrants or immigrants, the US economy benefits from the increase in income and taxes, and the individual workers receive advantages, too.
The technology sector, in particular, relies on H-1B visas for skilled workers. Many of these beneficiaries are from India and China.
However, the visa is only valid for three years, after which time the holder must have the stamp renewed for another three-year extension. As late as 2004, those holding an H-1B visa could receive their renewal stamps within the US. But since 2004, new immigration regulations required foreign workers to leave the country to obtain this necessary step in the renewal process. For Indians, this often means returning to their home country, an expensive and cumbersome task.
Help is on the Way
Recent cooperation between the Indian prime minister and the State Department seeks to put an end to this unnecessary job. Per recent announcements, the State Department plans to start a pilot program that allows the US to process domestic renewals of H-1B visas. This is scheduled to take effect later in 2023.
As of right now, the program will focus on Indian nationals to help alleviate some of the backlog of H-1B visa petitioners. Sending H-1B holders back to India for processing of a basic H-1B renewal means adding thousands of extra appointments to the US Consulate or Embassy each year. These appointments would be better served for those in the process of obtaining initial visas or handling essential in-person interviews.
Should the pilot program go well, the government plans to extend the pool to include more than Indian H-1B and L visa beneficiaries. Other categories will be added as it becomes efficient to do so.
Whether you already have an H-1B visa and want to follow all the terms so that you can keep it, or you’re interested in learning about how to apply for one, having skilled legal help is essential. Our team of experienced lawyers at Visa2US has helped countless individuals and employers successfully obtain H-1B visas. Contact us 24/7 to see how we can add your name to our list of success stories!