Trump H1B Visa Rule that hurt Indians scrapped by US judge

Vastavam web: A US judge on Tuesday threw out two rules proposed by the Trump administration to narrow eligibility for H-1B visa aspirants and raise their salaries in an effort to make it tougher for companies, mostly in IT, to use this short-term employment programme to hire foreigner workers instead of local Americans. US district judge Jeffrey S. White of the Northern District of California ruled that the changes were introduced in a hurry and did not abide by the usual transparency obligations: provide notice and sufficient time for public comments.

“The court cannot countenance – reluctantly or otherwise – defendants’ reliance on the Covid-19 pandemic to invoke the good-cause exception,” White wrote. “The pandemic’s impact on the economy is the only reason DHS proffered as good cause, and defendants do not dispute that the failure to provide notice and comment was prejudicial.” Many of them tend to stay on and graduate to permanent residency, or Green Cards, and eventually citizenship – such as Alphabet CEO Sundar Pichai, who came to the US to study on an F-1 visa, got hired by McKinsey on H-1B and went on to become a US citizen via the mandatory Green Card.

“This ruling has many companies across various industries breathing a huge sigh of relief today,” said Jon Baselice, director of immigration policy for the US Chamber of Commerce in a statement. “Both of these rules had the potential to be incredibly disruptive to the operations of many businesses.” In October, the administration announced two rules. One of them went into effect immediately – it raised salaries for H-1B to match those of Americans workers with similar qualifications, which was intended to deny companies from hiring foreign workers only because they were cheaper.

The Trump administration has had the H-1B programme in its crosshairs from the president’s first year in office, when he announced his “Buy American, Hire American” policies. Critics of the programme that allows two tranches of three-year work permits to principal H-1B visa holders and work authorisation for spouses, have argued that companies have used it to replace American workers with foreigners on lower salaries.