Trump US L1 visa rejection rates reach 70% with Indians hit

Indian politician Randeep Singh Surjewala, a member of the National Congress party, has slammed the Modi government for failing the country’s IT professionals working in the US as it emerged that US L1 visa rejection rates have soared to 70%, with Indians worst affected.

Sanwar Ali workpermit.com comments:

It has been the case for some years that the L1 visa rejection rate has been higher for Indian nationals.   This is somewhat unfair.  It seems that Indians are being targeted because of concerns about large Indian owned IT companies in the US.  Indians have limited visa options as they cannot come under the E2 Treaty Investor Visa Scheme or E1 Treaty Trader Visa Scheme.  There are also not enough H1B visas to meet demand.

Mr Surjewala, AICC in charge of communications, accused the Modi administration of “floundering on its job policy and putting India’s growth story on the global stage as a tech power, under a cloud.”

Surjewala’s comments come amid a continual clampdown on H-4, H1B and L1 visas, orchestrated by US President Donald Trump that is leaving many Indian IT professionals in America, jobless. He said: The crackdown on H-4, H1B and L1 visas by the US is forcing many IT professionals to return to India.”

H1B visa expiration and deportation

Indian professionals receive 60% of all H1B visas granted by the US, but stricter rules have seen approximately 750,000 employees facing deportation following the expiration of their H1B visa.

Under new H1B visa rules, the top six Indian IT companies with offices in the US - TCS, Infosys, HCL, L&T, Tech Mahidra, and Mindtree – have seen the number of Indian IT professionals they employ drop from 68% to 40%, Mr Surjewala claims.

Meanwhile on April 4, 2018, United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) removed H-4 work permits for dependent spouses of H1B immigrants.

Mr Surjewala said: “The debilitating effect of this decision can be gauged by the fact that between October 1, 2016 to September 30, 2017 a total of 170,000 H-4 visas were given to Indian spouses. This will lead to a forcible return of software professionals for want of survival because of being reduced to a single income in the US.”

L1 visa ‘under a cloud’

Equally, Surjewala said that the situation surrounding L1 visas for specialized knowledge professionals was dire, and ‘under a cloud’ with rejection rates reaching 70%. The high refusal rate has been attributed to harsher adjudication by US immigration officers. Surjewala claims that L1 visa refusal rates for Indian nationals are the highest.

Surjewala is demanding Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), to give an explanation as to why they are bargaining with India’s interests and compromising India’s position as a global technology giant.

He said: “Mr Modi should safeguard the interests of Indians in the US and thereby protect their jobs.”

Since US President, Donald Trump, has moved to make it more difficult to access L1 visas – mainly by increasing costs, the overall number issued has slumped significantly since 2011.

In January 2017, data released by the USCIS highlighted that the number of L1 visas granted had fallen from its peak in 2011 as a result of rising rejection rates, a move towards onsite hiring, soaring L1 visa fees and a fewer number of renewals.

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