By Sanwar Ali
Now that you will have to provide your Social Media account names for US visas this will surely lead to self censorship – Not many H4 visa spouses can obtain employment authorisation anyway. New situation will make things worse – Uncertainty as to whether there will be a per Country quota introduced for H1B visas – F1 visa students unable to take up intern positions due to OPT delays – E2 and E1 visas now available for New Zealand nationals.
Social Media Account names now required for almost all US visa applicants
Previously only required for a relatively small number of US visa applicants it is now a requirement that almost everyone applying for an US visa will need to provide details of Social Media accounts such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Linkedin, etc. Unfortunately, this is likely to mean an increase in refusal rates for US visas with some US visa officers deciding that some applicants should not be allowed in due to remarks made in their Social Media account.
H4 Visa spouses of H1B visa holders restrictions on work
Trump seems to have targeted Indians and Indian owned companies in particular. Most H4 visa holders and H1B visa holders are Indians. For the limited number of H4 visa holders (spouses of H1B visa holders) who are waiting for a Green Card, it seems that it will become much more difficult to work in the US. There was a concession that meant that such spouses could obtain an employment authorisation document EAD in the US. Trump is taking steps to stop this.
Trump threatened a quota on Indians applying for H1B visas.
Trump frequently makes threats as a negotiating tactic. Perhaps this will never happen. Trump is unhappy with Countries that have “data localization” laws. This would force companies to hold personal data on their citizens in their Country. Unhappy with Indians laws on this it was suggested that the US would limit Indians to fifteen percent of the quota for H1B visas.
US international students on F1 visas unable to obtain Optional Practical Training OPT
Many students on F1 visas are unable to start work on intern positions because obtaining an OPT visa can take many months. Being able to work in the US even on a temporary basis is something that is very popular with F1 visa students. OPT may be the only option. H1B visas are very difficult to get.
E2 Visa and E1 Visa now available for New Zealand Nationals
Since 10 June 2019 New Zealand nationals have been able to apply under E2 and E1 US visa schemes. This is after the KIWI Act had been signed almost a year ago by Trump. This is welcome news. US visa options to work in the US are somewhat limited. H1B visa quota has been heavily oversubscribed for some years.
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