US visa struggles push Indians beyond American dream

Even before the pandemic, visa restrictions in the United States have often chained Indian workers to jobs they don’t want and to remote towns where life doesn’t match the American dream that led them to come to the US in the first place.

Green card queues are now decades long. Life in the US has become increasingly precarious for Indian workers, to the point where some are returning to India rather than continuing life in constant fear of losing their jobs and with them the US visa.

The 2020 shutdown of the H-1B visa program (the most popular among Indian workers) has exacerbated these stresses. Between May 2019 and May 2020, the issuance of H-1B visas dropped by 99%. Some experts see a “reverse brain drain” in which skilled workers are moving back to India to take advantage of the incredible acceleration in the Indian tech industry. Even though the United States has become colder to immigrants in recent years, other countries such as Canada, the UK, Ireland, and Germany are more likely to welcome skilled Indian workers.

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