The H-1B visa, popular among Indians immigrating to the United States, may have reached the end of the line.
For example, the Republican administration of Donald Trump proposed in October 2020 to replace the existing computerized H-1B lottery with a wage-based system, with visas being granted to higher-salaried applicants. Tech companies protested on the grounds that they would have difficulty hiring skilled workers.
But restrictions on the H-1B don’t come from Republicans alone, and immigration industry professionals have seen harbingers of the H-1B’s decline for several decades, partly due to how the visa’s purpose has been undermined over time.
Its intent was to supply Indian and other engineers to American companies, but students have used the H-1B to stay in the United States after college graduation, squeezing out skilled workers. Although the Democratic candidate, Joe Biden, favors immigration reform aimed at allowing high-skilled Indians into the country, if he wins the US election, he may still allow the replacement of the lottery with a wage-based system.
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