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Asia Minute: Indian Firms Applying for Fewer Technology Visas


This week marks the beginning of a new fiscal year for some companies. It’s also the first week that the United States is accepting applications for the next round of H-1B immigrant visas. Those are working visas for high-skilled professionals, and this year the process is coming under increased scrutiny. HPR’s Bill Dorman has more in today’s Asia Minute.

News websites across India are full of stories about U.S. work visas.

The Times of India calls it the “Toughest ever H-1B visa process.” First Post in Mumbai reports the Trump Administration is requiring companies to produce additional proof that immigrant workers are needed.

Silicon Valley is often a focus for the H1-B along with Indian nationals—who traditionally comprise the largest contingent of those seeking the visas. But this year already has some differences.

The San Francisco Chronicle reports that Indian consulting firms have “dramatically reduced their filings” for H-1B visas.

The application process has just opened for the fiscal year beginning October 1st, but the Chronicle says overall applications so far are down by 16 percent compared to a year ago. The numbers are still large—around 200,000 applicants in less than two days.

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Oracle Headquarters in Silicon Valley

Congress has put a cap on the number of visas, now at 65,000 with another 20,000 available to those with a Master’s degree or higher.

Technology companies still report a shortage of qualified workers, and confusion about U.S. policy.

The Chronicle cites technology-oriented immigration services firm Envoy Global as saying 26 percent of employers it surveyed have delayed projects because of uncertainties in the U.S. immigration system.

Bill Dorman has been the news director at Hawaiʻi Public Radio since 2011.
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