Washington, DC: A top India-centric American business advocacy group has urged the incoming Biden administration to ease the restrictions on H-1B visas and provide green cards to higher education students with science and mathematics degrees to meet the increasing demand for IT professionals in the country.
On December 31, outgoing President Donald Trump extended a freeze on the most sought-after H-1B visas along with other types of foreign work visas by three months to March 31, affecting a large number of Indian IT professionals who were issued visas by the US government for the fiscal year 2021.
President-elect Joe Biden, a Democrat, has promised to lift the suspension on H-1B visas, saying Trump’s immigration policies are cruel.
“It is more of a legislative issue. We have basically recommended to the Biden administration, one, is ease up the H-1B (visa), but at the same time, every STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) PhD graduating, should be given a Green Card, so that they stay and contribute from day one as a taxpayer and also to the growth of the economy,” Mukesh Aghi, president of US-India Strategic and Partnership Forum told PTI in an interview.
“That’s the position, we still are very supportive of. And I think the sentiment seems to be the same with the Biden administration,” said Aghi, based on the interactions he has had with members of the Biden Transition Team.
Responding to a question, Aghi said the number of H-1B visas issued every year should be driven by the market demands.
At this point of time, the current figure of 65,000 H-1B visas in addition to another 20,000 to those foreign nationals with graduation from a US university is quite inadequate to meet the huge demand of IT professionals in the US, he noted.
Currently there is a shortage of 1 million IT professionals in the US. At the same time, he asserted, there is a need to ensure that the local job environment continues.