New Delhi, April 14: The number of H-1B visa applications has fallen for the second year in a row. For the 2018-19, the United States agency received 1.90 lakh applications while in previous season nearly two lakh applications were received. Experts say that dip in the applications is because of Donald Trump’s anti-immigration policy. This year H-1B visa application process started on April 2. Under the new policy, the United States has tightened the process with zero tolerance for even minor mistakes.

In 2016-17, nearly 2.4 lakh applications were received and it was highest. And if the figure of the current year is compared the then we can see a decline of nearly 20 per cent.

It is reported that a new policy is also being proposed by the federal government in which all the applicants will have to go through social media auditing, submit previous mobile numbers, email IDs, and details of their previous travel histories. The H-1B petition filing for the fiscal year 2019 will begin on October 1, 2018.

The H-1B programme offers temporary US visas that allow companies to hire highly skilled foreign professionals working in areas with shortages of qualified American workers. Indian IT companies, which are among the major beneficiaries of H-1B visas, has a significant number of its employees deployed at third-party worksites. A significant number of American banking, travel and commercial services depend on on-site IT workers from India to get their job done.

The US, which has taken a number of steps to tighten visa processes, accounts for over 60 percent of India’s IT export revenues.

US Announces New Rule For H-1B Visas:

The new guidance comes weeks ahead of the beginning of the H-1B visas filing season. Under the new policy, a company will have to go an extra mile to prove that its H-1B employee at a third-party worksite has specific and non-qualifying speculative assignments in a specialty occupation.

The new move announced recently through a seven-page policy empowers the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) to issue H-1B visas to an employee only for the period for which he/she has worked at a third-party worksite.

The guidance says in order for an H-1B petition involving a third-party worksite to be approved, the petitioner must show by a preponderance of the evidence that the beneficiary will be employed in a specialty occupation and the employer will maintain an employer-employee relationship with the beneficiary for the duration of the requested validity period.

(With agency inputs)