New Delhi, Feb 23: The Donald Trump administration has made H-1B visa rules tougher. The US government announced a policy on the issuance of H-1B visa, which makes the rules more stringent. The move is expected to hit the interests of Indian IT companies operating in the United States.

The new policy entails issuance of H-1B visa to an employee only for the period of his third-party employment– this time period could be less than three years. Earlier, H-1B visa applicants got their visas approved for three years at a time.

According to reports, the new directive comes into force immediately, which will impact the current cycle of H-1B visa application, beginning April 2.

The new guidance says that to get the approval for third-party employment, applicants must present evidence that they will be employed in a speciality occupation. Also, the companies must demonstrate that they have specific and non-speculative qualifying assignments in a speciality occupation for that beneficiary for the entire time requested on the petition.

Under new rules, H-1B petition could be approved for three years; however, it will not be mandatory. The authorities can limit the period to the time until employee is employed in non-speculative work. Extension of visas for employees who are placed on bench has become even tougher. On bench means that an employee is not engaged in any active project.

“If an H-1B petitioner is applying to extend H-1B employment for a beneficiary who was placed at one or more third-party worksites during the course of past employment with the same petitioner, that petitioner should also establish that the H-1B requirements have been met for the entire prior approval period,” the USCIS was quoted by PTI.

With the new guidelines, companies who are sending employees to on-site projects will have to prepare detailed paperwork, specifying the nature of work, duration and all the other relevant details.

The H-1B programme allows highly-skilled workers to work in the United States to bridge the shortfall of native workers in some areas.