Washington, Oct 25: Getting extension of non-immigrant visas such as H-1B and L1, popular among Indian IT professionals, has been made more difficult by the US government, led by Donald Trump. The US government said that the burden of proof lies on the applicant even when an extension is sought. This comes at a time when External Affairs Minister (EAM) Sushma Swaraj on told US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson that the US must not take any decision that adversely impacts Indian people.

The US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) rescinded it’s more than 13-year-old policy and said that the burden of proof in establishing eligibility is, at all times, on the petitioner. The previous memorandum of April 23, 2004, appeared to place this burden on this federal agency, said the USCIS. “This memorandum makes it clear that the burden of proof remains on the petitioner, even where an extension of non-immigrant status is sought,” USCIS said in its latest memorandum issued on October 23.

“In adjudicating petitions for immigration benefits, including non-immigrant petition extensions, adjudicators must, in all cases, thoroughly review the petition and supporting evidence to determine eligibility for the benefit sought. The burden of proof in establishing eligibility is, at all times, on the petitioner,” the USCIS said. The visa extension request of a person, who was once found to be eligible for a work visa initially, was usually being considered under the previous policy. Now, for each extension, they need to prove to the federal authorities that they are still eligible for the visa they apply for.

A report by NumbersUSA website said the new policy is in line with the Trump administration’s goal to protect American workers from discrimination and replacement by foreign labour. It will ensure that only qualified H-1B workers will be allowed to stay in the US and will help crack down on visa fraud and abuse, the report added. US President Donald Trump has been batting for more stringent rules for issuing H-1B visas– a move that will directly impact Indian IT industry that sends a large number of professionals to the US for onsite projects.