The company may be focusing on hiring local US employees.
In a decision that could hurt many Indian H-1B visa holders seeking a green card, Cognizant Technology Solutions has announced that it has suspended the filing of green card applications under the EB2 and EB3 category until further notice.
According to Cognizant, the company will continue the processing of green card applications that were already filed under EB2 and EB1 categories, but will not file any new ones, which points towards the company focusing more on US hiring.
The company’s decision follows a policy by the Trump administration to encourage hiring of more American workers. Last month, President Trump signed an executive order titled “Buy American and Hire American” asking different agencies to come up with recommendations to overhaul the existing immigration system in order to protect American jobs and to curb the misuse of the visa programs, especially the H-1B.
Based in Teaneck, NJ, the company employs more than 261,000 people worldwide. It is one of the top recipients of H-1B visas.
Earlier this month, Indian IT major Infosys announced its plan to hire more than 10,000 Americans over the next two years so that its US operations doesn’t get affected if the new administration puts in place restrictions on the H-1B program, which is the most popular nonimmigrant temporary work visa program.
Infosys also announced that it will open four new Technology and Innovation Hubs across the US to train newly hired employees in cutting-edge technology areas, including artificial intelligence, machine learning, user experience, emerging digital technologies, cloud, and big data.
In an email sent to some employees, Cognizant said, “As part of our strategic business goals, we continue to assess the benefits and efficiency of our internal programs which are evolving to align with our long-term objectives. As part of this, we will no longer be filing green card PERM (EB2 and EB3 applications) until further notice.”
EB1 category of visas is used by individuals with exceptional talents, such as outstanding academics, researchers and senior executives with multinational firms.
In order to be eligible for permanent residency through EB1, the USCIS mandates the individual to have at least 3 years’ experience in teaching or research in that academic area or he/she must have been “employed outside the United States in the 3 years preceding the petition for at least 1 year by a firm or corporation and you must be seeking to enter the United States to continue service to that firm or organization.”
Employment-based, second preference visa (EB2 Visa) is offered to individuals holding an advanced degree or its equivalent, or a foreign national who has exceptional ability. Exceptional ability “means a degree of expertise significantly above that ordinarily encountered in the sciences, arts, or business.”
To be eligible for an EB3 visa the individual must be a skilled workers with a minimum of 2 years training or work experience, not of a temporary or seasonal nature or he/she should be a professional whose job requires at least a U.S. baccalaureate degree or a foreign equivalent and are a member of the professions. The other workers category under EB3 are for individuals performing unskilled labor requiring less than 2 years training or experience, not of a temporary or seasonal nature.
Cognizant has been using EB2 and EB3 visas for applying for the permanent residency of its employees. The move to suspend any more filing of new application in the categories of visa comes at a time when the US tech giant announced that it is reducing its dependency on H-1B visas. Looking at the number of visa applications filed by Cognizant, one can find that the number has been reduced to half.