Applications of those not interviewed to be prioritized with phased resumption of routine visa services.
With the expiry of former President Donald Trump’s extended ban on H-1B and other work visas widely used by Indian professionals, those refused visas under the ban now get a chance to reapply
President Joe Biden let his predecessor’s June 22 Proclamation 10052, which temporarily suspended the entry of certain H-1B, H-2B, J (for certain categories within the Exchange Visitor Program), and L nonimmigrants, expire on March 31.
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In a travel advisory issued Thursday, State Department said, “Visa applicants who were previously refused visas due to the restrictions of Presidential Proclamation 10052 may reapply by submitting a new application including a new fee,” it said.
It also assured “Visa applicants who have not yet been interviewed or scheduled for an interview will have their applications prioritized and processed in accordance with existing phased resumption of visa services guidance.”
While no specific date was given, the department said “the resumption of routine visa services, prioritized after services to US citizens, is occurring on a post-by-post basis.”
RELATED: H-1B, H4 and L1 visa banned till the end of the year (June 22, 2020)
As post-specific conditions improve, our missions will begin providing additional services, culminating eventually in a complete resumption of routine visa services, it said.
Trump had initially suspended the H-1B, H-2B, J and L nonimmigrant visa programs until Dec. 31 ostensibly to protect American jobs for Americans amid a raging covid-19 pandemic.
These programs make “a significant threat to employment opportunities for Americans affected by the extraordinary economic disruptions caused by the covid-19 outbreak,” he argued.
However, on Dec. 31, just three weeks before leaving office, Trump extended the ban until March 31, saying the job losses caused by the pandemic were still presenting serious economic challenges to workers across the US.
READ: US judge rejects challenge to Trump’s H-1B ban (September 17, 2020)
On Feb. 25, Biden lifted the Trump-era ban on Green Cards, which allows immigrants to live and work permanently in America and set them on course for citizenship, saying it “did not advance the interests of the United States.”
In fact, it harmed the nation, he said, by “preventing certain family members of United States citizens and lawful permanent residents from joining their families here. It also harms industries in the United States that utilize talent from around the world.”
He was, however, silent on H-1B work visa program that allows American companies to hire highly skilled foreign workers to make up for local shortage.
More than two thirds of the 85,000 H-1B visas issued annually, including 20,000 for those with advanced masters’ degrees from US colleges, go to Indians.