The United States has tweaked a few rules governing its H1B visa program, preferring high-skilled technology professionals with a master’s degree from an American university over entry-level workers from a third world country.
The changes, likely to be introduced later this year, are estimated to increase the number of master’s degree holders receiving the work permit by more than 5,000 annually. The US issues 85,000 H1B visas in a year by a lottery.
The Department of Homeland Security is also changing the way tech companies choose candidates for the visa. The chances of winning the work permit will be greater if they put up a candidate with a master’s degree.
In addition, the department has changed the way companies enter the applicants into the lottery. They will no longer need to submit separate petitions for each applicant.
The changes, according to reports, allows companies to write briefly about the candidates they want to hire.
The H1B visa program has become a political hot potato in the United States, with Indian IT outsourcing service providers accused of flooding the visa lottery system with more applications.
The latest move will no doubt tighten the hands of Indian IT services providers, who garnered a larger share of the work permits until two years ago. From 2017 onward, large US tech companies are winning a lion share of the visas.
The news comes almost a month after President Donald Trump hinted at changing the visa program, promising ‘a potential path to citizenship’ for the visa holders.