H1-B visa restrictions imposed by the Trump administration are likely to impact the Indian diaspora in the US in a big way. If the Department of Homeland Security has its way, some half-a-million to a million NRIs could be hit directly on account of the proposed regulations. Getting extension of an H-1B visa and waiting for permanent resident status in the US or the much-coveted green card, could become a thing of the past.
Expectedly, the hardest-hit will be techies from the two Telugu states of Telangana and Andhra Pradesh, since they constitute the bulk of H1-B visa and green card appplicants. The two states also add up to the highest number of students applying for an F-1 visa to the US every year. Invariably, students earn their degree there and prefer to stay in the US and hunt for a job, as opposed to returning to India.
Also Read: Indians With H1B Visa Must Return Home
Ashwin A, who has completed his Master's in Computer Sciences has been looking out for a job for the past four months. "It's hard to predict how things will pan out for me and thousands of others who find themselves in the same situation. I might have to return to India," he said, adding that many of his friends prefer to wait it out.
Analysts say that any clear law will take at least a year to take shape and get enacted. Also, for the President of the US to hold up H1-B visa extensions through an Executive Order may not be feasible.
A cloud of uncertainty hangs over the future of thousands of NRIs from the two Telugu states among others, who are waiting for the extensions of their H1-B visas. Some fear the worst and are getting ready to head home. Others say that a protracted legal struggle lies ahead. Just about everyone agrees though, that what Indians in the US seem to miss the most is a powerful lobby despite their muscle in business and the software industry.