Hyderabad: Students from Telangana dreaming of higher education in the United States can dream on, but those who were planning to work there have been jolted awake from their Great American Dream with the latest visa restrictions announced by the Trump administration.
The proclamation issued by US President Donald Trump on Monday does not impose restrictions on the entry of foreign nationals under the student visa, or the F1 Visa. However, the entry of foreign nationals on non-immigrant H-1B, H-4, H-2B, L work visa programmes have been suspended till December 31 and may be extended beyond that as well.
Most Indians who work in the US have non-immigrant visas like H-1B and L (for intra-company transfer) categories. The suspension is a major setback for Indians and companies that have been waiting to apply for fresh H-1B and L visas as these will not be processed now.
“Indian IT companies that have been planning to apply for fresh H-1B and L visas may get impacted as the process needs to be done by consulates in India. Those who already have H-1B and L visas might not have any problem,” US education expert G Narsi Reddy said.
The US government has also barred the entry of foreigners on J-Visa — issued for various exchange programmes.
Foreign nationals who are already in the US might not have problems, provided they are under valid visa status. Indian students who are presently pursuing academics in universities or have already applied or on Optional Practical Training or selected in the H-1B lottery too will not be impacted by the order.
“The executive order puts a temporary freeze on H-1B visas besides extending the ban on Green Card issuance till the year-end. While this might not affect the student’s ability to get a job immediately, the sentiment of a student gets adversely affected because one who goes to the US for education does look at working there for the allowed three years under OPT and after that under the H-1B visa route to continue staying in the US. This action is part of what Trump has been contemplating based on recommendations of a think tank that advocates cancellation of even OPT and Curricular Practical Training to protect American jobs for Americans,” IMFS Hyderabad director Ajaya Kumar Vemulapati said.
The Trump administration is also believed to be moving towards a merit-based immigration system. Under these reforms, the H-1B programme will prioritise workers who are offered the highest wage, ensuring that highest-skilled applicants are admitted. The US government has also decided to close loopholes that allowed employers in the US to replace locals with low-cost foreign labour.