Boston, Massachusetts — Divyanshu Pandey, a Duke University graduate, received his H-1B sponsorship in Septemberand was working as a business operations analyst at a tech and rental industry startup in Dallas, Texas, when he was laid off a week ago due to the sudden economic slowdown prompted by the global novel coronavirus pandemic. In just the last week, 6. As the US economy slows, H-1B visa holders — three fourths of whom are Indian — are faced with the prospect of losing their jobs and health insurance amidst a raging pandemic.
As of date, the United States has the largest number of coronavirus cases in the world, with overconfirmed infections and almost 11, deaths according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University. The laid-off workers, who will no longer be able to access the health insurance provided by their employers, now have just 60 days to find a similar full-time job or leave the country. Just in the past two weeks, Nandan has received phone calls and resumes of people with H-1B visas looking for a new job.
This is up from just calls a month earlier. Indians tend to be the single largest beneficiary of the H-1B visa programme. Two thirds of all H-1B registrants this year were Indian, according to the U.
The H-1B programme is a non-immigrant work permit that allows US employers to hire foreign workers in specialist occupations. The US Tech Workers, a non-profit body representing American tech workers, has already asked President Donald Trump to suspend the H1-B visa programme for this year given the rapidly rising unemployment. Kapoor sees this new wave of H-1B layoffs as a symptom of a greater immigration problem where it would take high-skill Indian immigrants over 60 years to receive lawful permanent residence in the US—giving ample time for their employers to make cuts or for the economic situation to change.
Public policy think-tank CATO Institute estimates that aroundIndians could die of old age while waiting for their green cards. Losing a job on an H-1B visa can be devastating: visa holders are ineligible for unemployment benefits because accessing these is contingent on the employee being eligible for future employment. They must either find a similar full-time job with the same pay-scale in the next 60 days or leave the country.
H-1B workers are also ineligible for Medicaid, the federal government programme that provides health coverage to low-asset people. Pandey, the Duke graduate who was laid off, is worried that transferring his H-1B status to another company in the days grace period would prove incredibly difficult, given the hiring freezes.
It needsby April 18,to warrant a response from The White House. As of now, both Kevin Pinto and Divyanshu Pandey cannot return home as India has declared a ban on all international flights except cargo until April 14, If the travel bans are extended, Pinto and Pandey could find themselves overstaying their visas. On April 2,the Consulate General of India, New York, released a travel advisory stating that there are no evacuation flights to take Indian citizens back to India as of now.
How many people can you evacuate? There are all kinds of people who are here: there are students, there are tourists, there are elderly and sick people who came from India to spend time with their families. The author is an Indian-origin freelance journalist and researcher currently based in Boston. Get our top news delivered to your inbox every morning, Monday to Friday.
COVID-19 May Impact H-1B Workers. But How?
Under rules for the H-1B, workers laid off before their visa terms expire have 60 days to find comparable employment or they must leave the country. The petition to the White House, which had almost 50, signatures by Thursday morning, calls for extending that grace period to days because coronavirus is ravaging the economy. The Trump administration has targeted the H-1B program, dramatically increasing rates of visa denials for information-technology staffing companies and outsourcing firms.
Silicon Valley tech giants rely heavily on the visa and push for an expansion to an annual 85, cap on new H-1Bs. Critics point to reported abuses and argue that staffing firms, outsourcers and major tech companies use the visa to supplant U. Howard University professor Ron Hira, who studies the H-1B, noted that those holding it are tied closely to their employers. Those who are laid off are desperate to find another job, no matter how exploitive the wages and working conditions may be. Situations like this should give pause to those who advocate for an expanded H-1B program.
Citizenship and Immigration said it may extend the stay of visa holders depending on circumstances, and may provide special consideration or expedited processing on a case-by-case basis. By Ethan Baron ebaron bayareanewsgroup. Report an error Policies and Standards Contact Us. More in Technology. Post was not sent - check your email addresses!
Sorry, your blog cannot share posts by email.Manasi Vasavada has less than three weeks left before she loses her legal right to be in the country. She has been on an unpaid leave of absence ever since. Vasavada is in the country on an H-1B visa, a temporary visa program designed for people with specialized skills.
H-1B recipients can remain in the country legally only for 60 days without being paid. They have been watching the days tick by with growing fear. The stress has caused Buch, also 31, to start losing his hair. Neither of them is sleeping well. As many asguest workers seeking a green card in the U. Thousands more who are not seeking resident status may also be forced to return home, he said. About three-quarters of H-1B visas go to people working in the technology industry, though the exact levels vary year by year.
H-1B visas, for instance, are tied to a specific location and employer that commits to paying the recipient a minimum salary. Furloughing recipients, reducing their wages and in some cases allowing them to work from home violates visa requirements.
H-1B workers who are terminated have days to find another job, transfer to a different visa or leave the country.
H-1B workers often have families who also rely on their jobs for authorization to stay in the country, including children who may have spent their entire lives in the U. In a letter sent to the State and Homeland Security departments April 17, TechNet — a lobbying group whose members include Apple, Amazon, Facebook, Google and Microsoft — joined a coalition of trade groups calling for relief for foreign-born workers.
The letter requested a delay in work authorization expiration dates until at least Sept. The tech industry is crucial to supporting offices working remotely, helping doctors provide telehealth services and keeping students learning at home, said Alex Burgos, senior vice president of federal policy and government relations at TechNet.
The Trump administration has not responded to the letter. Citizenship and Immigration Services spokesperson declined to say whether the agency would extend visa deadlines but said it may provide special support for people affected by circumstances beyond their control when requested. The administration has taken a consistently hard-line stance on immigration and foreign-born workers. The number of non-immigrant visas issued in declined for the fourth consecutive year, to 8.
Last month, the department closed embassies and consulate operations with little guidance to those who risk falling into illegal status. In-person services at U. On April 20, President Trump tweeted that he planned a temporary ban on all immigration to protect American jobs; the following day he announced an executive order blocking most people coming from outside the U.
This raised the threat of further disruptions for companies that employ many foreign-born workers. On the day the president announced his executive order, Luis von Ahn, co-founder and chief executive of the language-learning start-up Duolingo Inc. In one case, Duolingo has been trying to hire an engineer who was recently let go from another tech company. The worker is in the U.As COVID sweeps across the nation, forcing the closures of everything from schools to restaurants, employees everywhere are being asked to work from home.
And that could potentially have a significant impact on technology workers who are on visas, according to reports. If the current bans on some travel persist, that could also have a significant impact.
It could become far more difficult for visa holders and visa applicants to enter the country to begin with—and also prevent them from leaving easily if their application for new or continuing employment is denied. How will the pandemic affect the current pool of H-1B workers? Please tell that to corona virus. See the irony; trump started his presidency with muslim travel ban now he has to ban all countries. People following rules have nothing to do with anything.
Blame the game not the players. Or keep up being smart. They should be at risk as every other hourly Worker. Let their placement I. Vendor company that make millions off them, support them.
Venkat, hope not like you or your parents who cane here first. If not you are already useless and just jealous! Ask corporates who are hiring. Ask politicians who made the laws. Ask citizens who voted for them. People following rules have nothing to do with it. We will drive out those who are abusing the H1B and H4 visas.
The consulting company I worked for terminated me, cause I spoke about the abuse and exploitation of the H1B visa, like cooked up resumes, collecting money for H1bsGCsfaking usy resme to apply on EB 1 for their GCs etc. Lots of attorneys too help such crooked companies and attack the whistle blowers. Who made the rules? Politicians for corporates. Who elected politicians? US citizens. For what?
For greed and selfish reasons. Comes down to that. Stop blaming people who followed rules just imagine generations back people who got here followed rules or for better lives? Possibly both. But How?A US lawmaker has urged President Donald Trump to suspend the foreign workers programme, including H-1B, as more than 26 million Americans have lost their job because of the coronavirus pandemic. In a letter to Trump, Congressman Paul Gosar sought additional suspension of the H-1B, H4, L1, B1, B2, Optional Practical Training Program, and further guest worker admissions in order to promote wages and opportunities for American workers during this period of rising unemployment.
The letter, dated April 23, was released to the media on Friday, a day after Trump issued an executive order that suspended issuing of new Green Cards for the next 90 days. A vaccine works by mimicking a natural infection. A vaccine not only induces immune response to protect people from any future COVID infection, but also helps quickly build herd immunity to put an end to the pandemic.
Herd immunity occurs when a sufficient percentage of a population becomes immune to a disease, making the spread of disease from person to person unlikely.
There are broadly four types of vaccine — one, a vaccine based on the whole virus this could be either inactivated, or an attenuated [weakened] virus vaccine ; two, a non-replicating viral vector vaccine that uses a benign virus as vector that carries the antigen of SARS-CoV; three, nucleic-acid vaccines that have genetic material like DNA and RNA of antigens like spike protein given to a person, helping human cells decode genetic material and produce the vaccine; and four, protein subunit vaccine wherein the recombinant proteins of SARS-COV-2 along with an adjuvant booster is given as a vaccine.
Vaccine development is a long, complex process. Unlike drugs that are given to people with a diseased, vaccines are given to healthy people and also vulnerable sections such as children, pregnant women and the elderly.
So rigorous tests are compulsory. History says that the fastest time it took to develop a vaccine is five years, but it usually takes double or sometimes triple that time. Trump's proclamation is a solid step to ensure we put American workers first, but the Secretaries of State, Homeland Security and Labour must recommend the suspension of additional guest worker visas and programmes that undercut the American workforce, he said, adding, "There has never been a better time to truly put America first.
In another letter, Congressman Josh Harder urged Congressional Select Committee on the Coronavirus Crisis to take action to protect medical professionals who hold H-1B visas, especially as these workers are essential to confront and combat the current epidemic. Harder is working on a bill to extend the day grace period for an H-1B healthcare worker who loses his or her job to last for the duration of the Coronavirus crisis, so that even if their health center is struggling, they aren't forced to abandon the community they serve in the middle of a crisis.
Requiring people -- particularly healthcare workers -- to move, and in many cases use public transportation, during this time is irresponsible.
It could put them and the wide range of other essential workers with whom they would have to interact with at an unnecessary risk, he argued. Immigrant doctors who are laid off because of budget shortfalls are required to find a new source of employment within two months or must leave the country.
Many Community Health Centers have already been forced to lay off personnel, meaning doctors on specialty visas could be forced to leave the country. If trends continue, up to 77 health centers statewide may not be able to make payroll," said Golden Valley Health Centers Manager, Government Affairs, Yamilet Valladolid.
We're already short on providers -- we need to keep these folks here," he said. Doctors who are forced to return to their country of origin can return to the United States only after starting the visa application process from the beginning. Reproduction of news articles, photos, videos or any other content in whole or in part in any form or medium without express writtern permission of moneycontrol.
View more How does a vaccine work? How many types of vaccines are there? What does it take to develop a vaccine of this kind? Coronavirus pandemic Trump urged to suspend H1B and other foreignLike millions of American workers, an Indian software engineer, a British market researcher and an Iranian architect lost their jobs amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Unlike Americans, they are not entitled to unemployment benefits, despite paying taxes, because they are on foreign work visas. And, if they fail to find similar jobs soon, they must leave the country. Rejish Ravindran analyzed data for a national footwear retailer, helping make sales projections and investment decisions.
Indian H-1B Visa Holders In US Face Layoffs As Coronavirus Topples Economy
After hiring him on an H-1B skilled-worker visa nearly two years ago, the company recently sponsored his application for legal permanent residency, a process that takes several years to complete. I thought I would be in Michigan forever.
Ravindran, 35, who lives in Grand Rapids, Mich. His wife, Amrutha, a nurse, was finishing a course and hoped to put her training to use soon. But battered by the coronavirus outbreak, the retailer furloughed Mr. Ravindran last month, which is not allowed under the terms of his visa. So two days later, the company terminated him. Ravindran, who arrived in the United States in Now, he is scrambling to find another job before the day grace period for transferring his visa to another employer expires early next month.
He is not optimistic. The lives of tens of thousands of foreign workers on skilled-worker visas, such as H-1Bs, have been upended by the economic fallout from the Covid crisis. Many have been waiting in a backlog for several years to obtain permanent legal residency through their employer, and now face the prospect of deportation.
The Trump administration is also expected within the next few weeks to halt the issuance of new work visas such as the H-1B, for high skilled foreigners, and the H-2B, for seasonal employment. The new measures under review, according to two current and two former government immigration officials, would also eliminate a program that enables foreign graduates of American universities to remain in the country and work.
The tightening work rules come as unemployment in the U. For those already rooted in the U. Dalal-Dheini said.
An agency spokesman did not address whether an extension was under consideration. Since taking office, President Trump has thrust immigration and job displacement onto center stage, introducing a series of policies to curtail both legal and illegal immigration.
More recently, his administration has cited the pandemic to justify even stricter restrictions. On April 22, Mr.Should You Worry About Trump's New H1B Visa Policy Changes?
Trump suspended the entry of new immigrants for 60 days. Less noticed in his proclamation was the order to the secretaries of labor and homeland security for a speedy review of nonimmigrant work visa programs. More than 70 percent of them are Indians, and many of them technology workers. Aboutpeople were enrolled in the academic year in the Optional Practical Training program, which allows foreign students to work after completing their studies.
The strong economy had fueled brisk demand for foreign workers in recent years, with H-1B applications by private companies far outstripping the annual supply of 85, a situation that prompted the government to resort to a lottery to award them. But proponents of limiting immigration say that if there was ever a time to prioritize American workers, it is now.
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