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H1B extensions on the chopping block?

This is big.

Top immigration lawyers are taking note of a story that’s begun doing the rounds on the last day of 2017 - that the Department of Homeland Security is chewing hard on the concept of ending H1B extensions.

H1B visas are issued for an initial period of three years with the option to extend for another three years basis confirmed employment availability. Although the yearly influx of H1B workers is now 85,000, the option of extensions takes the total number staying on in the US to a much bigger number.

Trump's America raises the drawbridge/ AP

Trump's America raises the drawbridge/ AP

United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) can approve more than 330,000 H-1B petitions each year and, as of April 2017, reported more than 680,000 approved and valid H-1B petitions.

Over the last 10 years - from 2007 to 2017, Indians have taken the lion’s share of H1B visa approvals every single year followed by China in second place and Canada third. Indians have got a total of 2,237,478 H1B visas from 2007-2017 and 302,293 in 2017 alone.

First reported December 31 on McClatchy DC Bureau, the latest news break on the possibility of ending H1B extensions goes into substantial detailing on the essential scaffolding for the new assault: “The idea is to create a sort of ‘self- deportation’ of hundreds of thousands of Indian tech workers in the United States to open up those jobs for Americans,” said a U.S. source briefed by Homeland Security officials.”

“This proposal is based on pure vindictiveness by Trump administration to curb legal immigration of legitimate skilled workers from India and China who have been waiting years in green card backlogs. It does not protect American workers as the labor market was already tested,” writes ace immigration attorney Cyrus Mehta on Twitter in reaction to the latest buzz.

We will be updating this story with more details but for now, what’s clear as day is this: Between the three or four powerful arms of government that regulate and monitor H1B visas - Department of Homeland Security, Department of State, Department of Justice and the USCIS, the first full-fledged investigation into the tangled web of paperwork for the H1B visa is barelling through at full capacity and in the process, the Trump administration has ended up finding data points that work both to rile the US President's core voter base and as proof of concept for the public intellectual who may question the basis of the resentment agenda that put the most disruptive US President in history into the White House in 2016.

The noose around the H1B visa will tighten some more in 2018.

*All data in this story from DHS/ USCIS.

Twitter | @byniknat

Updated Date: Dec 31, 2017 20:22 PM

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