An Indian passport sits on a desk along with a set of visa application forms at a BLS International Services Ltd. visa processing center in New Delhi, India (Photographer: Anindito Mukherjee/Bloomberg)  

U.S. IT Firms Claim ‘Dramatic Increase’ In Number Of H-1B Visas Being Held Up

Claiming that there has been a "dramatic increase" in the number of H-1B visas being held up, a coalition of American employers representing top information technology companies like Google, Facebook Inc. and Microsoft Corp has alleged that the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services is acting outside of its own regulations.

The H-1B visa is a non-immigrant visa that allows U.S. companies to employ foreign workers in specialty occupations that require theoretical or technical expertise. Technology companies depend on it to hire tens of thousands of employees each year from countries like India and China.

“We have observed three changes in H-1B adjudication practices under the current administration that seem to permeate most of the increased H-1B adjudication inconsistencies experienced by employers,” Compete America said in a letter to the Secretary of Homeland Security Kirstjen Nielsen and USCIS Director Francis Cissna.

Expressing concerns over legal issues regarding the recent changes in adjudication standards for H-1B non-immigrant visa petitions at USCIS, Compete America said either the statutory or regulatory text cannot anticipate the agency's current approach to H-1B adjudications.

This leaves employers with a disruptive lack of clarity about the agency’s practices, procedures, and policies.

This lack of certainty and consistency wreaks havoc among the nation's employers which are hiring high-skilled Americans and foreign-born professionals, it said in the letter dated Nov. 01.

Also read: U.S. Makes It Tougher For Companies To Employ Fresh Foreign Workers Under H-1B

According to Compete America, USCIS has denied H-1B petitions exclusively because an entry-level wage is applicable for the specific position, even though the occupation itself is a specialty occupation.

Also read: TCS Among Top 10 Firms To Get Foreign Labour Certification For H-1B Visas