21 May 2009
H-1B American visa program not meeting planning levels
The H-1B American visa program is under scrutiny this year as many groups lobby for and against immigration planning levels and reform under Obama's presidency.
According to the Informationweek, the government started accepting American visa applications for the H-1B visa program in April and have not yet had enough to hit planning levels for the 2010 financial year, which begins 1 October. Meanwhile, in previous years, it took mere days to reach the quota.
Only 45,500 petitions (or applications from businesses to sponsor an American visa applicant for the H-1B program) have been received by the government, while the cap sits at 65,000.
Som Mittal, president of Nasscom, said that the figures reflect the nature of American visa program and companies responding to supply and demand in the slowing economy.
H-1B reforms are waiting to be discussed in the Congress with other major immigration reforms, including banning companies from making American employees redundant 180 days before hiring an American visa holder through the H-1B visa program, which Mittal calls a "killer provision" because it restricts flexibility to changing conditions in the economy.
The American Visa Bureau is an independent consulting company specialising in American visa and immigration services.