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Thousands of Indian techies living in the United States are arriving home as the United States authorities have refused visa extensions and while some are still making every effort over filing a new H-1B visa.
An engineer, who returned to India nine months ago, tells Economic Times that "shifting with a kid who was born in the U.S. was challenging".
Though the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) this week said it would resume premium processing of the H-1B visa, Indian IT firms are still struggling with the extension of the visas.
According to industry experts, tightening of the visa process is primarily due to the change in regime that has focused on securing more jobs for Americans.
Generally, the visa is issued for three years and can further be extended for another three years. Following the expiry of the second term of the H-1B visa, one can seek for RFEs, a request issued by the USCIS to petitioners for residency, citizenship, family visas, and employment visas.
Apart from the increase in outright denials, there has also been a sharp rise in the number of Requests For Evidence (RFE).
The RFEs are usually issued at the time they seek the first extension, or when applying for Green cards. The wait for Green cards for Indians can be as long as 10 years.
Many techies told Economic Times that since the chances of REF approval was very low, they had to pack their bags and return to India.
In 2018 five Indian Information Technology services companies together accounted for two-thirds, or 8,742, of the 13,177 H-1B extension petitions rejected from 30 technology companies, think tank Centre for Immigration Studies said, citing USCIS data
According to USCIS, Indian nationals accounted for about 2.2 million of the 3.4 million H-1B visa petitions filed in the decade to 2017.
The time taken to process H-1B application increased from 3.2 months in the fiscal year 2018 to 5.2 months in the fiscal year 2019
In a new rule, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services said that it would start accepting new H1-B visa petitions for the fiscal year 2020 starting April 1.
By Sowmya Sangam