No H-1B Visas To Programmers And Coders

The United States government’s intent to bring about changes to the existing H-1B visa regime became clearer through a policy memorandum it released over the weekend, which says computer programmers will not be eligible for H-1B visas by default.

The document essentially says that a previous guiding policy document for H-1B visa petitions, from the year 2000, will no longer hold.

It says that according to the 2000 memo that “described all programmers as sharing a fundamental job duty, i.e., writing and testing computer code”, and that it was improper to conclude based on this information that USCIS would “generally consider the position of the programmer to qualify as a specialty occupation”.

“Nasscom is assessing the memo but it seems that it is primarily going to impact entry level H-1B seekers. Our companies typically do not hire entry level engineers for H-1B visas, and this should not have a substantial impact on business,” said Shivendra Singh, Head — Global Trade Development at IT industry body National Association of Software and Services Companies (Nasscom).

This means, going forward, some programmer jobs may not qualify for “specialty occupation”, as such, those programmer jobs do not qualify for H-1B “visa, said Rajiv Dabhadkar, founder of the National Organisation for Software and Technology Professionals, which works for Indian workers overseas.

“The situation has been the same for a long time with these positions except that now it is in the form of a memo. Immigration attorneys have been receiving requests for evidence on this issue lately because a ‘speciality occupation’ requires a US bachelor’s degree or equivalent to qualify, this memo is targeted to deny applications of guest workers with a low degree,” he added.

Source: ET

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