US President-elect Joe Biden plans to increase the number of high-skilled visas, including the H-1B, and eliminate the limit on employment-based visas by country, both of which are expected to benefit tens of thousands of Indian professionals impacted by some immigration policies of the outgoing Trump administration. With Kamala Harris as his deputy, Biden is expected to reverse the move of the outgoing Trump administration to revoke work permits to the spouses of H-1B visas, which had adversely impacted a large number of Indian families in the United States. All these are part of a comprehensive immigration reform that the Biden administration plans to work on, either in one go or in separate pieces.
"High skilled temporary visas should not be used to disincentivise recruiting workers already in the US for in-demand occupations. An immigration system that crowds out high-skilled workers in favour of only entry level wages and skills threatens American innovation and competitiveness," according to a policy document issued by the Biden campaign. "Biden will work with Congress to first reform temporary visas to establish a wage-based allocation process and establish enforcement mechanisms to ensure they are aligned with the labour market and not used to undermine wages. Then, Biden will support expanding the number of high-skilled visas and eliminating the limits on employment-based visas by country, which create unacceptably long backlogs," it said.H-1B visas, which expand the available pool of high skilled workers in the US, is a non-immigrant visa that allows American companies to employ foreign workers in speciality occupations that require theoretical or technical expertise. The technology companies depend on it to hire tens of thousands of employees each year from countries like India and China.
Employment-based visas, also known as green cards, allow migrants to gain lawful permanent residence in the US in order to engage in skilled work. In June, Trump had suspended the H-1B visas along with other types of foreign work visas until the end of 2020 to protect American workers. In October, the Trump administration had announced new restrictions on the H-1B nonimmigrant visa programme, which it said is aimed at protecting American workers, restoring integrity and to better guarantee that H-1B petitions are approved only for qualified beneficiaries and petitioners. According to the policy document, Biden will also exempt from any cap recent graduates of PhD programmes in STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) fields in the US who are poised to make some of the most important contributions to the world economy.