Online Petition Filed for 12-Month Grace Period Extension on H-1B Visa


Samarpita Goswami
Updated on Feb 10, 2023 02:01 PM IST

Two organisations have requested the US government to increase the grace period of H-1 B visas for the laid-off techies. They have demanded at least 6 to 12 months of grace period to find jobs.

Online Petition Filed for 12-Month Grace Period Extension on H-1B Visa

Two Indian-American organisations have urged President Joe Biden through an online petition to increase the grace period of the H-1B visa from two months to one year. The request comes amidst huge layoffs in the tech sector that have led to the loss of employment for a large number of Indian technology professionals.

The petition request means that once an employee on an H-1B visa is fired from the job, they would have one year to search for a new job instead of the existing sixty days time period. The inability to secure a job within this time will force them to leave the United States.

H-1B visa is a non-immigrant visa through which foreign companies secure international talents in speciality occupations requiring technical and theoretical expertise. Technology companies depend on this visa type to hire thousands of employees every year from countries such as India and China.

Also Read: Over 30 Lakh Indians Went Abroad for Higher Education Between 2017 and 2022

The online petition read that Foundation for India and Indian Diaspora Studies and Global Technology Professionals Association (GITPRO) has submitted the appeal to the President of the United States, the Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS)  and the director of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) on behalf of immigrants from the world and naturalised citizens like Indian-Americans. They requested to extend the grace period from two months to at least six months or one year.

More than 2,200 people have signed this online petition. The appeal requested to sympathetically consider the impact on the families on humanitarian grounds. They believe that the extension of the H-1B visa grace period will stop the brain drain and allow the US to remain a global leader in innovation and technology.

The petition also appealed to the elected officials to support the extension and if needed t introduce a bill in the House of Representatives. estimated that 91,000 employees have been fired in January 2023 and this number will accelerate in the coming months.

This will hugely impact H-1B visa holders who will have to immediately leave the country within 10 days after the grace period is over. It will also impact the talent pool that the US has at present. Giving an example it explained that 70% of the startup founders are immigrants and around 50+ CEOs of public companies are of Indian origin. This will severally affect the US in the long term, especially the competition generated by Artificial Intelligence.

The petition mentioned that in the current economic situation, it will be difficult for hard-working and tax-paying H-1B visa holders to find another source of employment.

Also Read: 68% Jump in Indian Student Population Going Abroad in 2022

Meanwhile, a Facebook group of overseas Indians have made a petition to the Indian government to hire laid-off techies. They requested to be hired as consultants as a part of digitalisation initiatives under the various ministries of India.

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Source: The Hindu

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