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Why in news?

  • US lawmakers on 22nd May 2020, reintroduced a fine-tuned legislation aimed at reforming the skilled guest worker programme to prevent flight of American jobs and outsourcing, while giving priority to absorbing US-educated foreign technology professionals.
  • Administration estimates around 65% of H-1B visas go to Indians.


  • The bill would prioritise American workers and restore fairness in visa programmes for skilled foreign workers who are educated in the U.S.
  • The law would closing loopholes that have been exploited by body-shopping companies specialising in outsourcing work.
  • This law ensures visa applicants who honed their skills at American colleges and universities are a priority over the importation of more foreign workers.

H-1B Visa

  • The H-1B is a United States visa under the Immigration and Nationality Act, and it is one of the most popular visas for foreigners visiting the US for business or trade purpose.
  • It is a non-immigrant visa that allows U.S. companies to employ foreign workers in speciality occupations that require theoretical or technical expertise.
  • Speciality occupations include specialized fields like IT, finance, accounting, architecture, engineering, mathematics, science, medicine, etc. which usually require a bachelor’s degree or higher.
  • US employers wishing to bring in staff for long-term assignment prefer H1B visa because its application is quicker than applying for a US Green Card.

What is a Green Card?

  • A green card is a colloquial name for the identification card issued by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services to permanent residents, who are legally allowed to live and work in the U.S. indefinitely. Green cards got their nickname because they were green in color from 1946 to 1964.
  • In 2010 they became green again, but the nickname persisted during the intervening decades of blue, pink and yellow “green cards.”
  • The green card is a permanent resident ID issued to immigrants in the U.S.
  • The green card lottery gives away up to 55,000 annual permanent visas to other countries.
  • Permanent residents can be fined or jailed for not having their green card on their person.
  • Cards must be renewed every 10 years.

Indian Diaspora in the U.S.

  • Immigrants from India first arrived in the United States in small numbers during the early 19th century, primarily as low-skilled farm laborers.
  • In recent decades the population has grown substantially, with 2.4 million Indian immigrants residing in the United States as of 2015.
  • This makes the foreign born from India the second-largest immigrant group after Mexicans, accounting for almost 6 percent of the 43.3 million foreign-born population.

-Source: Times of India

February 2024