Need easier US residency rules for students: Lobby group backed by Bill Gates, Zuckerberg

At present, international students can switch to a one year period of Optional Practical Training (OPT) after they graduate, but they eventually have to apply for an H-1B visa to continue working in the country. The US issues 65,000 H-1B work perm...

Agencies
Indian nationals are the biggest beneficiaries of H-1B visas, accounting for over 70% of the new visas issued. In the last five years, a large number of these have gone to American technology companies and the share of Indian IT firms receiving H-1B visas have gradually declined.
Pune: A bipartisan lobby group backed by Microsoft founder Bill Gates and Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg has sought easier residency norms for foreign students by permitting them to begin their green card application process soon after getting a job. The report, by the US-based FWD.us, suggests that this would reduce pressure on the H-1B visa programme and help bridge a talent shortage in the country.

H-1B visas are used to bring high-skilled workers into the United States.

At present, international students can switch to a one year period of Optional Practical Training (OPT) after they graduate, but they eventually have to apply for an H-1B visa to continue working in the country.


The US issues 65,000 H-1B work permits each year, with a further 20,000 visas going to applicants with an advanced US degree.

Demand for these visas outstrips supply. Last year, the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) received 201,011 applications for the 85,000 visas on offer.

Indian nationals are the biggest beneficiaries of H-1B visas, accounting for over 70% of the new visas issued. In the last five years, a large number of these have gone to American technology companies and the share of Indian IT firms receiving H-1B visas have gradually declined.
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The H-1B programme was initially designed for employers to address temporary labour shortages in speciality occupations. It has, however, now become the country’s primary highskilled immigration programme, the report pointed out.

It also suggested that the US would benefit by expanding its legal immigration avenues so that all international graduates — including advanced STEM degree holders with a job offer — have a chance to stay and contribute to the workforce and the US economy.

FWD.us is ‘focused on fixing the failed immigration and criminal justice systems’ and is backed by several people in the technology industry.
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