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Dollar Dreams- Indians Chase of the American H1B Visa- Changes in US Department of Homeland Immigration Policy

In its latest press release, the US Department of Homeland and Security (DHS) with its consulate offices operating in India, has scrapped in-person interviews for H1B applicants for the entire year 2022. This decision came amidst growing concerns of surging COVID-19 cases and hence the US has announced this waive-off for a range of visa applicants including students as well. This new policy may seem to be pro for many aspiring H1B applicants but the dark side of this story is a grave concern to our nation at large.

India is the biggest exporter of IT professionals to the US. More than 50% of these people who move to the US annually belong to Southern India, Andhra Pradesh, and the rest from different states of India. While the US nationals complain about Indian H1B visa holders stealing their Jobs, the number of Indians chasing the H1B visa is increasing day by day.

Every year, the US Department of Homeland and Security approves more than 60,000 applicants for student Visa. Out of these, a vast majority of students go for STEM courses and are eligible for H1B Visa. Post completion of their studies, they start applying for Jobs and this takes around 4 to 6 months and later receive the H1B status. Apart from this, many apply for H1B through sponsorship of companies in India with headquarters in the US. These H1B applicants are selected through a lottery-based system and those who do not make it through the cut-off, either register for another course/degree and they retry for an H1B Visa or return to India. More than 70% of H1B visa approvals go to Indians every year.

By the end of this century, we will lose 10 lakh scientists to the US. Every year 50% of IIT and IIM graduates leave to the US chasing the H1B Visa. As per the American Association of Physicians of Indian Origin, according to 2020, there are more than 9.5 lakhs active Indian physicians in the US and the number is growing at a steady pace. Only 27% of the total student population going to the US are settling into well-paid jobs and what about the rest? Every engineering student going to the US cannot become the next CEO in Silicon Valley. They are getting into menial jobs and surviving multiple part-time jobs. Why can’t we have the same dignity of labor in our country? Is this chase only for dollars?

A survey conducted through Telegram groups for students planning their studies in the US revealed some interesting facts. More than 90% of the students voted that earning money, securing H1B Visa is their top priority for studying abroad. What is so great about H1B Visa?  A one-time consular appointment for an F1 student Visa costs about 15,000 rupees plus a 35,000 non-refundable SEVIS fee. This swarm of students takes multiple attempts to clear F1 Visa student Visa, i.e 15000 times the number of attempts. It is estimated that roughly around 2 lakh students apply for the US Student Visa every year. It costs around 30,000 rupees for the H1B Visa application. Imagine the money the US is earning through Visa applicants. 

Is the US government making the Immigration policy easy for Indians? No, despite this, why are our youngsters still moving towards the west? Is life so comfortable after securing H1B Visa? Are Indians not facing racial discrimination over there? Is this chase all about earning dollars, living in a peaceful environment and clean climate, can’t we earn money here, secure jobs here, can’t we make our country clean here?

There are many pressing problems in India. Should we bother about those who abandon our country and its welfare and leave to the US?  Nehru and Ambedkar did have a choice to stay back in the US, but they chose to come back to India and serve the nation. It is high time for young Indians to introspect and give a second thought before applying for H1B Visa.

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Tags: America Brain Drain US Immigration IT Professionals H1B Visa


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