The Ivy League colleges like Harvard, Stanford, MIT are not just the prominent universities where some of the top industrialists have studied and honed their skills like Azim Premji, Raghuraman Rajan etc. While these people are the ones whom you encounter regularly in headlines there are lakhs of lesser known Indian students who are now seeking to find a berth in 4000 odd colleges and universities across the US each year on f1 visa opt. The figures stand high and there has been a jump in the current years until last year.
This year there has been no such sudden spikes thanks to the strong anti-immigration rhetoric by the US president recently and the international admission season has kick started in most of the campuses although the numbers won’t be changing much and are not available until fall when the students will join for their classes. However, there are reports that 40% of the colleges have seen a decline in the application forms. It was also found out that students and the families have now become cautious because the country has become less welcoming following the election of the new President and his policies.
However, the US government agencies are still upbeat and many of the US institutions are still able to attract so many Indian Students because the quality of education is still more superior and is offering some of the best fresher jobs for opt students. Since last year there are several campuses who are running the “Everyone is welcome here” campaign as an outreach to global students to not just make them feel home but to also assure the students that there are many more communities there who are dedicated to them.
Even the top brass of the universities is coming up with public statements to reassure them that international students are always welcome. Some of the main reasons for facing this kind of uncertainty is that us h1b visawhich is given to foreign students to work in the US after they complete their education is on the radar and the uncertainty it faces now in the US. Many top universities are also tapping into their alumni networks to guide students overseas.
There are wide claims that nothing has changed as far as the visas for international students are concerned as the students who are in STEM field have an optional practical training (OPT) period after they complete their course to get a job up to 3 years where they can stay back and get professional experience. Also, one very important point to be noted here is the impact of the demonetization in India which resulted in many students finding difficulty in arranging for the finances and this could, in turn, mean fewer applications and higher visa refusals.
The key trigger for overseas education for most of the students to earn an American degree at a low cost and recover the investment over time. Indian students mainly concentrate on engineering and computer related programs in colleges that offer lower tuition and cost of living options. The three year OPT and subsequent H1-B are now critical and are being carefully considered now as recovering the investment in education has become tough and given to the recent discrimination and racism in certain regions even some of the top institutions are now finding it tough to attract foreign students.
More on Next Blog
In my previous blog I have mentioned how, It is not going to be an easy task for companies to overcome the difficulties that are being faced now owing to the new reforms to the US H1-B visa that has become the law. Many suggestions have said to have come up by the founders and co-founders that Indian companies must resort to taking up local hiring. We will continue from where we left as many companies are still in a limbo and devising strategies to come out the mess.
A report by Nasscom, for example, suggested that the industry must pay equal wages to both the US Nationals and Indians who are on H-1B visa. For example, in the year 2016 when a citizen was paid $95,000 a year, an H-1B visa holder was paid $87,000 with an additional $20,000 on h1b visa sponsorship and ticket costs for the individual and the entire family. US companies are keen on hiring more people from India because of talent shortage in the US and there are many job openings with a requirement of STEM skills which are not getting filled locally. IT is only due to talent shortage that is making the US companies hire from other places.
One of the major reasons of firms of Indian origin not hiring locally in the US is also cultural. Indians are willing to work for a late hour and they can be contacts over the phone and the internet always. But in the US the work culture is such that they do not answer any calls or emails regarding work in weekends or after their work hours. The IT service firms in India are quite known for working beyond the 9-hour shift and so the locals may find it difficult to adjust to working culture in the US.
The time zones that both works are different and difficult for both sides thus making it difficult for people contact their US counterparts during the Indian time zone. It might be early or before dawn or little later in the US when they are trying to make phone contacts and a time when no white American can take a call but an Indian would which renders coordination to be very difficult.
The h1b visa database is already full of nationals of their own country and these are issues that are not exclusive to Indian IT firms in the US but also to other global IT firms which prefer to bring their own set of nationals to work in the US. India is said to churn out enormous numbers of engineering graduates unlike the US where the college education costs are too much on the expensive side and however the fact is that most of the Indian graduates are not employable at all and need training which is what most of the firms like Wipro, TCS, Infosys in India do.
Indian companies have the expertise and ability to take the raw material and make something useful out of it. They have been doing this in India for long by training Indian graduates and they can do it on American soil too which is a no big challenge though costs may be incurred. The US administration is suggesting ways to benefit both the US as well as the Indian IT firms and it cannot dictate to the Indian firm through a law to hire people locally without mentioning the numbers to get hired. They must instead focus by giving incentives for real estate and help in setting up offices in the US with policies that will help both the US and India. Get latest job alerts on https://www.simplyopt.com/.
Since the costs will impact the bottom lines of Indian IT firms with a slew of issues ranging from shaving off the margins from a range of 5 to 10 percent of the cost and complexity increasing. Renegotiation of existing contracts will happen and reevaluation of business models will happen. Thus, keeping all these in mind US and India must tread carefully and wisely in future without any mishaps.
It is not going to be easy for Indian IT service companies to overcome the vast difficulties that it is facing right now as they are more likely to start implementing the proposed US bill on US H-1B visa restrictions from becoming the law. Suggestions are now open by many founders and co-founders that Indian companies can start the hiring locally as a solution is not going to be a workable one lately.
The US president wants to keep up with this poll promised of providing more jobs to native Americans and many bills were proposed initially before the visa restrictions become law. The bill was more likely to increase the costs of the Indian IT firms who are driving 60% of the revenue from the US and to also send much Indian staff on this visa to the US on h1b visa sponsorship jobs. These Indian software firms need to stop sending people on these visas and focus on more local hiring.
These firms must recruit Americans for American jobs, Canadians in Canada, British in Great Britain etc. This is the only way where they can truly become a multinational company and to do that these companies must stop using the visa to send a large contingent to work in the US and deliver the services. The Indian Mindset is already bent on being the soft option and multi-cultural that it is going to be a very hard option and not be so easy at all. Most of the experts do not endorse the views above and it is not right to say that the use of H1-B visas is a soft option and is ironical that the industry biggies themselves think so.
Indian companies like TCS, Wipro, Infosys are accounting for more than 85,000 new workers as per reports and the US currently is watching the numbers this year. These three firms have long since used the skilled worker visas to fly computer engineers to the US which is their largest overseas market to service the clients on a temporary basis. When the new president wanted to increase the minimum salaries and Indian companies were not able to do that as the margins could not be met and the bill too was shot down too. There are many firms who do a salary fitment and try to match it with peer groups in the US and the local US employees are paid the same as their foreign counterparts in the US in terms of experience and grade.
This is one policy that must be maintained and followed which the Indian IT firms who are h1b sponsoring companies too did not do leading to disparity and backlash equally. Local hiring can be considered an excellent choice provided the firm finds the right skill sets. The dependency for the US organizations on the H1-B is also very high and raising the salaries for them is an issue and which is not an easy solution to that can be effected by hiring the locals. You cannot just tell that the Indian firms alone are to blame but the US companies to are said to be benefiting with their foreign employees working in US soil. We will continue to elaborate more on this in the next blog
When Mr. Rahul Singh was offered a full scholarship to study at Stanford as a graduate in Computer Engineering he saw that it was a chance of a lifetime and having grown up in Delhi he has a good offer at a Software Firm after his undergraduate degree. He has opted to come to the USA and got his degree and now he is working as a Data Scientist in a top firm in Silicon Valley which converted his opt to h1b.
But for the past 7 years, he is eagerly waiting for his green card that will give him all the legal right as a resident or a citizen of US. He is on H-1B visa and on his h1b sponsorship job which permits him to live and work in the US but does not allow him to switch over to companies or to start his own firm. He is now regretting why he jumped on that scholarship and according to estimates there are 1.5 million H-1B visa holders who are in the US waiting for a green card and many whom are from India and waiting for more than a decade.
Most of them have welcomed the US executive orders last month who is overseeing the program to review it which says that the visa must be given to only to the highest-paying, highest-skilled jobs that through a random lottery. Green cards can be a path to naturalization and many hope to become US citizens soon.
Though the US H-1B visa and green card system are technically separate there are many immigrants from India who are not aware of this as they tend to think that both are intimately connected. The number of GC that go to people from each country is capped at few percent on the total, there is a huge backlog of Indian-born people in the line. This is leaving many immigrants stuck with H-1B visas while they wait, making them work like indentured servants on US soil.
There are many who have US born children and they will be forced to go back to their native countries if they lose their jobs and do not find another quickly. These children have never been to their parent’s native countries and they will not have much of a choice when it comes to going back and they cannot live in constant fear and the visa holder is usually stuck to one specific employer. Most of the H-1B visa holders know that employers seek them out because they know that they will end up waiting for green cards and will be afraid to leave their jobs.
Since the H-1B is tied to only one specific employer they must be applying for specific jobs that need sponsorship from the employer on their visa application. To switch from one employer to the other the visa holder must be securing the paperwork from current employer to another employer who is willing to take over their visa. Most of their executives worry that allocating the H-1B and green cards based on salary will hurt the startups who cannot afford to give high wages. It is good to focus on the most talented and most entrepreneurial people for immigration programs in the future and you can take the help of https://www.simplyopt.com/.
Most of the international students who are in the US are very much concerned about what is on hold and what to do next. Most of them live in the constant fear that the new administration may cancel the Optional Practical TrainingExtension or OPT Extension for STEM students. However, a post was shared by the US DHS saying that STEM will not be discontinued but will be granted only when the DSO of the student recommends for an extension.
OPT in USAstarts only during their graduation or after graduation from an employer and the student can undergo OPT after their bachelor's degree, master's degree and doctorate degree. If the new administration plans to cancel the extension then hundreds and thousands of techies who are studying in the US no longer makes sense. There is no mention of any OPT extension getting canceled now though the 7-country ban exists plus new rules to the existing H-1B’s.
However, the students who are currently studying are anticipating the changes as the international students earning STEM degrees is soaring whereas the number of actual US citizens is falling. However, the president is also telling in interviews that the students must not be kicked out as the country needs smart people like them and he has been quite vocal on Buy American and Hire American. He does not have any issues with illegal immigrants but the same rules do not apply to those who have come illegally. International students also can stay in the US for a grace period of 60 days after their studies are over on F-1 in the case of non-enrollment of additional classes and must get OPT jobs in USAto stay.
If there is indeed revoking on OPT or OPT extension then it will benefit other immigrant-friendly nations such as Australia, Canada, and NZ among others. They will start attracting students. Most of them must look forward to securing a job beforehand they travel to study in the US or consider going to immigrant friendly countries as they offer such extensions for a period of anywhere between 2 to 4 years thus giving ample time for the students to look for jobs and secure work visas.
India is the second leading country of origin to send international students to the US and one in every 6 students is an Indian. If new rules are being formed then the heterogeneity will go missing and the US universities may not like this. Other universities may become more lucrative in other countries. There is already a significant decrease in the candidates going to the US this year as more number of inquiries are coming from Canada etc. There are many who are looking for securing jobs beforehand or looking for opportunities in other countries where the students can also get back to further studies. There are plenty of undergraduates too who are in the US right now who want to stay back to pursue Post Graduation and many post graduates who are planning to get their Ph.D. The future seems bleak and uncertain for students right now and It is your turn to tread carefully and be prepared to face any kind of circumstance. Get OPT job alerts from https://www.simplyopt.com/.
The US H-1B visaoff late is being given to Indians and people of Asian descent. People are attracted to the multiple offerings in the US like good education, work etc. which is top class and equally distinctive. There is an annual quota that is to be filled by nonimmigrants for jobs and the US has received the maximum number of applications this year amidst uncertainty. Immigration experts say that the Indians are a majority of the applicants for EB5 as well as L1 visas.
US missions from around the world have begun accepting H-1B applications for the fiscal year 2018 from April 3 onwards and according to USCIS, it has received 199,000 H-1petitions this year. On April 11 last year, USCIS used a computer-generated lottery to select the petitions to meet the category cap of 65,000 general and 20,000 caps for advanced US degrees. The USCIS has issued a notice saying that computer programmers who are normally eligible to come under H-1B visa norms must prove them to be a specialty occupation and merely by obtaining a computer degree is not enough. The h1b sponsoring companies need to now think of other ways to bring foreign immigrants into its fold.
Also, the salaries of the visa holders were also said to be increased as a new bill was introduced to increase the salary to whopping amounts. However, the bill was not passed as the clients may have to pay more for the work that is being performed. Indian companies now should look out for local American talent or opt for alternatives like L1B or L1A visas to continue sending workers to the US. L1 will allow the companies to help in the temporary transfer of the workers in managerial or executive positions with specialized knowledge category to the US where they can continue their employment with the same office at the same employer.
L1 visa will also help the US company better because the companies prefer to deal with local companies and someone with the ground in the US beforehand than to represent a foreign company with no direct link in the US. Having a US presence will give the clients confidence because the US courts have a better jurisdiction over the disputes. They can also register their intellectual property in the US and the companies can establish their presence in the US. H-1B and L2 visas are for employees but if you have enough money then you have another option such as EB5. You can get all latest openings on www.simplyopt.com.
For acquiring an EB5 visa, an applicant has to invest at least $500,000 on a Targeted employment area or put in at least $1,000,000 in a none Targeted employment area wherein the investment must also result in 10 jobs. A number of Indian applicants have risen sharply for EB5 visas and there are multiple reasons like the US is a better country in terms of more opportunities to expand businesses, a better country to retire in etc. Parental gifting of funds is allowed for an EB5 application which may be one option for Indian students who are looking forward to work after graduation in the US. EB5 and the L1A visa will eventually lead to permanent residency and US citizenship which will also put an end to the dependence for a job or an employer or on visa sponsorship jobs for staying in the US.
Since a few days, we have been hearing so many recent changes and updates about Reforming the Immigration System and stopping illegal immigrants. Recently an executive order also has been signed by the president for US H-1B visa with new rules that can change in the future and there are reports that changing more visas also can happen in the future like the H4 EAD, OPT extension etc. There are more executive orders that are on the line to reform the immigration system.
OPT (optional practical training) is the way that most students use to work in the US after they graduate and during the previous president’s rule OPT extension was given by extending the time period. Now one of the plans of the new president is to reverse Obama’s extension of the duration which is doled out to science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) students. One of the main thing in the executive order is to revoke the 24 Months STEM OPT Extension, H-4 EAD.
Now if the new administration is hell bent on revoking OPT and OPT Extension then it could impact the number of international students who are planning to study abroad in the US. The extension allowed international students with STEM degrees to stay in the US for a period of three years after graduating from college.
Foreign students also tend to use the OPT status to either look for jobs or apply for further education or simply stay there till the OPT term expires. It could also lead from opt to h1b or h1b transfer but the reforms for H-1B is more than OPT and the new president also has a stronger stance on H-1B visa abuse.
Now this move could impact the number of Indian students studying in the US. Indian students may now be forced to secure jobs much before they travel to study in the US or also look for other immigration friendly countries like Canada etc. But according to recent reports Australia, New Zealand have also raised a strong move over work visas given to foreign workers and the US has impacted other countries to be tight on their immigration reforms.
Most of the universities have also spoken against president's controversial executive order on immigration and have also been vocal about welcoming foreign students even before he took over. Top US colleges like Yale, Northwestern and University of Virginia have launched a campaign to reassure overseas students that their campuses would always be welcoming to aspiring foreign scholars even weeks after Trump won the election. But that is not enough to diminish student concerns.
There will be an enormous impact as OPT is being used in multiple ways. Students who do not have a job offer once they graduate depend on OPT to sustain in the US. Some may have a job offer but wait for the time till a company sponsors his/her H1B visa. Some may also want to do research and explore other options as well. For now, the best thing that you can do is when you graduate have a job in hand and make sure that the company quickly converts your visa from student to work visa status.
The revocation of extension may not impact those going to ivy league because getting a job from these campuses is relatively higher but the impact will be felt on those going to tier 2 and 3 where placements are lower. Take a safe stand and decide well before heading to the US. You can now take the help of https://www.simplyopt.com/ for latest OPT and H-1B job openings which can help you to get a job right after you graduate.