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Trump administration announces exemptions for H-1B visa holders

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In a major relief for Indian professionals, the Trump administration has announced some exemptions in H-1B and L-1 travel ban for those continuing employment with the same employer.

The family members of the H1-B, L-1 and some categories of J1 visas have been also included in the exemptions by the Trump administration.

The State Department has issued a revised travel advisory on Wednesday. It said that exemptions have been given under the national interest category.

US govt considers financial hardships of companies

In its advisory, the State Department said that H-1B and L-1 visas can now be issued for employees who are “seeking to resume ongoing employment in the United States in the same position with the same employer and visa classification.”

Forcing employers to replace existing employees may cause financial hardship, it said.

Donald Trump’s June order

In June, US President Donald Trump had banned the entry of workers in the US in various key-non-immigrant visa categories.

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He had argued that they reduce job opportunities for US citizens amid the pandemic.

What is H-1B visa?

The H-1B visa is a non-immigrant visa that allows US companies to employ foreign workers in specialty occupations that require theoretical or technical expertise. Companies depend on it to hire tens of thousands of employees each year from countries like India and China.

H-1B visa holders in healthcare sector also exempted

All those on H-1B visas working in the healthcare sector, especially those related to the COVID-19 pandemic. Also, those who are involved in ongoing medical research in an area with a substantial public health benefit such as cancer or communicable disease research are also exempted from the July 22 travel ban.

Notably, in the last few weeks, several lawmakers have written to the Secretary of State to exempt the healthcare sector from the travel ban on H-1B, L1 and J1 visas.

Further new factors have been set forth to also allow H-1B visas to be issued when at least two of the five indicators are met, the State Department said.

 

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