The US has ruled that being a simple computer programmer would no longer meet the criteria as an expert profession, which is a necessity for the issue of a H¬1B work visa, in a move that could have far -reaching insinuation for thousands of Indians applying for such a visa.
The decision turned around the United States’ more than decades and half old rules that were issued in the perspective of addressing the latest millennium needs. The US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has ruled that a basic level computer programmer position would not commonly be eligible as a position in a “specialty occupation”. The explanation on what composes a “specialty occupation” overriding and rescinding its previous guidelines of December 22, 2000 was issued by the USCIS through a new policy memo on March 31.
The move could have far reaching allegations on thousands of Indians applying for H¬1B work visas for the next economic beginning October 1, 2017, the process for which started yesterday. Issued just one business day before the USCIS started accepting H¬1B visa requests, the policy memorandum titled ‘Rescission of the December 22, 2000 Guidance memo on H1B computer related positions,’ has sent astonished waves across the companies and immigration attorneys, as their application was based on the 2000 guidelines on what composes a area of expertise occupation. “The truth that a person may be employed as a computer programmer and may use information technology skills and knowledge to help an organization/Company attain its goals in the course of his or her job is not enough to create the position as a specialty occupation,” the USCIS Policy Memorandum ruled.
“Thus, a petitioner may not depend only on the (current version of the) Handbook (that describes specialty occupation) to meet its lumber when seeking to support a beneficiary for a computer programmer position. Instead, a petitioner must present other confirmation to establish that the fastidious position is one in a specialty occupation,” the memorandum said.
According to the USCIS, the December 22, 2000 memorandum entitled ‘Guidance memo on H¬1B computer related positions’ is not an exact enunciation of current agency policy. “USCIS is rescinding it to prevent inconsistencies in H¬1B and H¬1B1 adjudications between the three service centers that currently adjudicate H¬1B petitions,” it said. The USCIS argued that the 2000 memorandum was based on 1998¬, 1999 and 2000, 20¬01 editions of the Occupational Outlook Handbook, which is now out of date. The 2000 memorandum, it said, did not perfectly represent necessary information from the Handbook that documented that some computer programmers meet the criteria for these jobs with only “2¬year degrees.”
While the memorandum did talk about beneficiaries with “2¬year” degrees, it incorrectly described them as “strictly involving the entering or review of code for an employer whose business is not computer related.” The Handbook did not sustain such a statement, it said. As such, “it is improper to conclude based on this information that the USCIS would “generally consider the position of programmer to qualify as a specialty occupation,” the memorandum told USCIS people concerned in adjudication of H¬1B applications and petitions.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics in its Occupational Outlook Handbook identifies 10 unusual types of computer and information technology (IT) occupations.
Topping the list is computer and information research scientists with a doctoral or professional degree, who usually invent and design new advancements to computing technology and find innovative uses for accessible technology. They study and work out of multipart problems in computing for business, medicine, science, and other fields.
The H1B visa is a non¬immigrant visa that allows American firms to employ foreign workers in professions that have need of theoretical or technical expertise. The technology companies depend on it to employ tens of thousands of employees each year. In 2015 their median salary was USD 110,000. It is followed by Computer network architects (whose median salary in 2015 was USD 100,000), which was highest and web developers (USD 65,000) being lowest.