AGENCIES, Washington: As the coronavirus pandemic continues to hammer the US, apart from shutdowns and huge economic losses resulting in massive layoffs and redundancies, its the immigrant crowd that now faces a crisis over their visa status.
As per stipulated rules in the country, H-1B holders can only remain in the country legally for 60 days without being paid and the shutdown has impacted many Indian H-1B visa holders. It is estimated that if the current situation doesn’t improve, then 200,000 Indian workers in the US on H-1B visas be asked to leave the country as early as June. And that’s what is causing sleepless nights for many.
There may soon a double whammy for them. On one hand they can’t stay and secondly they cannot return to India as the government has closed its borders indefinitely. Those who went as students and took hefty loans for studies in US universities, will find it nearly impossible to pay back on the salaries they would earn in India due to unfavourable currency rates.
Of the 250,000 guest workers seeking a green card in the US, about 200,000 of them on H-1B visas. Thousands more who are not seeking resident status may also be forced to return home. About three-quarters of H-1B visas go to people working in the technology industry, though the exact levels vary year by year.