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US Approves H-1B Domestic Visa Renewal Pilot, Offering Relief to Indian Tech Professionals

US Approves Pilot Program for H-1B Visa Renewal Within the Country, Aiding Indian Tech Professionals

A pilot initiative allowing qualified H-1B visa holders to renew their visas domestically has gained approval from a key regulatory agency within the White House, providing relief to numerous Indian technology workers currently residing in the United States.

The H-1B visa, a non-immigrant visa, permits US employers to engage foreign nationals for specialized roles requiring advanced technical or theoretical training. IT companies, particularly those in the United States, annually recruit tens of thousands of workers from countries like China and India under this program.

The pilot program initially limited to 20,000 participants, has been given the green light following a review by the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA) on December 15. Under this initiative, eligible H-1B visa holders won’t be required to travel abroad for the renewal of their work visas.

The OIRA, integral to the Office of Management and Budget within the Executive Office of the President, played a pivotal role in assessing and approving the pilot program. The launch of this initiative was announced during the state visit of Prime Minister Narendra Modi in June, with the White House unveiling plans to streamline the visa renewal process.

Julie Stufft, Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Visa Services, emphasized the high demand for US visas in India and the need to address extended wait times for appointments. The domestic visa renewal program aims to expedite the process, particularly for Indian nationals living in the US.

Over three months beginning in December, the State Department is set to issue 20,000 visas to foreign nationals already within the country. The majority of these visas will be allocated to Indian nationals residing in the US, with plans for expansion in subsequent phases.

The initiative is specifically designed for work visas, providing a more efficient and localized approach to visa renewal. The State Department’s focus on domestic renewal aims to alleviate the need for visa holders to travel to their home countries for renewal appointments, allowing US missions in India to prioritize new applicants.

Source: MSN