Two Indian-American organizations, the Foundation for India and Indian Diaspora Studies and Global Technology Professionals Association (GITPRO), have launched an online petition calling for President Joe Biden to extend the grace period for H-1B visa holders.
The H-1B Visa
The H-1B visa is a non-immigrant visa that allows US companies to employ foreign workers in speciality occupations that require theoretical or technical expertise. It is a crucial tool for technology companies to hire thousands of employees each year from countries such as India and China.
Petition to Extend Grace Period for H-1B Visa Holders
The online petition is asking President Biden, the Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, and the director of US Citizenship and Immigration Services to extend the grace period from 60 days to a minimum of 6 months, or 1 year.
The petition notes that the massive layoffs in the tech sector have left many Indian professionals jobless and without enough time to find a new job before having to leave the country.
Signatures and Support
The petition has been signed by over 2,200 people and highlights the impact on H-1B visa holders and their families. The petition also emphasizes the long-term impact on the talent the US has, as immigrants make up 70% of startup founders and over 50 CEOs of public companies are of Indian origin.
Impact of Layoffs
According to LayoffTracker.com, 91,000 people were laid off in January 2023 and this number may grow in the coming months. The petition argues that it would be impossible for these hardworking, tax-paying, and talented individuals to find a new job during the current economic situation.
Petition to the Indian Government
A Facebook group of overseas Indians has also launched a petition urging the Indian government to hire the laid-off Indian tech workers in the US.
The letter addressed to the Minister of Electronics and Information Technology requests the Indian government to consider hiring these individuals as consultants for digitization initiatives.
The online petition highlights the pressing need to extend the grace period for H-1B visa holders and the impact it would have on both the individuals and their families, as well as the long-term interests of the US. The petitioners are urging elected officials to support this extension and consider the humanitarian impact of this issue.
(With Inputs From PTI)
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