A recent spurt in administrative processing by US consulates in India has put many Indian IT professionals currently in the US on H-1B visas as well as the companies that rely on them, in limbo. It has been reported that a great deal of H-1B visa holders who have jobs in the US, specifically in the Information Technology field, are currently stuck in India after having their applications placed under administrative processing under section 221(g) of the US Immigration and Nationality Act by US consulates.
Under these circumstances, applications are sent back to the Department of State for further review and security checks, which could take anywhere from four to eight weeks before being cleared. These major delays are not only causing a great deal of emotional and financial hardships for the individuals being denied entrance, but the US company’s that employ them are also being greatly affected as they are lacking the manpower needed to properly run their businesses.
A New Jersey IT firm has gone as far as to advise its employees that are on H-1B visas against traveling outside of the US at this time, stating that the consulate is placing H-1B visa holders under administrative processing “at an alarming rate”. The formal letter that was issued to the companies 500 plus employees regarding the issues reads as follows:
“I have just been informed by our attorney that they are not advising anyone to travel out of the country at this time. The consulate is issuing 221G forms at an alarming rate for no reason at all, which could result in being stuck indefinitely in India. If you have upcoming plan to travel, we advise postponing them until we have more clarity on the situation at the consulate from the attorney. We understand there may accentuating circumstances that would require you to travel. In that event, we will use all of our best efforts to ensure you travel with all the documents necessary to have a successful visa stamping appointment and be permitted to enter back into the country.”
This New Jersey based IT firm is among many companies being faced with similar hardships pertaining to the recent skyrocket in administrative processing cases. There has been a great deal of talk about tightening the H-1B visa program in order to crack down on cases of abuse by the new administration but it is unclear as to what definitive changes will be made to the process or whether or not these recent cases of administrative processing are directly related.