Indians in America see relief as draconian policy of H-1B visa is shelved

Jonathan Withington, Media Relations Chief at US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) informed Hindustan Times that the Trump administration was not going to consider the proposal that could lead to deportation of H-1B visa holders, including 500,000 to 750,000 Indians. Officials in USCIS stated that even if there should be any changes in section 104(c) of AC 21, they would not be compelled to leave the country. After they complete the 6-year limit, the employers can seek extensions based on section 106(a)-(b) of AC 21.

The earlier proposal to end a visa grant was formulated based on the policy of, “buy American, hire American” by Donald Trump to create jobs for the American population. This initial policy had led to increased anxiety among the Indian IT firms in America. Now this reconsideration has come as a major relief to the community who could have been deported earlier.

“This is a significant development. We are delighted about this news. We are grateful to USCIS for this,” stated an official in Immigration Voice. They hailed their efforts to protect H-1B visa holders from India.

India Today mentioned that this move happened due to increased displeasure that is seen in the business community. The Department of Homeland Security said that they did not consider the change and will not deport foreign workers.

Sources-Hindustan Times, India Today

Premium processing of US H-1B visas resumes

The US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) recommenced processing H-1B visas five months after it had suspended the services temporarily to manage the rush of new petitions. The premium processing of the H-1B work visas will be in all categories but subject to the limit set by the Congress.

The upper limit set for FY 2018 is 65,000 H-1B visas. In addition, work has also begun on the annual 20,000 petitions to hire employees with a US higher educational degree. This service is only available for the pending request and not new submissions.

USCIS takes 15 days to clear the visa under premium processing. According to the Times of India, “If the 15-calendar day processing time is not met, the agency will refund the petitioner’s premium processing service fee and continue with expedited processing of the application,” the USCIS said.

The H-1B is a visa in the United States under the Immigration and Nationality Act that allows US companies to employ foreign workers possessing theoretical or technical expertise in speciality occupations. The visa is popular among the Indian IT professionals as technology companies use it to hire employees each year.

Sources: NDTV, TOI

Onion prices drop in Nashik after IT Raids

The IT raids which took place in Nashik on Thursday morning have caused the prices of onions to drop dramatically at Lasalgaon, one of the biggest onion markets in the country. This raids occurred at several properties of one of the biggest onion traders in Nashik. Godowns, offices, and homes of seven onion traders were searched.

It is suspected that one of the reasons for the raid was because of the extreme surge of onion prices the previous month. However, there are some who feel that it could be because of the huge cash deposits made at the Nashik District Central Cooperative Bank after the demonetization.

This raid has caused a drop in onion prices by 35%. The wholesale prices came down to Rs 900 per quintal at Lasalgaon compared to Rs 1400 per quintal on Wednesday. According to the Times of India, Jaydatta Holkar,  Chairman of Lasalgaon APMC said, “These traders have the capacity to buy 30% of total arrivals in the market. The action from the IT department created panic among onion traders leading to a crash of prices in the wholesale onion prices.”

Sources: Times of India, New Indian Express 

‘It’ Movie Review: Watch It, Fear It

Cast: Jaeden Lieberher, Bill Skarsgard, Sophia Lillis, Finn Wolfhard, Jeremy Ray Taylor, Chosen Jacobs, Jack Dylan Grazer
Duration: 2 hours 15 min
Genre:  Horror
Rating: 3.5/5

Thirty one long years ago, Stephen King published his novel ‘It’ never thinking that years down the line, it will be one of the feared and best horror work witnessed in a long time. Hollywood revisits the old classic and presents us with a movie with the same twisted, evil and horror elements intact.

Coulrophobia- the fear of clowns is a strange yet commonly found phobia. Some have it or some might acquire it after watching the film. The story, set in the backdrop of Derry, a small town in Maine is about a bunch of school kids labelled as ‘The Losers’ Club’, who encounter some spooky incidents which makes them aware about the presence of a murderous supernatural entity. The hide and seek game continues until they finally come face-to-face with the dreary spirit which is none other than a scary clown, who returns every 27 years to exploit on children’s fears. The kids, with their share of fears, bullying troubles and overbearing parents become the target of It who grimly haunts them.

The extremely popular scene of the paper boat swiftly floating towards an old sewer, little Georgie chasing it and a mysterious cloud popping up from the drainage and the eerie dialogue between the two serves as the beginning of the film. Not only the scene sends shivers down our spine but the dialogues like ‘I am the Pennywise dancing clown’ and ‘You’ll float too’ set up the mood for the film. The film does a great job of maintaining anticipation that anything dreadful can happen to any of the kids.

The plot, midway falls on loose tracks and it is unclear why the monster or ‘IT’ targets only seven kids or why does it appear randomly every 27 years. As for the acting, kudos to the talented bunch of kids do a great job and Jaeden Lieberher who does justice to his creepy role. The effortless acting makes up for the few plot-holes the film witnesses.

The quaint American culture, costumes, craftsman houses makes it very evitable that the setting is of some American town. As far as the look of the clown is concerned, the grotesque appearance with hypnotic eyes, red evil grin, strange mannerism, everything captures the evilness perfectly. The cinematography with a balance of long and medium shots as well as the visual effects along with the apt musical score in the background gave brownie points to the movie. Lastly, the red balloon becomes the ultimate essence of fears and horror combined. Love horror- Watch It! Fear horror- yet don’t ignore It!



Premium processing of H-1B visas no more

The United States of America has suspended the fast processing of the H-1B visas temporarily. According to the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), the suspension might last up to six months after it will be under effect on April 3.

This decision has created uncertainty in the information technology (IT) sector of India. The US has cited a backlog of applications. This move will not affect Indian software exporters like Infosys and Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) but also the multinational firms who send their engineers for different projects to the US.

Currently, a company can apply for H-1B visas for their potential employees by paying extra known as premium processing. This premium processing costs an additional $1,1225. In this case, the UNCIS revert in 15 days and if fails to do so the fee is refundable.

After April 3, the IT companies will not be able to send the employees on urgent basis for the projects in the US. From now on they have to plan their applications at least three months in advance.

The US president, Donald Trump, who recently banned the entry of people from seven Muslim countries, has planned to revamp the H-1B program in order to keep a check on the misuse of work visas.


1. CNN-



Infosys CEO Sikka’s tenure likely to be extended till March’21

The board of Infosys Ltd, one of India’s IT giants has proposed  to extend Vishal Sikka’s tenure as the Managing Director  and CEO of the company,  till March 2012 . Earlier, Sikka had been appointed to the post till 2019.

This recommendation comes in the light of his “outstanding contribution” and initiatives that have helped the company in reclaiming the leadership position in the industry, says the board.

Under Sikka’s leadership the company’s management is said to have drawn up the goals of margins, revenue and productivity of employees for the upcoming years, 2021-22. These goals are expected to be achieved in the following five years.

At this juncture, the board considers Sikka’s leadership to be imperative, for achieving the set goals. Hence, the nomination and renumeration committee alongwith the board recognized his initiatives and recommended the replacement of  Sikka’s  current contract of employment with a new one that is ” fully aligned to the period and goals as well as for shareholder value creation.”

As per reports, the term of his existing contract has been reduced from 13 June 2019 to 31 December 2016, and a brand new executive employment agreement with Sikka for his re-appointment as the Managing Director and CEO of Infosys is underway. This new contract would be in effect from 1 April 2016 until 31 March 2021.

After being hit with issues like exodus of several senior-level executives , attrition, and losing out to industry rivals like HCL technologies and Tata Consultancy Services Ltd, in terms of growth,  Vishal Sikka veered the company’s position back to its lost glory.

Source: The Hindu Business Line

Live Mint

Image Source: Quartz India