Posted on June 22, 2023

US to Ease Visas for Skilled Indian Workers as Modi Visits

Trevor Hunnicutt and Ted Hesson, Reuters, June 22, 2023

The Biden administration will make it easier for Indians to live and work in the United States, using this week’s state visit by Prime Minister Narendra Modi to help some skilled workers enter or remain in the country, according to three people familiar with the matter.

The State Department could announce as soon as Thursday that a small number of Indians and other foreign workers on H-1B visas will be able to renew those visas in the U.S., without having to travel abroad, one of the sources said, part of a pilot program that could be expanded in coming years.

Indian citizens are by far the most active users of the U.S. H-1B program and made up 73% of the nearly 442,000 H-1B workers in fiscal year 2022.


Each year, the U.S. government makes 65,000 H-1B visas available to companies seeking skilled foreign workers, along with an additional 20,000 visas for workers with advanced degrees. The visas last for three years and can be renewed for another three years.

The companies using the most H-1B workers in recent years include the Indian-based Infosys (INFY.NS) and Tata Consultancy Services (TCS.NS) as well as Amazon (AMZN.O), Alphabet (GOOGL.O) and Meta (META.O) in the U.S., according to U.S. government data.

The ability for some of the temporary foreign workers to renew visas in the U.S. would free up resources for visa interviews in consulates abroad, the spokesperson said.

The pilot program would also include some workers with L-1 visas, which are available to people transferring within a company to a position in the U.S., one of the sources said.

A separate initiative to clear a backlog of visa applications at U.S. embassies in India is finally showing signs of progress, according to another one of those sources, and is expected to be figure into the discussions between the two countries’ delegations in Washington this week.