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US Approves Pilot Program for Domestic H-1B Visa Renewals

A pilot programme allowing qualifying H-1B visa holders to renew their visas in the United States has been approved.

A pivotal move has been made to aid Indian technology professionals in the US. A pilot program allowing qualified H-1B visa holders to renew their visas domestically has received clearance from a top regulatory body within the White House.

Understanding H-1B Visas:

The H-1B visa, a non-immigrant visa, permits US companies to engage foreign workers in specialized occupations demanding theoretical or technical expertise. 

This visa category is extensively utilized by technology companies, particularly in hiring thousands of employees annually from countries like India and China.

Program Details and Intent:

Initially limited to 20,000 participants, the approved pilot program materializes after the White House’s announcement made during Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s state visit in June.

Under this initiative, qualified H-1B visa applicants won’t need to travel abroad for visa renewal, which is a relief, especially amid extensive waiting periods for visa appointments in India.

Regulatory Authorization and Outlook:

The Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA), a significant body under the Office of Management and Budget within the Executive Office of the US President, cleared the pilot program after its review on December 15.

Julie Stufft, Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Visa Services, highlighted the immense demand for US visas in India and emphasized the importance of facilitating quicker appointments. 

The focus on India in the domestic visa renewal program aims to expedite the process and reduce significant waiting times, particularly for Indian nationals in the US.

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