H-1B Visa has created a modern slavery

By Shoki Agarwal

The Trump administration’s recent orders have made the life of H-1B visa holders difficult. Shortly after suspending new H-1B visas until the end of 2020, President Donald Trump said his administration will not tolerate firing of hardworking Americans in the pursuit of cheap foreign labor. 

The H-1B visa is a non-immigrant visa that allows the US companies to employ foreign workers for various technical and skilled jobs. The visa is granted for a period of three years and can further be extended to a period of six years.

Though the H-1B visa provides the American companies with the ‘required talent from abroad,’ it rejects the idea of human dignity. Under the umbrella of inviting the ‘best and brightest,’ this visa is no less than modern slavery.

The residence status of an H-1B visa holder is contingent on the employer. An H-1B visa holder cannot change jobs without having to leave the country or find another sponsor. As a result, the exploitative employers get a powerful tool to control their foreign workers, who are often underpaid and exploited at all levels. These employees cannot afford to disagree with their managers, and even a single negative review can become an existential threat. What is more pathetic is that these workers often remain reluctant to seek legal help under the fear of deportation.

These workers come mainly from the South-Asian countries. The majority of them are under financial debts, and returning home too soon is equivalent to financial ruin for them. Thus, they are left with no choice but to endure their employer’s abuse.

Loaded with monotonous work, these foreign workers feel like belonging to an underclass that has stressful working conditions and discrimination due to their visa status. These workers also face hostility at the hands of Americans who lose their jobs to the H-1B visa holders.

Employers may sponsor H-1B workers for a green card, but the waiting period could last decades. This is simply inhumane!

Amid all this, who truly benefit are the corporate giants who save thousands of dollars by employing H-1B visa holders at a much-lower salary than their American counterparts. 

People from all over the world get enticed by the highly-coveted American dream and get lured into the United States. Subsequently, the US companies make use of this influx to employ foreigners in the name of getting specialized talent. But as long as these workers do not find a way to legalize their residence status and permanency in the country, their fate rests on shaky grounds.

Uncertainty looms in the minds of thousands of H-1B visa holders  – all thanks to the Trump administration!