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Temporary reprieve to visa users as US defers plans to modify LCA

Proposal is under review following comments opposing the changes

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Indian IT and BPO services companies who are heavily dependent on business visas can get some reprieve as the US Department of Labour (DOL) seems to have put its proposed to the Labour Condition Application (LCA) in cold storage following opposition by various stake-holders from who it had sought comments.

According to immigration experts and industry sources the DOL is no more going ahead with the in its present form at list in the 'the medium term or at least in the next 1-2 year’.

Under the existing immigration law in the US, all employers are required to obtain from the DOL in order to file H-1B and certain other short-term business visa petitions. Through a Federal Register notice issued in July this year, the US DOL had proposed significant changes to the LCA which would have curtailed the ability of the offshore-centric IT/BPO services companies to have a mobile workforce and even expose them to liability for violating state privacy and employment laws.

However, before going ahead with the changes, the DOL had sought comments from various stake-holders including the industry, immigration experts and individual companies. It is understood that the most of those who offered their comments had wholeheartedly opposed the changes.

“What we understand is that the US government is no more pursuing the proposal in its present form. After getting the feedbacks from various stake-holders, they have realised that they need to go back to the drawing room again,” said Nasscom president Som Mittal.

“So the proposal is more or less dead in its present form, and we don’t see that they will come back with amended proposals in the near future, at least in the next one or two years,” he added.

According to the proposal, the all the employers in the US were required to disclose the names of their end clients where the visa-holders will be posted. They were also required to give personal information of the employees applying for visas such as name, date of birth, country of birth, salary.

The changes also required the employers to furnish attestations saying that they are sending foreign workers to the US after failing to fill those positions locally. The proposals also required the employers to furnish attestation saying that the workers they are sponsoring will be paid at least the same wage as other employees in the same occupation are getting in the US. All those information were proposed to be made available in a Public Access File.

According to Murthy Law Firm, an immigration law specialist in the US, the DOL in a recent meeting has confirmed that they are in the process of reviewing and considering the comments received in response to their proposal. Any new proposal pertaining to the changes in the LCA would take around a year or longer.

“As a result of the numerous comments in response to proposed LCA changes, it does not appear that the troublesome changes will be implemented anytime soon,” the law firm stated in a report published in its website.

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