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H-1B Visa Legislative and Regulatory Updates June 2023

President Biden and India’s Prime Minister Modi Joint Statement Highlights H-1B Domestic Visa Renewal

On June 22, 2023, President Biden and Prime Minister Modi issued a wide-ranging joint statement to document cooperation agreements discussed during Modi’s state visit. Topics ranged from commerce to STEM education, to treaties, to national defense.

Included in the Joint Statement was an official announcement about the upcoming pilot program to restore the State Department’s U.S-based program to renew H-1B visas.

  1. The leaders welcomed an announcement by the U.S. Department of State that it would launch a pilot to adjudicate domestic renewals of certain petition-based temporary work visas later this year, including for Indian nationals, with the intent to implement this for an expanded pool of H1B and L visa holders in 2024 and eventually broadening the program to include other eligible categories.

Until 2004, H-1B visas were renewable without leaving the country, however, beginning in 2004, H-1B visa holders must return to their home country to renew these visas. International border closures during COVID-19 pandemic and the slow reopening of consulates have resulted in significant backlogs necessitating changes.

News of the State Department pilot program circulated in March 2023; however, details have not yet been finalized. TechServe Alliance’s Government Affairs team will continue to monitor developments and pass along information as soon as it becomes available.

Finally, in addition to documenting the new State Department program, the Joint Statement emphasized further improvements are needed to expedite the movement of professional and skilled workers between countries:

  1. The leaders affirmed that the movement of professional and skilled workers, students, investors and business travelers between the countries contributes immensely to enhancing bilateral economic and technological partnership. While acknowledging the important steps taken to augment processing of visa applications, they noted the pressing need to further expedite this process. The leaders also directed officials to identify additional mechanisms to facilitate travel for business, tourism, and professional and technical exchanges between the two countries.

TechServe continues to work with coalition partners and is following legislative and regulatory proposals to accomplish these goals.

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