Jobless Indians With H1B Visa Not Allowed To Enter India, Not Allowed To Stay In US: What Next?
As per the reports coming in, several Indians in the US, either on the H-1B work visa or Green Card having children who are American citizens by birth, are being prevented from traveling to India aboard the special repatriation flights being run by Air India amidst the coronavirus-linked global travel restrictions.
Why Would This Happen?
Last month, the regulations issued by the Indian government and updated last week, says that visas of foreign nationals and OCI cards, that provide visa-free travel privileges to the people of Indian-origin, have been suspended as part of the new international travel restrictions.
But, for some of the Indian citizens like the Pandey couple in New Jersey (name and place changed at request), it’s a double whammy.
Apart from losing their H-1B job, they have to go back to India within the stipulated 60 days as required by law.
On top of that, the couple has two kids aged one and six years who are American citizens.
They had to return from Newark airport during the wee hours of Monday, as Air India refused to give their kids a ticket to fly to India along with them, despite them having a valid Indian visa.
While the young mother and father are Indian citizens.
Further, they added that the officials from Air India and (Indian) Consulate (in New York) were very cooperative.
However, they could not do anything as their hands were tied by the latest regulation issued by the Indian government, as informed by shocked Ratna Pandey.
What Can Be Done?
Ratna Pandey further said that “I would like to urge the Indian government to reconsider their decision on the humanitarian basis,” for the Indian national who has lost their job but could not leave the US within the stipulated 60 days to avoid any future visa complications.
Now, she plans to make an appeal to the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) to extend their stay.
The H-1B visa holders, mostly Indians, launched a White House petition last month, urging US President Donald Trump to extend their permissible stay from 60 to 180 days after a job loss.
So far, there has been no decision from the White House.
How Many Got Affected With This Decision?
Currently, there are no official statistics of how many Indian H-1B visa holders have lost their jobs, but it is believed to be substantial.
Due to the coronavirus pandemic, the US is experiencing an unprecedented unemployment rate.
In the last two months, more than 33 million Americans have lost their jobs.
Considering this massive job loss, Indians, who have lost their jobs, are unlikely to get one and thus many would have no other option but to travel back home.
According to Prem Bhandari, a New York-based community leader, the May 5 travel advisory has created multiple painful issues for the OCI cardholders in the US and also to Indian citizens who are either on Green Card or H-1B visas and want to travel back home but cannot leave their kids who are Americans by birth.
Further, Bhandari said “We would like to express our disappointment with the discrimination between OCIs and citizens in respect of entering India at this critical stage when many OCIs have lawfully built their homes, families and businesses in India,” in a letter to Union Home Secretary Ajay Kumar Bhalla on Monday.