Update Apr 20, 2020: Trump has announced that he will sign an executive order to stop all US immigration visas due to Coronavirus emergency temporarily. He wants to protect American jobs for citizens.
We do not know if this means the suspension of #H1B visa extensions at this time.
Earlier on Apr 1, The news of a letter sent by the UStechWorkers association group to Trump asking for skipping H1B 2020-21 new lottery approvals has been doing the rounds in Indian media including NDTV and Economic Times.
I was asked to do the fact-checking and here is it.
Yes, the UStechWorks group has sent a letter to President Trump on Mar 30, 2020.
The letter is requesting the Trump government to skip the H1B 2020-21 season due to major job losses and a looming coronavirus recession. Although the US-Tech worker’s group is against the S386 bill and H1B altogether, their current demand is to scrap the whole H1B 2021 season for 1 year to mitigate Coronavirus job losses.
On the other hand, USCIS is doing its job and has completed the first round of the H1B lottery in April 2020 and selected applicants can start filing their applications from April 1. USCIS has kept non-selected applicants in wait-list and may give them a second chance until Sep 30, 2020.
Stopping the H1B visa program is not as easy as it may seem from the Indian or Chinese media coverage of this letter.
Stopping any legal visa program requires congress approval and nothing has been done as part of the Stimulus bill 2020 that passed US Congress in the last week of March.
The only thing that the US government can do is increase the scrutiny of new H-1B applications and increase the RFE and denials, which they have already been doing since Trump came to power. Last week, a
Physician was asked to prove his H1B specialty occupation.
There have been many lawsuits filed against arbitrary USCIS denials and some of them have faced success.
The good thing about high H1B scrutiny is that it helps weed out the spurious and fraud applications. USCIS is conducting the H-1B site visits virtually even though their offices are closed due to a national emergency.
There is no action taken by Trump as of the writing of this article with respect to stopping or skipping H1B applications in the H1B 2020-21 season.
It is possible that your H1B may not be approved even after selection in Lottery if you lose your project or the employer by the time USCIS processes your application. This happened due to natural market demand and supply forces after the 2008 recession.
USTechWorkers group has only requested to skip 1 year of H1Bs at this time.
Hence, H1B extension and transfer should not be affected even if Trump acts on their advice.
We will keep track of this story and update as soon as we hear of any action.