Democratic presidential nominee and former U.S. vice president Joe Biden has announced that he will lift the temporary suspension of H-1B visas that Indian IT professionals are most in demand if he wins the November presidential election.
On June 23, the Trump administration suspended the H-1B visas along with other types of foreign work visas until the end of 2020 to protect American workers in a crucial election year. This was a major blow to Indian IT professionals who were eyeing the US job market.
Mr. Biden praised the contribution of H-1B visa holders to the AAPI in a digital city hall meeting organized by NBC News on Asian-American and Pacific Islanders.
"He (US President Donald Trump) just ended the rest of the year on an H-1B visa. It won't be in my administration," said 77-year-old Joe Biden when asked in the city hall. He referred to Trump's temporary suspension of H-1B visas and other foreign work visas for the rest of the year.
"The corporate visa people built this country," said Biden when asked what his administration would do in the first 100 days of his presidency.
The H-1B visa is a non-immigration visa that US companies can use to employ foreign workers in special jobs that require theoretical or technical expertise. The technology companies rely on hiring tens of thousands of employees from countries like India and China every year.
"On the first day, I will send the Immigration Reform Bill to Congress to prepare a road map for the citizenship of 11 million undocumented immigrants who contribute so much to this country, including 1.7 million from the AAPI community .
"My immigration policy is aimed at keeping families together and modernizing an immigration system by maintaining families, unification and diversity as pillars of our immigration system as it used to be," said Biden.
He claimed that Donald Trump's immigration policy was cruel.
Mr. Biden said that he would immediately take measures to protect dreamers, including more than 100,000 eligible dreamers from East and South Asia.
The former U.S. vice president also said he would lift the Muslim travel ban and immediately restore refugee admission in line with United States values and historical leadership.
Mr. Biden also told City Hall attendees that "he will make it easier for qualified green card holders to walk through this backlog."
Donald Trump issued an order in April to suspend green cards for 90 days. In June, he issued a proclamation that extended the suspension until December 31, 2020.
The United States only issues 1.40,000 green cards each year to all immigrants with employment preference, including accompanying family members.
There are currently nearly 10 lakh foreigners and accompanying family members legally residing in the United States. These applicants have been approved but still need a green card for employment.
In his strategy paper on immigration, Biden says that his high-quality temporary visas should not be used to prevent workers who are already in the US from working for jobs from recruiting.
"An immigration system that displaces highly skilled workers only for entry-level wages and skills threatens American innovation and competitiveness," the strategy paper said.
Joe Biden will work with Congress to initially reform temporary visas, set up a wage-based allocation process, and implement enforcement mechanisms to ensure they are consistent with the labor market and are not used to undermine wages.
Then Mr. Biden would support the expansion of the number of highly qualified visas and the lifting of restrictions on employment-related visas by country, which would lead to unacceptably long delays.
The immigration policy paper also talks about increasing the number of visas offered for permanent immigration at work, based on macroeconomic conditions. The number of employment-related visas or green cards is currently limited to 140,000 a year without being able to respond to the situation on the job market or the requirements of local employers.
As President, Joe Biden will work with Congress to increase the number of visas for permanent employment-related immigration – and to promote mechanisms to temporarily reduce the number of visas in times of high US unemployment.
It will also be exempt from any cap on US science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) graduate students who are ready to make some of the most important contributions to the global economy.
Biden believes that foreign graduates of a U.S. doctoral program should receive a green card upon graduation and that the loss of this highly skilled workforce to foreign economies is detrimental to our own economic competitiveness, the strategy paper said.
Joe Biden challenges 74-year-old Republican incumbent Donald Trump in the November 3 presidential election, in which Trump is seeking re-election for his second four-year term.
(Except for the headline, this story was not edited by NDTV staff and published from a syndicated feed.)