The Biden administration will make it easier for Indians to live and work in the United States, using this week’s state visit by Prime Minister Narendra Modi to help some skilled workers enter or remain in the country, according to three people familiar with the matter.
The State Department could announce as soon as Thursday that a small number of Indians and other foreign workers on H-1B visas will be able to renew those visas in the U.S., without having to travel abroad, one of the sources said, part of a pilot program that could be expanded in coming years.
Indian citizens are by far the most active users of the U.S. H-1B program and made up 73% of the nearly 442,000 H-1B workers in fiscal year 2022.
“We all recognize that mobility of our people is a huge asset to us,” said another U.S. official. “And so our goal is to approach that in a sort of multifaceted way. The State Department already has been working very hard to find creative ways to make changes to things.”
A State Department spokesperson declined to comment on questions about which visa types would qualify or the timing of the pilot launch. Plans for a pilot program were first reported by Bloomberg Law in February.
“The pilot would begin with a small number of cases with the intention to scale the initiative over the following one to two years,” the spokesperson said, while declining to define small.