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Last Updated : Jan 21, 2019 12:32 PM IST | Source: Moneycontrol.com

How the US shutdown is impacting Indian immigrants

This partial shutdown is the longest in US history.

The partial US government shutdown, which resulted from President Donald Trump's row with Democrats over building a Mexico border wall, is going to step into its fifth week. This shutdown, which is the longest in US history, has left 800,000 federal employees without salaries.

So, how has this affected Indian immigrants in the US?

Hiring has taken a hit due to the shutdown because e-verify, the government's online system that decides the eligibility of employees to work in the country is not functional. This system helps companies comply with the laws that discourage hiring 'unauthorised workers' in the US.

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Matthew Asir, who runs The Legal Bullet, a Chicago-based company that helps small businesses with the visa processes for foreign employees, told Quartz that employers are confused and frustrated due to the shutdown. "Some of my clients include local Indian restaurants or IT companies who hire immigrants from India. For them, hiring these employees are essential to run their business every day," he said.

Verifying employees is an important process, therefore, it cannot be done away with because of the shutdown. Therefore, companies have to keep a track of new hires during this period and add it to the e-verify platform later.

Also, the investor visa route for many Indians wishing to go to the US has been closed for the last month. The EB-5 investor visa has become the preferred option for Indians after the US government tightened norms for the H-1B visa.

For this visa, foreign nationals could invest a minimum of $500,000 in a US-based enterprise and show that this created 10 full-time jobs in the country. This has been a popular way of attaining US citizenship among Indian nationals. Due to the government shutdown, this visa category is facing many limitations as the funding for the Department of Homeland Security is on hold. As of October 2018, there were 859 Indian petitions for this visa.

The shutdown may finally be coming to an end as Trump has started working on new plans for his Mexican wall project.

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First Published on Jan 21, 2019 12:29 pm
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