Trump’s Latest Win at Supreme Court to Restrict Immigrants Will Not Affect O-1 Visa Applicants

February 17, 2020 by Prabalta Rijal

In a decision that is a big win for President Donald Trump’s administration, a divided Supreme Court last month allowed US officials to implement the so-called “public charge” immigration rule, which had been blocked by a federal judge from New York. The rule, which was unveiled by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) in August 2019 and is expected to result in restricting legal immigration, expands the definition of a person who is or could be an economic burden on American society.

It gives immigration authorities more power to deny visas and green card applications from immigrants and prospective immigrants who in the opinion of the US government rely or could potentially rely on certain government-offered benefits. Similar rules have been in place before, but in recent years the focus has mainly been on immigrants’ use of cash benefits. Now, immigration caseworkers will also consider immigrants’ enrollment in a whole range of federally funded or subsidized programs, in such areas as nutrition, healthcare, and housing.

The Supreme Court decision has been welcomed by the Trump administration which has been defending the new harsher rule as a means to ensure that people coming to the US are financially self-sufficient. As the Department of Homeland Security prepares to enforce the “public charge” policy, however, critics argue that the new regulations will in practice drastically limit emigration possibilities for numerous applicants from developing countries. Of course, not all categories of prospective immigrants from those countries will be affected.

The O-1 Visa Remains unaffected

The O-1 Visa remains a safe option for applicants from any country who can prove they have extraordinary abilities and skills that could benefit American companies and thus the US economy in general. Especially as the US government strives to fill the large gap between human resources and job openings in the tech industry. The O-1 Visa is a dual intent visa and status, and it applies to experts from an array of different fields, be it STEM or the arts. It also applies to high-level professionals, entrepreneurs to athletes, artists.

The Difference Between the H1-B and O-1 Visa

The O-1 Visa is considered to be much more valuable than the H-1B and can also be obtained by those who have exhausted their authorized stay of 6 years on an H-1B. “To be eligible for the O-1 Visa, applicants only need to meet at least three of the eight O-1 Visa criteria,” says Joanna Bobel, Director of Customer Success at PassRight, who also stated that due to the large void in human resources in the Tech industry, the measures taken by the Trump administration doe not affect highly qualified experts applying for the O-1 Visa.

According to immigration experts, although the Trump administration is imposing extremely harsh policies regulating international students and other specialists from continuing their stay in the U.S the policies on the O-1 Visa remain untouched and uncapped. The USCIS data the number of O-1 visas that were issued in 2018 and 2019 was much higher than the number of other visa approvals for other visa types. Only 72 percent of L1 visas were approved while about 83 percent of H1-B visas were approved in 2019 as compared to the whopping 90 percent approval rates on the O-1 Visa.

Quick Glance at O-1 and H-1B Visa Approval Rates

Source: USCIS

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