Very often, B-1 visas are seen as an alternative for professionals from outside the US to enter the country to perform skilled tasks on site, and stay temporarily for the same. If the proposal of the US State Department to change the regulations to disallow issuance of B-1 visas to foreign professionals is implemented, no skilled labour from outside or their employers, will be able to avoid the restrictions and requirements pertaining to the H-1B visas and stay for short durations to complete projects. This is likely to affect many Indian firms that send their techies to the US on B-1 visas.
These changes in visa regulations have been suggested with the aim to protect the US workforce and prevent foreigners from taking away their job opportunities.
The ‘B-1 in lieu of H’ visa option allowed foreign tech experts to obtain B-1 visas and travel to the US to fulfil a short-term requirement for specialised services or expertise, provided they retained a house in their home country and continued to receive a salary, which was much lesser than what is usually paid to the locals or US nationals. Not only is the application process for B-1 visa less complicated, the fee for the same is much less than that for H-1B visa.
Last year, Infosys was accused of having about 500 employees working in California on B-1 visas rather than H-1B visas.