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 the issuance of B-1 visas to foreign professionals is implemented, no skilled labor 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 fulfill a short-term requirement for specialized 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 a B-1 visa less complicated, but the fee for the same is also much less than that for an 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.