Republican presidential candidate Vivek Ramaswamy has said that he would “gut” the lottery-based system within the H-1B visa programme, Politico reported on Saturday.
Under the H-1B programme, companies in the United States can temporarily employ foreign workers in “specialty occupations” for up to six years. For several years, Indians have been getting the largest share of such visas. In 2021, Indians got 74.1% of H-1B visas issued by the US.
As per a limit set by the US Congress, the country can issue a maximum of 65,000 regular H-1B visas and an additional 20,000 visas for those who hold advanced degrees each year.
However, as registration for the visa exceeds the annual cap level and the number of available visas, the US Citizenship and Immigration Service carries out a lottery to identify which registrations will be invited to the next stage.
On Saturday, Ramaswamy said that the H-1B system is bad for everyone involved and that the US needs to eliminate chain-based migration.
“The lottery system needs to be replaced by actual meritocratic admission,” he told Politico. “It is a form of indentured servitude that only accrues to the benefit of the company that sponsored an H-1B immigrant. I’ll gut it.”
He also said that the people who come as family members are not “meritocratic immigrants who make skills-based contributions to this country”.
Notably, Ramaswamy’s pharma company, Roivant Sciences, has used the H1-B visa system to hire 29 foreign workers between 2018 and 2023.