Compete America, a coalition of employers in the United States, has claimed that there has been a “dramatic increase” in the number of H-1B visas being held up by the country’s immigration officials, and accused the department of “acting outside of its own regulations”, PTI reported on Friday. The group represents major firms including Google, Microsoft and Facebook.

The H-1B visa allows US companies to employ skilled workers from abroad. More than three lakh Indian engineers are believed to be on this work permit in the US.

In a letter addressed to Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen and US Citizenship and Immigration Services Director Francis Cissna on November 1, the group said it had observed changes in the H-1B adjudication practices that appear to indicate several inconsistencies with the new provisions. “The agency appears to be acting outside of its own regulations and the controlling statute by requiring petitioners to comply with the agency’s current view,” the letter said.

The group said it had spotted inconsistencies in the Trump administration’s stand on entry-level jobs and corresponding wage level and educational qualifications required for jobs in the category.

Meanwhile, White House Deputy Chief of Staff for Policy Coordination Chris Lidell said President Donald Trump wants to revamp the visa policy to attract highly skilled foreign workers. “The president’s overall instinct – and he said this publicly a number of times – he wants to find ways to make sure that people who graduate in a highly skilled area like technology stay in the country. He finds that a very positive part of the overall immigration,” Trump said.

Lidell was addressing an audience during a discussion organised by The Washington Post.