The Trump transition team and other political leaders are beginning to plan changes to the H1B visa program, but the exact details are still unknown. However, by reviewing recent political quotes we can get a sense of what leadership in the US is thinking about this non-immigrant work visa program.
Here is a sampling of quotes from key players in the US government:
On Cheaper Foreign Workers
“It’s simply wrong to think that we’re in a totally open world and that any American with a job can be replaced if somebody in the world is willing to take a job for less pay…”
-Senator Jeff Sessions, incoming US Attorney General during Senate confirmation hearings
On Replacing US Workers
“We will fight to protect every last American life. During the campaign, I also spent time with American workers who were laid off and forced to train. The foreign workers brought in to replace them. We won’t let this happen anymore…”
-President-elect Donald Trump during the campaign
On Outsourcing Companies
“By cutting the number of visas available each year and requiring those visas be given to the highest-wage earners first, this bill directly targets outsourcing companies that rely on lower-wage foreign workers to replace equally-qualified US workers…”
-Senator Bill Nelson, a sponsor of H1B visa reform legislation
On Increasing the H1B Visa Wage Limits
“In order for America to lead again, we need to ensure we can retain the world’s best and brightest talent. At the same time, we also need to make sure programs are not abused to allow companies to outsource and hire cheap foreign labor from abroad to replace American workers…”
-Congressional leaders about the recent “Protect and Grow American Jobs Act” introduced in congress this month.
On the Annual H1B Visa Lottery
Stephen Miller, a senior policy advisor to Trump was quoted suggesting getting rid of the lottery, and only awarding H1B visas to very high paying jobs, and implementing much higher fees for petitions.
On the High Number of Foreign Workers in the US
In light of the alarming levels of unemployment and underemployment in this country, it is indefensible to continue offering lawful permanent residence to more than one million foreign nationals every year,”
-The Republican Party platform on immigration and foreign workers
What Does It All Mean?
It is not too difficult to see the way that US political leadership is leaning when it comes to the H1B visa program. The combination of Trump’s attitude toward the program with a strong Republican coalition in Congress almost assures some program changes.
Some of this is political rhetoric, and there are voices calling for continuing the program in its current form, but overall the trend seems to be toward tightening the availability of H1B visas. Most of the pro-H1B visa opinions are from lobbyists, business groups, the tech industry and Indian government officials, all who can see the financial effect of limiting the number of skilled foreign workers in the US.
These voices are being heard, and could influence Trump to take a measured approach that balances business interests with the trend toward protectionism in the US. If you are still looking for an H1B visa sponsor and petition for this year, it is not too late. Please contact us with any questions or for assistance.
- March 12th, 2017