Trump News Update: Possible Executive Order on H1B Work Visas

In an effort to bring our readers the most current updates on potential H1B visa reform under President Trump, we want to share with you a possible executive order that may be coming soon affecting the H1B program.  

As we discussed in the last article, President Trump can use executive orders to alter some aspects of the program without Congressional approval, such as how qualification rules are enforced and the program is administered.

A few days ago, Vox.com published six leaked draft executive orders that included one directly impacting the H1B visa program.  Two other draft orders published on Vox were recently signed by Trump, with no changes from the drafts.  You can view all of the draft executive orders on the Vox website, http://www.vox.com/policy-and-politics/2017/1/25/14390106/leaked-drafts-trump-immigrants-executive-order , but we will summarize the main points of the order for you.

Draft Executive Order: “Protecting American Jobs and Workers by Strengthening the Integrity of Foreign Worker Visa Programs”

The draft order contains the following provisions (emphasis added is ours):

    • Calls for “an investigation of the extent of injury to US workers caused by the employment in the United States of foreign workers admitted under the non-immigrant visa programs.”
  • Asks the Department of Homeland Security to “consider ways to make the process for allocating H1B visas more efficient and ensure that beneficiaries of the program are the best and brightest.”
  • The order will call for an increase in site visits for enforcement of work visa rules, starting with the L-1 visa (for transfers) and applied to H1B visas within 2 years.
  • Orders a review of the OPT program to “prevent disadvantaging of US students in the work force…”  
  • May reduce the duration of OPT work visas
  • Asks DHS to “improve monitoring of foreign students.”
  • May eliminate the ability of H1B workers’ spouses to apply for an H4 work visa
  • A review of how tourist and business visas are used for labor purposes. (One outsourcing firm was fined millions of dollars for bringing part time workers to the US on short term business visas.)
  • Orders DHS to report on the number of foreigners working in the US.

What Does This Order Mean for H1B Visa Holders and Applicants?

If all of these points are included in an executive order signed by the President, it can have an effect on both current H1B visa holders as well as those considering applying.  It does seem to target the abuse of the H1B program to displace US workers, and to develop some type of priority system for awarding visas based on skills and ability.  It is not good news for outsourcing firms that pay lower wages to workers that are contracted out to US companies.

The order does point toward an H1B visa program that is leaner, and structured to only award visas to foreign workers with truly specialized skills that cannot be found in the US workforce.  The reference to the OPT program is surprising, and the concern is that US students may be disadvantaged in finding employment if a competing foreign student is given the job instead.

It does mirror many of the early Trump presidency policies on immigration, which clearly are putting American jobs and businesses ahead of any type of foreign interests.  We will be watching with interest to see if this order is signed anytime soon, and then bring you a more complete analysis of the potential impact on obtaining visas.  

There remains the possibility that this year’s lottery system could be altered by an administrative order, but we recommend that you continue to seek sponsors and positions that match your skills and experience.

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  • January 28th, 2017
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13 thoughts on “Trump News Update: Possible Executive Order on H1B Work Visas”

  1. Most of the articles online talk about tech jobs but what about medical h1b visas? Yes I do understand that nothing is guaranteed but . In your opinion,do you thing the medical field is gonna be hit hard as well ( especially physical therapy)
    – a very concerned mother

    1. I have coworkers in the H1B PT boat, it would be impossible to pay a PT 130,000 considering the average entry wage is half that, 65,000 but hopefully the bill doesnt get pushed through

  2. A major underlying problem not being discussed is our education system. If the high schools, colleges, and
    universities did their job of preparing our youth people for meeting the changing needs of business, we would not have the immigration problems. We have H1B visas because we are not, in our education system, providing the numbers of skilled professionals needed in sciences and technology.

    I agree in concept with the Trump administrations, but you have to solve the underlying problem first. High schools should require 2 hours a day of an 8-hour a day education system dedicated to skill training. Plumbers, electricians, construction, mechanics, computer repair, LVNs, makeup and hair, hospitality, retail, services, programmers, and administrators, would be graduating with the skills needed for employment. that would be about 6,000 hours of skill training over 4 years. High schools graduates would be work ready. Not all high school graduates are really ready for college.. and we fail them.

    The Colleges and Universities… have destroyed the workforce as an able and ready workforce because they have defined degrees that are not needed or wanted by a Industrial-Business driven economy.

    1. You’ve put the problem exactly!. Instead of fixing schools / American Education to make the kids more tuned to 21st century jobs, curbing H1Bs is a band-aid. It won’t help the American Economy either. This needs to be done phase wise (starting from Elementary/Middle schools to degrees state/federally funded schools offer – and is it being well received by today’s Tech, Industrial and Medical business and research institution. Simultaneous replacing H1Bs could be considered.

    2. No doubt. I wish highschool was more like tech school, teaching real world skills. Yea, history and English are important but just seems other countries make a real effort to crank out engeneers, scientists, etc. Like the country’s goal is to get on top. USA spends the most per pupil so what’s the deal?

  3. This will be a serious issue of concern for science in America. Our programs thrive because we are currently able to collaborate with a diverse sector of scientists worldwide, with the best and brightest minds across the globe taking part in scientific discovery and medical advances. We are headed toward the Dark Ages with this type of exclusive policy– a policy that creates walls that seem more and more like a self-imposed prison.

  4. It is very hard for a
    Masters graduate on opt to secure a full time job. My employer displayed the job opening for atleast 3 months before hiring me and they would post a notice to make sure if anybody has any objection for my h1 sponsorship before they file. They comply with every rule and inorder to maintain this job and my legal status I would need my opt stem extension if incase my h1 application doesn’t get selected in the lottery this year. If they take it out, this would defy the whole purpose of hiring the best and the brightest!

  5. I think it’s time that our IT companies remodel their business and become less dependent on other countries. They should now focus more on domestic markets and markets in other developing countries. If we need to grow as a strong country, we need to be own our own, no one should be able to have a drastic impact on our economy, and our lifestyles. I know this is world of globalization but the harsh fact is that you need to be first strong on your own before you step for outside world, need to be a self sustained country.

    Time to stop following others, let’s think about how to use our talent for our country and not just for ourselves.

    Just my thought..

  6. The Disney effect is happening all across technology sector. Basically, technology sector is on “life” support and being severely impacted by replacing Americans with low-cost offshore resources. I work for large database company, last year they relocated 3600 offshore resources to United States. These offshore resources salaries are based on India rupee versus USD. For India resources, $25,000 salary is great salary in India (top 10%) but basically a horror story of Americans being displaced by them. Basically, good high paying job ($100,000.00) with 10+ years of experience reduced to $25,0000 per year. Also, India firms (Tata, Winpro etc) never hire any Americans only Indians due to “culture” clashs and other barriers.

  7. I’m a physican currently on a J1 who has applied for H1B status starting July. Any idea if there has be discussion of changes in the medical field or is this focused on the IT field?

  8. I think this should also be an opportunity to end some of the gross manipulation of 3rd party H1-B candidates in the US, by the big Indian companies, who have large contracts with the end clients. Couple of scenarios below..

    1. Some Big companies look to hire 3rd party H1B candidates in the US for contract positions, who are employed by small H1B consulting firms, because they do not have their own employees in India who are H1 Visa / skilled , ready & when the project kicks off or picks steam , they start pressurising the 3rd party H1B candidate to rollover to the Indian company’s payroll or they threaten (hire or fire).
    At the time of hiring these US H1B candidates for contracting positions, the Indian companies do NOT say that after a year they have to leave their employer & join them. This creates lot of issues as the H1B candidate has to, not only again go through the process of H1 transfer & uncertainity , but also the whole GC process if the candidate was already in the GC line.
    In other words, these Indian companies contract local US H1B candidates to buy time from the client , so that they can get their folks from India and replace these 3rd party H1B candidates later on, if the 3rd party H1B candidate refuse to rollover. THIS is a common practice and SHOULD STOP.

    2. Agreed, H1B has been misused by most Indian companies, but for the 3rd party small company based H1B candidates who are already in the US, finding a job at the client location without going through the Big implementation partners is nearly impossible.

    1. 3. L1A visas are also misused by the BIG Indian companies. FOlks who come on L1A can apply & get GC within 18 months, considering that others who have come to the US legally on H1B and are waiting for 10+ years to get GC.

      This is ridiculous, because 99% of L1A are NOT folks of extraordinary skills or hardly have good managerial expereince – they just butter up their superiors while in India and get their L1A, come to the US and apply for GC.

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