Groups Respond as Trump Administration Tightens Up H-1B Visa Program

USCIS will be focusing on cases where the agency can not validate the employer's basic business information using commercially available data; those employers who have a high ratio of H-1B workers compared to its USA workers; and companies that petition H-1B workers working off-site at another organization's location.

The government is taking aim once again at the H-1B, the tech industry's most-coveted visa system.

Reuters/Carlos BarriaA photo of U.S. President Donald Trump speaking at the East Room of the White House in Washington.

"The H-1B visa program should help US companies recruit highly skilled foreign nationals when there is a shortage of qualified workers in the country", the release stated. The traditional April lottery remained in place, despite fears the Trump Administration would eliminate it.

The US has said it will "rigorously" use its authority to initiate investigations of H1-B visa violators, signalling an intensified effort by the Trump administration to stop "abuse" of the programme mainly used by Indian IT firms and professionals. "U.S. workers should not be placed in disfavored status, and the department is wholeheartedly committed to investigating and vigorously prosecuting these claims", acting assistant attorney general Tom Wheeler of the Civil Right Division, said in a statement.

The Labour Department on Tuesday said it is considering making changes to the Labour Condition Application for the future application cycles to ensure that American workers are not discriminated against. "It is aimed at screening out less-qualified workers, whereas our members tend to provide well-credentialed workers to help USA companies fill their skills gaps and compete globally".

"This announcement by the Trump administration to target employers who abuse the H-1B programme is a welcome first step toward preventing the firing of skilled American workers".

United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced a tip-line for Americans who are the victims of foreign worker outsourcing through the H-1B visa in a news release.

USCIS will continue random and unannounced visits nationwide.

USCIS also clarified that the site visits they will be arranging are not meant to "target non-immigrant employees for any kind of criminal or administrative action".

On March 31, 2017, USCIS released a policy memorandum addressing the adjudication and review of H-1B petitions for Computer Programmers.

In many cases, it says, the regulatory definition of "specialty occupation" requires, in part, "that the proffered position have a minimum entry requirement of a USA bachelor's or higher degree in the specific specialty, or its equivalent".

"Based on the current version of the Handbook, the fact that a person may be employed as a computer programmer and may use information technology skills and knowledge to help an enterprise achieve its goals in the course of his or her job is not sufficient to establish the position as a specialty occupation", the USCIS memo says.

  • Salvatore Jensen