ATLANTA, Georgia. In order to qualify for an H1-B, foreign workers must meet certain professional requirements, and employers must meet certain requirements for hiring. H1-B workers are teachers, lawyers, nurses, tech workers, engineers, and scientists. H1-B has long been a program that has allowed employers to seek talent across the globe, while giving workers a chance to gain temporary U.S. work experience. Yet, recent changes to the H1-B visa program have many employers and workers scrambling for answers and struggling to adjust to change.
According to U.S.A. Today, changes to the H1-B program include no longer considering entry-level computer programming positions as a specialty position covered by the visa. As it stands, only 85,000 H1-B visas are issued each year. But, President Trump has repeatedly threatened to put an end to the system, which he claims hurts American workers.
In 2016, only 1 in every 3 applicants to the H1-B program received a spot. 65,000 of the visas are awarded each year by lottery, with the remaining visas being awarded to graduates of American universities.
According to the L.A. Times, the changes to the H1-B visa program could have a serious effect on the tech industry, which relies on the program. Federal agencies have reported that they plan to take a closer look at the companies that use the program and to take a closer look at the program itself. Going forward, companies may face changed policies, changed requirements, and other roadblocks. Already, fast changes to the program have some immigration lawyers scrambling.
If you are considering applying for an H1-B visa or are considering renewing your visa, or if you are an employer looking to hire a foreign worker, having a qualified immigration lawyer on your side can make a difference. Timing matters with the H1-B and having paperwork ready well ahead of the deadline is essential. If you have questions about changes to the H1-B program, contact the work immigration lawers at Kuck Immigration Partners today. We can assist you with the application process and help you understand all your options for working in the U.S. The H1-B program may not be your only option.
One group of workers facing increased scrutiny is computer programmers. Computer programmers make up the third largest group of individuals receiving H1-B visas. Many of the larger tech firms, however, may not be affected by the changes. Many of Google’s foreign workers, for instance, fall under the category of software developers, not computer programmers.
One of the criticisms of the H1-B program is that it allows companies to hire foreign workers for less than it would pay to hire American workers. However, tech companies claim that by denying them access to foreign talent, America will fall behind in innovation. Cross-cultural exchange is important to growth.
It isn’t clear how the new laws will affect individuals applying for H1-B visas in practice. H1-B attorneys at Kuck Immigration Partners in Atlanta are watching the situation closely. If you have questions about the process or changes to the law, it may be wise to speak to an immigration attorney skilled in handling H1-B visas.