LOUSVILLE and LEXINGTON, Kentucky. The Trump administration, in an effort to crack down on H1-B visa abuses, is increasing enforcement and oversight of the H1-B visa program. While the H1-B visa is often associated with the tech sector, other fields qualify for the H1-B visa program. Any job requiring at least a bachelor’s degree in a “specialty occupation” can qualify for the H1-B visa program. This includes scientists, teachers, and yes, computer scientists and engineers.
Critics of the H1-B visa program claim that it disadvantages American workers, while supporters of the program claim that it increases multicultural exchange, increases America’s ability to compete on a global stage, and allows for the ready transfer of skills.
According to The Hill, one of the measures to increase oversight will be more site visits to companies hiring employees using the H1-B visa program. The higher proportion of H1-B workers a company has, the more likely the company may be targeted for a site visit.
President Trump’s policies and politics regarding highly skilled immigrants has involved mixed messages. At times, the president’s language critiqued the program, while at other times, the president suggested that tech companies might be made to pay higher costs to participate in the program.
What changes has the program undergone? For one, new guidelines make it more difficult for computer programmers to qualify for visas. This may not impact the tech sector too much, though. Most workers for the major tech companies apply as computer engineers, not computer programmers. As it stands, according to CNN, the changes to the program hurt outsourcing companies the most. Critics of outsourcing firms claim that they “flood the system” and then hire out workers to tech companies, sometimes at a lower cost, which could hurt American workers.
Another concern is for spouses of H1-B workers awaiting their green cards. While no changes have yet been made, the Department of Homeland Security is considering whether it should revoke a program that gives spouses the right to work while their partner’s green card application is in process. As it stands, U.S. immigration law has been criticized for not giving the wives and partners of H1-B visa holders the right to work. According to the Guardian, this system leads to thousands of highly-skilled, but dependent housewives and spouses, who come to the U.S., but who cannot contribute their skills.
Fortunately, there are many options available for employment-based immigration. From the TN visa to the PERM process, workers have several options when it comes to immigrating to the U.S. The O’Brien Law Group are immigration lawyers in Kentucky who work closely with individuals who want to work in the U.S.
Whether you are an employer seeking to hire a foreign worker, or a worker looking to move to the U.S., it is important to follow immigration processes precisely. Even a small error can lead to delays or denials. If you are considering employment-based immigration, contact the O’Brien Law Group to learn more about your options.