Immigration reform, including changes to the H-1B visa program for highly skilled foreigners, was a centerpiece of then-candidate Donald Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign. Since the inauguration, the Trump Administration has taken a number of actions aimed at the H-1B program, including an April 18 Executive Order (E.O.) that, among other things, directs federal departments to crack down on H-1B visa fraud and abuse.
Even before the Executive Order was issued, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), a unit of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), as well as the Departments of Justice (DOJ) and Labor (DOL), had already taken actions that impact the H-1B program, including but not limited to:
- An announcement by USCIS that it will conduct “more targeted” site visits to the workplaces of H-1B petitioners;
- Notices from DOJ and DOL sent to employers that use H-1B visas that there will be increased focus on protecting American workers from discrimination;
- The suspension of expedited H-1B petitions for six months starting on April 3, 2017; and
- The rescission by USCIS of prior guidance that designated computer programmer as a specialty occupation for H-1B visas.
In addition, bipartisan legislation has been introduced in Congress that would overhaul the H-1B system in many ways, including eliminating the lottery system and making sure the program favors foreigners with U.S. degrees.
Given these developments, NT Lakis attorney have created a guide to the administration’s recent H-1B related actions, including analysis of what they mean from a practical perspective.
Members of the Equal Employment Advisory Council (EEAC) can read more here.