The H1-B season officially starts on April 1st and with the new Trump administration making promises to “crack down” on the visa application process a lot of people are wondering where the cards are going to fall.
Like a lot of things in politics right now, there’s not a whole lot of certainty which can definitely be rough for the folks whose futures rely on H1-B approval.
Here’s what we do know—there are a few bills that have been introduced that may shed some light on the direction that the reform may take.
A bill that was introduced a few months ago submitted by Rep. Darrell Issa, Protect and Grow American Act suggests the following:
- The bill is intends to crack down on companies that are unfairly outsourcing positions to foreign workers at the expense of American workers.
- The new requirements for pay will be 100K per worker. If the rate falls below that then the company will have to prove that they couldn’t hire an American for the same position.
- The bill indicates that the requirements would impact companies that have at least 50 employees and 15% of which are made up of foreign workers.
- The visa system would rely on a lottery system.
Rep. Chuck Grassley and Rep. Richard Durbin submitted H1-B and L-1 Visa Reform Act which indicates the following:
- Prevents companies with more than 50 employees that already have half of their workers with an H1-B or L-1 Visa from hiring additional H1–B workers.
- Eliminates the lottery system and gives priority to foreign students that are enrolled in the US, individuals with advanced degrees, and those with especially high skills.
In another bill presented by Rep. Zoe Lofgren, High-Skilled Integrity and Fairness Act of 2017 suggests the following:
- Visas would be awarded to employers who offer their workers the highest salaries.
- Eliminates limits based on country of origin
- Sets aside 20% of the visa cap for startups so that smaller businesses can compete for skilled workers
- Makes it easier for temporary and student visa holders by building a bridge between F-1 student status to Lawful Permanent Residence.
- Removes unnecessary paperwork to simplify the application process
There’s a lot buzzing around about what the outcome will actually be, but so far these are the talking points. A lot of the reforms focus on making the process a bit harder for companies to hire H1-B workers in the hopes that it will attract more American workers with the same type of skills. But, the other side of the argument is that there simply aren’t enough American workers for these type of jobs (usually meaning IT positions).
There’s a lot of waiting and seeing what happens next, but time is running out for making those changes since April 1 is only a few days away. In the meantime, if you are looking for some help with immigration law, check out our websiteWe have several qualified immigration attorneys that can answer questions and offer specific guidance for folks who are impacted.