The Next Harmful Move Against H-1B Visas

Left to their own preferences, it seems Trump Administration officials would not allow any H-1B visa holders to work in the United States. For the past two years, every administration measure on high-skilled immigration has made life more difficult for high-skilled foreign nationals and their employers – and there is more to come.

As part of its regulatory agenda, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has pledged to enact a new rule that has gone largely unnoticed. The rule would limit who would qualify for an H-1B visa and also restrict which companies would be eligible for an H-1B based on the “employer-employee relationship.” This matters because an H-1B visa is typically the only practical way for an international student or a high-skilled foreign national to work long-term in the United States.

While the regulation has not been issued yet by DHS, it has been given a title: “Strengthening the H-1B Nonimmigrant Visa Classification Program.” Here is how DHS summarizes the future rule: “The Department of Homeland Security will propose to revise the definition of specialty occupation to increase focus on obtaining the best and the brightest foreign nationals via the H-1B program, and revise the definition of employment and employer-employee relationship to better protect U.S. workers and wages. In addition, DHS will propose additional requirements designed to ensure employers pay appropriate wages to H-1B visa holders.”

I interviewed a number of immigration attorneys to get a more accurate picture of what this regulation will look like and its potential impact on workers, employers and the U.S. economy.

“This is another in a long line of attempts by the Trump Administration to circumvent Congress and the required legislative process and unilaterally make changes to curtail skilled immigration to the United States,” said Noah Klug, principal, the Klug Law Firm. He doesn’t believe it is within the authority of the Department of Homeland Security to “revise the definition of specialty occupation.”

By Stuart Anderson for FORBES
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