The Latest News on The Administrations H-1B Visa Plans
Last Tuesday, the Administration issued a new executive order which called for a review of the current H-1B non-immigrant visa program. The H-1B non-immigrant visa allows employers here in the US to hire skilled employees from other countries for a limited length of time (typically between three to six years) which allow these workers and their families to live and work in the United States. Both during the campaign and in the first few months in office the administration has regularly criticized the H-1B program for allegedly costing US Citizens jobs and driving down wages for American workers. However, no specific policy proposals have yet been made.
The new executive order does not propose or enact any specific policies but does seem to indicate a general direction in how the administration plans to change the implementation of the H-1B program. The order calls for a review of the entire program but specifically mentions the current skill requirements for non-immigrant workers and for a further review of the way the prevailing wage is calculated by the labor department. This would seem to indicate that there are plans to significantly increase both of these requirements to make it more difficult and expensive to hire foreign workers using the H-1B program.
Most of the proposals currently “under review” are administrative decisions on how to implement the law in general and as such do not require the administration to go through congress to enact. Thus making it possible that they could be quickly enacted, without requiring legislation, if the administration so chose. These proposals could potentially trigger a lawsuit to halt their implementation if they are too extreme of a change, make the H-1B program impossible to use, or fail to have a rational basis for their enactment. However otherwise the administration would have wide authority and discretion to act most likely leading to major changes in the implementation of this program which will make it less attractive to employers.
As of right now no specific policy changes have actually been announced and the most recent group of 2018 applications are unlikely to be affected by any future changes in policy. We will be continuing to monitor this issue for further developments.