Changes Are Coming to the H-1B Visa Program

How might new policies impede the use of H-1B visas?

The H-1B visa program has long served the vital purpose of allowing U.S. companies to recruit talented employees from overseas, while offering foreigners a chance to start a new career in America.  Each year, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) awards 85,000 H-1B visas to those seeking to enter the U.S. to work for a specific company.  While 85,000 applications are accepted, thousands more are shut out due to the visa cap. Last year, over 200,000 H-1B visa applications were received within the first week of the program’s opening.  Now, prospective H-1Bs and employers who are looking to bring-in foreign employees need to brace for changes coming to the H-1B visa program.  

“The Buy American, Hire American” Executive Order.

Traditionally, the tech industry has been among the top supporter of the H-1B visa program.  Many former H-1B visa holders have found successful corporations in the U.S.  Tech giants like Amazon, Google, and Microsoft recruit thousands of foreign employees through the H-1B visa program every year.  Foreign employees have filled a vital need for highly-skilled tech employees.

However, President Trump’s Executive Order entitled “Buy American, Hire American” has created difficulties for tech companies seeking to hire through the H-1B program.  The new policy signed last April directed the Department of Homeland Security to only issue H-1B visas to the most skilled or highest paid applicants.  Tech companies are reporting higher levels of denial of H-1B Petitions than in previous years.

The Trump Administration further stalled H-1B visas by passing an initiative to suspend the premium processing of H-1B petitions.  Now, employers filing an H-1B petition on behalf of employees changing locations or employers are not eligible for premium processing.  This has greatly slowed down the processing of H-1B visas.

Further, changes are coming to the H-1B system.  Several new initiatives are aimed at providing international students with masters and other advanced degrees with a better chance of receiving an H-1B visa.  Caps on visa awards have been reversed so as to increase the number of H-1B beneficiaries with higher educational degrees.  Additionally, another new initiative is aimed at decreasing the amount of work for employers by requiring petitioners to first register electronically with the USCIS.  Employers can wait to provide supporting documentation before the selection process.  Employers needing assistance with adapting to these new H-1B policies should contact the experienced and well-reviewed immigration lawyers at NPZ Law Group, P.C.

For more information or to have a precise analysis made about whether or not your case will qualify as a H-1B nonimmigrant visa case we invite you to contact the u.s. business immigration and nationality lawyers and attorneys at the Nachman, Phulwani, Zimovcak (NPZ) Law Group, P.C. on the web at or by e-mailing us at or by calling us at 201-670-0006 (x107).