President Trump is garnering a lot of attention about construction of a wall at the southern border to curb illegal immigration. Unfortunately, the press is largely ignoring the negative impact of recent changes in how the USCIS selects H-1B applications. These restrictions in policy mostly impact Indian and Chinese Nationals which are the two groups that have been granted the largest number of H-1B visas in recent years. The IT industry in the US particularly relies upon Indian workers to fill gaps in the technology industry.
Since April 2016, US employers are finding it more difficult to secure work visas for foreign nationals in STEM fields under Trump’s “Buy American, Hire American” Executive Order. Under these policies, only the most highly-skilled foreign workers or the highest paid H-1B beneficiaries are given priority over lesser-skilled and lower paid workers.
The National Foundation for American Policy (NFAP) recently reported that compared to prior years, the Department of Homeland Security has issued many more Denials and Requests for Evidence (RFEs) for visa applications. These moves require time and money for the employer and beneficiary to re-open the application and/or provide additional documentation. Meanwhile, focus on one’s current work is derailed and new contracts for work may be awarded to foreign (or other U.S.) companies unencumbered by these administrative impediments.
The ability to Premium Process, whereby a potential beneficiary pays an extra fee for an expedited visa application decision, has also been curtailed. This restriction affects H-1B visa applicants who are changing employers or changing a work location with the same employer. The change, which took effect in August 2018, ended in February 2019. For companies, this could result in financial losses as projects get delayed because the most qualified person for the job is an H-1B visa applicant waiting for authorization to work in the United States.
A new Labor Condition Application Form (LCA) (which has been required since Fall), is hampering the hiring ability of H-1B dependent employers. The new LCA reveals more information about job positions, salaries, and work locations of potential H-1B beneficiaries compared to the prior LCA. The result has been that employers may be compelled to hire highly-skilled foreign workers at a much higher salary than they would pay U.S. workers. This new LCA appears to be an additional strategy to buttress Trump’s “Buy American, Hire American” policies.
Not all the news about the H-1B process is discouraging. A proposed change to the H-1B Lottery system will confer a distinct advantage to a specific sub-set of H-1B applicants. The newly proposed H-1B lottery will reverse the order by which it selects H-1B petitions under the H-1B CAP and the advanced degree exemption, thereby increasing the chance for an H-1B visa applicant with a Master’s Degree (or higher) to be selected over an H-1B visa applicant with the equivalence of a U.S. Bachelor’s Degree. The advantage to the U.S. employer is an obvious one; individuals with better training and advanced education will be granted the ability to stay and work in the U.S.
For more information about the H-1B non-immigrant visa classification, please feel free to reach out to the U.S. Immigration and Nationality lawyers at NPZ Law Group at firstname.lastname@example.org In the alternative, please visit our website at https://www.visaserve.com or call us at 201-670-0006 (ext. 107).