What is the status of the H-1B foreign tech worker visa program?

Over the last year or so, there has been much uncertainty surrounding the United States H-1B foreign worker Visa program. The H-1B Visa program is the largest guest worker program in the US. It is provides some of the most highly skilled technical workers in the country.

As recently as January 2018, the Department of Homeland Security is considering prevention of H-1B extensions. Not only would this move put at risk the hundreds of thousand of people working on H-1B visas but it could also put at risk US companies. More than half of the tech employees in Silicon Valley work under the H-1B program. About half of those working under the H-1B program are Indian nationals. The potential changes would have massive impacts and they would not be positive.

What are the Proposed Changes?

Essentially, the issue comes down to language in the law. H-1B recipients come to the US to work on a three to six year visa. Once they are in the US, the workers then apply for their Green Card. Under the current interpretation of the law, the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service may issue H-1B extensions to workers once their Green Card application process has begun. The reason for this is because the application process for a Green Card can take a decade or longer to complete. The potential change is that H-1B extensions will no longer be allowed.

This also complicates issues for spouses and families. Presently, a spouse can remain in the US if the H-1B worker is gainfully employed. Proposed changes would require the spouse to leave the US if they, too, do not have gainful employment.

What Are The impacts of This Potential Change?

If the changes were to occur, then upwards of one million H-1B workers might have to leave the US while their Green Card applications are still pending. Many of these guest workers have been waiting for their Green Cards for over a decade. Many of these workers have bought homes and have US citizen children. Making these changes would result in complete and utter chaos.

The current administration is taking a hard stance on immigration, even on legal immigrants in the US. But as things stand right now, you should not worry too much about your status as an H-1B worker. The Department of Homeland Security has made clear that any proposed changes would take time to be implemented. To date, there is no information that any proposed changes are moving forward. That isn’t to say things won’t change; it simply means we are holding steady for now.

Get Legal Help Today

If you are employed in the US under the H-1B Visa guest worker program, you need to make sure your legal rights are in tact. You need the services of experienced and skilled US immigration attorneys. Having the right team of legal experts on your side is of the utmost importance during this uncertain time. Contact our office today to speak with an immigration attorney at NPZ Law Group. We’ll help ensure you and your family know your rights and are protected.

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