October 6, the Trump administration announced significant changes to the H-1B visa program for high-skilled workers, substantially raising the wages that U.S. companies must pay foreign hires and narrowing eligibility criteria for applicants. The press service of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security reports.
"The U.S. Department of Homeland Security announced an interim final rule (IFR) that strengthens the H-1B nonimmigrant visa program to protect U.S. workers, restores integrity to the H-1B program and better guarantees that H-1B petitions are approved only for qualified beneficiaries and petitioners".
The H-1B program was intended to allow employers to fill gaps in their workforce and remain competitive in the global economy, however, it has now expanded far beyond that, often to the detriment of U.S. workers.
Data shows that the more than a half-million H-1B nonimmigrants in the United States have been used to displace U.S. workers. This has led to reduced wages in a number of industries in the U.S. labor market and the stagnation of wages in certain occupations. These latest efforts on H-1B visas are part of a larger Trump Administration goal to protect American workers.
The new rules will be effective 60 days after its publication in the Federal Register. They, according to the ministry, will apply to a third of all foreigners who stay in the United States on the basis of work visas.
Once the new rules came into force, the definition of "specialty" would be narrowed, as the broad definition allowed companies to play around with the system. Employers will have to make a "real" job offers to American employees to prevent such workers from being replaced by foreign specialists.
In addition, the duration of the H-1B visa will be reduced to one year.
As it was reported earlier, US President Donald Trump signed a decree “Buy American, employ American workers,” which strengthens the protection of certain goods produced in America and calls for a revision of the H-1B visa program that promotes the work of highly qualified foreign specialists in the US in order to reform this program.
The decree was signed prior to consideration by Congress of the relevant bill on the reform of the working visas system for highly skilled H-1B workers.