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H-1B Visa Applications Are Grinding to a Halt as President Trump Changes Policies

Looking Abroad for Talent

Sometimes a company can’t find the right person to fill a position. They advertise and try to headhunt talent from other local businesses. They interview candidate after candidate, and the company can’t find the right person. So, what can this company do? They broaden their search to another city, and sometimes this search leads to cities in other countries. The education and experience necessary may lie abroad; sometimes a developing field or new technology grows in another country, and Americans can use that expertise to succeed. That’s when human resource departments start pursuing H-1B visa applications.

Changes to H-1B Visa Applications

Recently, on April 18, Donald Trump signed an executive order that will change the way H-1B visa applications can move forward. According to the USA Today, the executive order doesn’t have much information, but it sets forth an initiative to make getting H-1B visas more difficult. The order asks government agencies to come up with reforms that will make H-1B visa applications available to more highly skilled and highly paid workers. Trump has stated that the current lottery system for awarding H-1B visas is “wrong,” and his directive will change the way immigration handles applications and the way they award visas.

What Might Happen

The way these changes will take place are not yet known. What is known, is that Trump wants to ensure that these visas will be harder and more expensive for companies to get. Some of the changes may include creating an auction type system. A company offering the highest salary will get the visa. For example, a company wants to pay someone $60,000 for a position. Another company wants to pay $200,000 for the same position. The company that offers the highest salary will win. This will make sure that companies who need to source employees from outside the country will put their money where their mouths are.

Right now, the administration believes companies are trying to save money by paying lower wages to people from countries where a lower wage in the United States far exceeds anything they would make in their home countries. Also, levels of education and qualifications will be an issue when choosing who immigration favors in H-1B visa applications. The new system may grant preferential treatment to someone with a doctorate over someone with a masters degree. Of course, this means the system will prefer someone with a masters degree over a bachelor’s degree, and so on.

Who Will The Changes Affect?

The largest industry that will be affected is the tech industry. The New York Times reported that on April 3, 2017, the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services would no longer automatically accept computer programming jobs as a special position for H-1B visa applications. For years, the tech industry has relied on bringing in workers from other countries. Historically, companies have looked to India for years when outsourcing programmers.

Tech companies are not the only ones that will see things change. These changes will touch every industry in some way by the restriction of visas. One industry, in particular, visa expediting services, will feel the crunch. An article published on ProPublica notes that currently outsourcing companies and companies that offer premium processing services may soon be out of luck. Expediting services are losing money every day right now. On top of that, the USCIS will lose up to $100 million is fees.

Not a Surprising Time for Trump’s Decision

Trump campaigned on making it more difficult for employers to hire from abroad, and it looks like he is following his word on this issue. The timing of this announcement comes right after the USCIS started accepting H-1B visa applications for next year, 2018. No one knows how far the changes will go. Developments are expected to come quickly before applications can be reviewed under the current criteria. Those wishing to see if they are currently eligible for an H-1B visa can go to the USCIS website and fill out a questionnaire. Unfortunately, the answers to your query may change very soon.

Get Help Now

If you are an employee who needs help with your H-1B visa application, or if you are an employer who needs assistance getting the talent you need, work with an experienced immigration attorney that deals with H-1B visas. Times are changing, visa processes are changing, and we can help. Contact Pozo Goldstein today.