In a move that is being seen as a setback for Indians, Trump administration issued new guidelines tightening rules for H-1B immigration visas on Tuesday. These visas are widely used by by tech firms for drawing skilled workforce from other countries including India. The Trump administration claims that the new rules would benefit American workers.
The US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced new regulations for H-1B visas for highly skilled workers, which facilitate the entry of up to 85,000 immigrants annually.
The Trump admin is putting America first by protecting American workers. @DHSgov and @USDOL is combating the use of H-1B workers serving as a low-cost replacement for otherwise qualified American workers. https://t.co/MTnxt3XzOs pic.twitter.com/KCWpIWDg5T
— Homeland Security (@DHSgov) October 6, 2020
A statement issued by the US Department of Homeland Security said, “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.”
“We have entered an era in which economic security is an integral part of homeland security. Put simply, economic security is homeland security. In response, we must do everything we can within the bounds of the law to make sure the American worker is put first,” said Acting Secretary Chad Wolf.
“The Department of Homeland Security is honored to take this important step toward putting Americans first and to continue to implement President Trump’s agenda to keep our economy secure,” Wolf added.
The new rule will:
- Narrow the definition of “specialty occupation” as Congress intended by closing the overbroad definition that allowed companies to game the system;
- Require companies to make “real” offers to “real employees,” by closing loopholes and preventing the displacement of the American worker; and,
- Enhance DHS’s ability to enforce compliance through worksite inspections and monitor compliance before, during, and after an H1-B petition is approved.
“This IFR will be effective 60 days after its publication in the Federal Register. United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), a component of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), is forgoing the regular notice and comment period to immediately ensure that employing H-1B workers will not worsen the economic crisis caused by COVID-19 and adversely affect wages and working conditions of similarly employed U.S. workers. The pandemic’s economic impact is an “obvious and compelling fact” that justifies good cause to issue this IFR,” the statement issued by DHS said.
The H-1B visa program has been widely used by firms based out of Silicon Valley firms to bring in engineers and other skilled workers from foreign nations including India.
Saying it will “will negatively impact the H1-B and similar nonimmigrant worker visa programs”, TechNet, a trade group which includes many Silicon Valley firms, denounced the new regulations.
Read TechNet President and CEO @LindaMooreDC‘s statement on why the new #H1B rules issued by the administration will negatively impact our #economy and harms #America‘s ability to recover from the #pandemic during this critical time https://t.co/4e3pNIDJ75
— TechNet (@TechNetUpdate) October 6, 2020
“Last week, the US District Court for the Northern District of California ruled against the administration’s order attempting to end categories of visas and now, this week, the administration is flouting the court’s ruling by issuing different rules to try to obtain the result it wants. Changing the requirements around H-1B and other work visas will only hurt American companies that depend on high-skilled workers who fill critical positions while we work to grow our domestic STEM pipeline,” TechNet President and CEO Linda Moore said.
“This new rule only harms America’s ability to recover from the pandemic during this critical time and has zero impact on increasing domestic American jobs,” Linda added.
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