H-1B Visa: Trump administration’s proposed changes & How will it effect Indian students
There is a change in H1 B visa process due to a Trump presidency and See below how will it effect Indian students.
I believe this is one of the areas Trump will be forced to compromise on with his previous statements.
As Ann Cun stated, he mentioned H1 B as a bad program. This was because he was speaking from the perspective of the average American worker. To those people, H1 B represents the country’s best jobs going to non-citizens for the convenience of wealthy corporations.
Let’s be sensible here. Here’s what we know for a fact:
- In March 2016, he stated that his businesses had used the H-1B visa but that he didn’t think the program should be continued. He vowed to end it one or two years into his administration. (Remember, this was before the primary election where he became the Republican nominee.)
- Then, on 8/31/2016, Trump gave a speech about his 10-Point Immigration Plan, which was detailed on the Wall Street Journal on 9/1/2016 here and on PBS here. In this position, he talks about wanting to boost wages of H-1B workers and imposing a labor market test for employers before they can petition for a foreign worker. Read more details here. (I think this might be a more accurate picture of what he intends to do during his administration.
President-Elect Trump will be sworn into office on January 20, 2017. How the H-1B program will be impacted thereafter will largely be based on what changes he plans on executing:
- Keep the H-1B program but raise the bar: Depending on the scope of the changes, those changes to the program can possibly be implemented through internal memos within the federal agency (President tells DHS how to do their jobs). For example, a requirement that employers meet 125% of prevailing wage for each petition could potentially be quickly executable. There is already a prevailing wage requirement, so asking employers to meet a certain amount of the wage is not necessary a new requirement. However, a more burdensome requirement such as requiring employers to first conduct a labor market test prior to filing a petition with USCIS might require public notice and comment before a final rule can be enacted according to the law. This is because there is no requirement currently that imposes a labor test by employers. The timeline for rollout of changes would vary depending on the method for implementation.
- Get rid of the H-1B program entirely: The reason why the H-1B program exists is based on the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA), a statute passed by Congress. To get rid of the program entirely, Congress would need to amend the INA. The President could submit a bill and if the Senate and House passed by simple majority, the bill could be signed and enacted into law. Because there is a majority of Republicans in the Senate and the House for this upcoming term, this could theoretically happen. Though, it’s unlikely that one single bill designed to get rid of the H-1B program would exist by itself. It will likely be encumbered with a bunch of other programs for a more comprehensive like immigration reform bill. If that happens, we’re talking at least a few months for somebody to draft something this complex.
As an aside, our government has checks and balances. The above analysis only focuses on the legal possibility. There are many other factors such as business lobbying groups. If the law wasn’t followed or if there are other legal issues, you’ll bet lawsuits will be filed to prevent the law from being implemented.
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