Change may be coming to the H-1B temporary work visa program.
A proposal is in the works for early 2019. If passed, it would change several aspects of how the H-1B program qualifies foreign workers.
Send Only Your ‘Best and Brightest': What’s Ahead for H-1B Visas – Bloomberg Law
The abstract of the proposed change reads as follows:
"The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) will propose to revise the definition of specialty occupation to increase focus on obtaining the best and the brightest foreign nationals via the H-1B program, and revise the definition of employment and employer-employee relationship to better protect U.S. workers and wages. In addition, DHS will propose additional requirements designed to ensure employers pay appropriate wages to H-1B visa holders."
Right now, H-1B visa guidelines use degrees as foundational qualifications. This is a loophole that many offshoring firms exploit by "rubber stamping" bachelor's degrees for thousands of foreign workers every year & shipping them off to the U.S.
The proposal would change from using degrees to using skill classifications. Making it more about the "best and brightest," like the O-1 Visa program. It would also grant the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services Dept. (USCIS) more control over the H-1B lottery, to prevent large offshoring firms like Tata from monopolizing the lottery pool.
(At this time, the proposal does not appear to change the maximum number of H-1B visas granted.)
If enacted, this program change would have several immediate effects:
- Offshoring firms would lose the near-exclusive pipeline they've had for funneling thousands of foreign workers into our economy.
- The overall quality of H-1B workers coming in would improve.
- Major U.S. corporations would have a tougher time replacing American IT workers with H-1Bs.
- The DHS and USCIS could exercise greater discretion on who gets an H-1B visa.
All of these sound like great things to us. What about you?
The proposal should begin its approval process in January 2019. We'll keep an eye out for its hopefully-swift adoption.
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