Foreign worker visas for highly-skilled workers, or H-1B visas, have been used by employers to bring in foreign workers at a fraction of the cost of an American worker and the Trump administration is making initial moves to shut down fraud in the system.
“The Trump administration will be enforcing laws protecting American workers from discriminating hiring factors,” said press secretary Sean Spicer at his briefing Monday.
United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced Monday greater scrutiny of the H-1B program, which recently began accepting applications for the lottery that will award visas for 2018. The government will increase “site visits,” they said, to “determine whether H-1B dependent employers are evading their obligation to make a good faith effort to recruit U.S. workers.”
The H-1B visa program should help U.S. companies recruit highly-skilled foreign nationals when there is a shortage of qualified workers in the country. Yet, too many American workers who are as qualified, willing, and deserving to work in these fields have been ignored or unfairly disadvantaged. Protecting American workers by combating fraud in our employment-based immigration programs is a priority for USCIS.
The move follows the publication on Friday of a USCIS memo indicating the need to increase scrutiny of H-1B visas given to computer programmers in particular by requiring that the visa request indicates specific and specialized skills the programmer must possess.
The fact that a person may be employed as a computer programmer and may use information technology skills and knowledge to help an enterprise achieve its goals in the course of his or her job is not sufficient to establish the position as a specialty occupation.
The Department of Justice issued a stern warning Monday.
“The Justice Department will not tolerate employers misusing the H-1B visa process to discriminate against U.S. workers,” said Tom Wheeler, the acting assistant attorney general at the DOJ’s civil rights division.
Silicon Valley and technology consulting services both heavily use foreign engineers for software development, installation and configuration and will feel the policy change to the largest degree.