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Trump Administration Is Changing the H-1B Application Process

Since 2016, the Trump Administration has been executing many questionable and controversial immigration reforms. On November 30, 2018, the Department of Homeland Security released a new proposal that could modify the H-1B application process as early as January.

The H-1B visa is a popular and renewable work visa that’s valid for 3-6 years. Currently, 65,000 H-1B visas are granted each year, with another 20,000 specifically reserved for people with advanced degrees from American universities. Due to high demand, a lottery system was established to help interested applicants legally pursue employment opportunities in the United States. However, the Trump Administration believes that businesses are exploiting the H-1B visa policy to replace American workers with temporary foreign employees.

Under the new proposal, the current system is going to be completely flipped. All applicants, including those with advanced degrees, will be placed in a general pool to receive one of the 65,000 H-1B visas. Once this cap is filled, any remaining applicants with advanced degrees may be able to receive one of the 20,000 visas reserved specifically for degree-holders. This current policy is expected to increase the number of H-1B holders with degrees by 16%. Consequently, immigrants without degrees may find it more difficult to legally work in the United States.

This proposal also states that the H-1B registration and selection process will be moved online. Ideally, online registration should make the process simpler and more effective by trimming down application paperwork. However, it does create limitations for any applicants who lack convenient internet access.

Changes to H-4 Visas

The USCIS issues H-4 visas to immediate family members (spouses and children) of H-1B visa holders. These visas are intended to help keep families together when immigrant employees come to work in the United States. However, the Department of Homeland Security is currently trying to prevent certain H-4 spouses from being eligible for employment authorization and work permits. If passed, this policy is expected to impact over 70,000 H-4 visa holders, most of whom are women and Indian-Americans.

The Impact on Tech Companies

Each year, technology companies in the United States hire thousands of employees from China and India. Back in October, The Economic Times released an article, “Trump Administration to Propose Major Changes in H-1B Visas,” that explains how these visa reforms are expected to impact tech companies: “The Trump administration has said it is planning to ‘revise’ the definition of employment and specialty occupations under the H-1B visas by January, a move which will have an adverse impact on Indian IT companies in the US and small and medium-sized contractual firms mostly owned by Indian-Americans.” However, on a slightly positive note, the Department of Homeland Security is proposing additional requirements to guarantee that American employers pay “appropriate wages” to H-1B visa holders.

Have Questions? Contact an Experienced Attorney Today

We are living in very uncertain political times. It’s extremely important that all hopeful migrants, undocumented immigrants, and naturalized citizens understand their legal rights and stay updated on fluctuating immigration policies. Contact the San Mateo immigration lawyer at The Alagiri Immigration Law Firm if you have any questions regarding your visa application or immigration status. Our experienced attorney can address your concerns and explain how upcoming changes to the H-1B application process may affect your immigration case.

We’ve been helping clients achieve their immigration goals since 2005! Contact The Alagiri Immigration Law Firm, the “Best Boutique Immigration Law Firm in California,” at (650) 931-2509 to schedule a consultation.