The Trump administration is reportedly slated to amp up the scrutiny of H-1B visa applications.
This warning comes off the heels of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), during the first eight months of the year, having reportedly requested additional information from 85,000 applicants. This rate is 45 percent higher than last year, even though those applying for the H-1B has only increased by three percent.
Many see these USCIS challenges as a way for Trump to greatly reduce the amount of visas being doled out. After all, while out on the campaign trail for the presidency, Trump noted that he was concerned that too many skilled worker visas were being awarded. At the time, he noted that it was his belief that American companies were using the H-1B visa program to import lower-paying immigrants to avoid paying Americans fairly.
As for employers, such as colleges, tech startups and hospitals, they argue that they're simply looking to bring in employees to fill vacancies requiring specialized expertise. They note that many Americans don't have the necessary qualifications to fill these roles.
To qualify for an H-1B visa, one of the minimum requirements is that the employee has a Bachelor's degree. They also have to be willing to work a minimum of three years in their area of specialization. Most positions filled are in the technology sector.
President Obama has repeatedly been accused of issuing too many H-1B visas during his administration. Despite the increase in challenges, most analysts say that they're unsure if a significantly lower amount of applications will ultimately be approved. The fact that only 59 percent of all applications have been approved so far this year versus 87 percent last year does raise some questions.
Representatives from both parties expressed concern that those that often benefit the most in the H-1B visa awarding process is outsourcing firms. It's believed they too often hire foreign employees to hold lower level positions that Americans could easily perform. New legislation is pending in Congress to ensure that only the most skilled workers are issued these types of visas.
If you believe you possess the necessary qualifications to qualify for an H-1B visa, a New Orleans employment-based immigration attorney may be able to advise you of your prospects of getting approved for it.
Source: Reuters, "Trump administration red tape tangles up visas for skilled foreigners, data shows," Yageneh Torbati, Sep. 20, 2017