President Donald Trump has ordered his deputies to issue regulations to stop companies from using H-1B workers as cheap-labor substitutes for American graduates.
- “His goal here is to ensure that businesses, as they rehire coming out of the coronavirus economic hit, that they have to hire American workers first,”
- The regulation change is being announced on June 22 alongside an executive order that reduces the inflow of blue-collar and white-collar migrants into U.S. jobs.
- The regulation change is huge because it will allow hundreds of thousands of young Americans to get starter jobs in the software and accounting sectors, said reform advocates.
The draft regulation says that each year’s supply of 85,000 H-1B visas will be given to the companies that offer the highest salaries, and it says all H-1B employees must be paid above median wages.
That draft regulation is being fought tooth-and-nail by Fortune 500 companies because it will deliver a huge pay increase to American graduates. In 2017, for example, 65 percent of H-1B workers were paid fair below-median wages for working jobs in New York, according to federal data collected by SAITJ.org.
“Basically, we’re going to get rid of the 17 [percentile tier] and 30 [percentile tier] and set it at the 50th percentile … [or] tier three. And the intent here is to eliminate the bottom two tiers from a pay standpoint to open up those jobs for Americans,” Cuccinelli told Breitbart News June 22.
The policy also tells the Department of Labor to rewrite the Labor Condition Application (LCA) regulatory process. This is important because companies must get an approved LCA before they can request H-1B visas from DHS.
President Donald Trump’s plan to restrict employment-based visas could affect an estimated 240,000 people seeking to work in the U.S. across industries from technology to finance and hospitality.
Trump said in a Fox News interview Saturday that he will announce new restrictions on various work visas Sunday or Monday. The plan won’t affect certain workers who are already in the U.S., he added.
There will be very few exclusions, Trump said, when asked about upcoming rules on several different visa categories, including the H-1B program for high-skilled workers, the L-1 program for managers transferring within their companies, and H-2B visas for non-agricultural temporary workers.
“In some cases you have to have exclusions. You need them for big businesses where they have certain people that have been coming in for a long time,” he said.
One possibility under consideration would restrict people from entering the U.S. on visa categories including the H-1B program for as long as 180 days, Bloomberg News reported June 12, citing two people familiar with the proposal. Workers who were granted those visas but remain outside the country may not be able to enter until the order expires.
In the past few years, the administration has been moving to tighten the H-1B program, and the approval rate for applications has fallen. The technology industry has relied on H-1B visas to hire foreign talent, particularly in the fields of science and engineering. Critics say some companies have abused the program to displace American workers.