Trump Administration issued regulations that will remove the insensitive to apply for asylum for the purpose of obtaining authorization to work in the US: White House
The main purpose of H-1B, H-2B, L and other work visas is to fill a vacuum of highly skilled, low cost employees in IT and other related domains. The US organization gives a specific number of visas every year which permits organizations from outside the US to send employees to work on customer sites. Among these work visas, the H-1B visa remains the most popular among Indian IT Companies.
The US government has a cap of 85,000 total H-1B visas for each year through the lottery system. Among these, 65,000 H-1B visas are issued to highly skilled foreign workers and the remaining 20,000 H-1B visas are additionally allotted to highly skilled foreign workers who have a post graduation Degree from an American University.
In yet another policy stance change on H-1B visa within six months, the Trump Administration on 6th October, 2020, said that it was announcing an “Interim Final Rule” which will ‘strengthen’ the non-immigrant work visa programme.
The Interim Final Rule will improve the accuracy of the prevailing wages paid to foreign workers by bringing them in line with the wages paid to similarly employed US workers.
This will ensure that the department more effectively protects the job opportunities and wages of American workers by removing the economic incentive to hire foreign workers on a permanent or temporary basis in the US over American workers.
The main purpose of imposing new restrictions by US Administration is to stop displacement of American employees and tighten the noose around campaigns taking advantage of loopholes in the exciting H-1B visa system.
The US government has made it mandatory for them to furnish additional documentations to prove that they are actually in need of the H-1B workers from overseas countries.
The White House asserted that these critical reforms will improve the quality of the H-1B problem without changing the annual statutory cap for H-1B visas. The Trump Administration is closing loopholes that have allowed employers in the United States to replace American workers with low cost foreign labour.
The White House also stated that: “To aid national’s recovery from the corona virus pandemic, the President placed a temporary pause on multiple categories of aliens from coming into the country for work. The Trump Administration issued regulations that will, once in effect, remove the insensitive to apply for asylum for the purpose of obtaining authorization to work in the United States of America.”
According to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), whose main job is to secure the US from the threat it faces, the H-1B work visa regime had over the years gone far beyond the command for which it was launched, frequently “to the hindrance of US laborers”.
Therefore, in order to bring back the integrity to the work visa regime, the DHS has announced some changes which would ensure that the H-1B petitioners are approved only for ‘qualified beneficiaries and petitioners’.
Certain changes are made on the H-1B visa. Firstly, DHS has specified that the new rule will narrow down the definition of what constitutes a ‘specialty occupation’. This means that companies and agencies which hire workers on H-1B visas will have a tough time proving to the immigration agencies, that such employees are not available from the domestic pool of US workers.
Second proposed change relates to the companies allegedly making fictitious work offering to fictitious employees just to fulfill their quota of H-1B visa applications approved. The US organization has in the past supposed that both Indian and the US based organizations have frequently given H-1B work visa offers to foreign employees ‘just on paper’, accordingly permitting them to avoid some piece of taxes, while likewise undercutting the jobs for qualified US laborers.
The third and final proposed rule change talks about better enforcement of the new H-1B norms will be announced later. Thus, the DHS said that the restrictions will be imposed through worksite inspections and monitoring compliance, before, during and after the H-1B work visa is approved.
Eugene Scalia, the US Secretary of Labour said that these changes will strengthen foreign worker programmes and secure American worker’s opportunities for stable and good paying jobs.
According to Acting Secretary Chad Wolf: “We have entered an era in which economic security is an integral part of homeland security. Put simply, economic security is homeland security. In response, we must do everything we can within the bounds of the law to make sure that the American worker is put first”.
Since, the DHS has proposed to narrow down the definition of what would constitute a ‘specialty occupation’; it is likely that the 65,000 visas issued every year through lottery system would be brought down significantly.
Though the Indian IT giants such as TCS, Infosys, Wipro, HCL and others have in the past insisted that they have reduced their dependence on H-1B visas to a large extent, but it would still mean that the number of workers they would either have to sell out more money to hire local talent or pay more to the existing H-1B work visa holders.
Author is a 4th year student at UPES, Dehradun