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Government Plans Restrictions and Tightening on H-1B Visas

The Trump administration is stating that it will toughen regulatory enforcement of the H-1B visa program, which allows U.S. businesses to employ foreign professional workers temporarily. Monday, April 4th,  was the beginning of H-1B “cap season,” when employers filed applications for a limited number of H-1B visas. U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) marked the occasion by announcing it would investigate and prosecute vigorously any companies that have broken the rules.

This primarily refers to the placement of employees in different positions than stated on their H-1B applications, or paying them less salary than stated.  An article on our website describes how employers can protect themselves and their employees by filing an H-1B amendment when there is a change in an H-1B employee’s position, work location or salary.

H-1B site investigations were commenced around 2 years ago under the Obama Administration, but are being increased under the new Administration.  They are necessary to protect against H-1B fraud.

In addition, USCIS issued a memo Friday that said “computer programmer” would no longer be considered automatically an H-1B “specialty occupation” absent additional information.  As pointed out in an article by Politico, The main losers appear to be outsourcing firms, which have become somewhat notorious recently for replaced U.S. IT workers with H-1B guest workers at large companies such as Southern California Edison and Disney.  Outsourcing companies, many of them headquartered in India, including Tata Consultancy, Cognizant and Infosys, use up huge numbers of the H-1B visas available annually.  USCIS plans to focus its work-site visits on companies that employ H-1B visa holders who work elsewhere, (outsourcers) and will pay close attention to businesses that employ large numbers of H-1B visa holders.

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