Thursday, April 6, 2017

Tech Worries Over Changes to High-Skilled Visas

The Trump Administration is beginning to impose Restrictions on Visas for Foreign workers, creating new uncertainty for the Tech industry.

The White House appeared poised to enact sweeping new Restrictions on Worker Visas earlier this year, when Vox obtained a draft Executive Order with a slew of Policy Changes under consideration. The Draft said the Policies were aimed at prioritizing "the interests of American workers and -- to the maximum degree possible -- the jobs, wages, and well-being of those workers."

That Executive Order was never issued, but it appears that some of the ideas it contained are now winding their way into the Trump Administration.

Without fanfare, the Department of Homeland Security's U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services issued a Policy Memo that would make it harder for Companies to fill computer programmer positions with workers on H-1B Visas. The Memo stated that being a computer programmer is no longer sufficient to qualify as a "specialty occupation."

The Agency followed up by announcing that it would begin to crack down on H-1B Visa abuses by conducting targeted site Visits to Companies with a high proportion of high-skilled Visas in their workforce.

"The H-1B visa program should help U.S. companies recruit highly-skilled foreign nationals when there is a shortage of qualified workers in the country," the Agency said. "Yet, too many American workers who are as qualified, willing, and deserving to work in these fields have been ignored or unfairly disadvantaged."

In a separate release, the Department of Justice said that it "will not tolerate employers misusing the H-1B visa process to discriminate against U.S. workers."

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