H-1B Reform Still Lingers for Trump’s White House

H-1B Visa
H-1B Visa

Almost one year into Trump’s presidency, his administration’s promise of H-1B reform remains incomplete, despite the White House’s proposals to tighten processing standards.

A bipartisan bill introduced earlier this year tried to prevent abuse of H-1B visas. But according to records, the Keeping American Jobs Act is being shuffled between committees, and now sits with the subcommittee on immigration and border security.

That progress is a lot slower than many would like. Last year, then-candidate Donald Trump said that he would end the use of H-1B “as a cheap labor program, and institute an absolute requirement to hire American workers first for every visa and immigration program.”

Rather than sweeping change, however, the past year has seen a few policy tweaks and executive orders. The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) branch of the Department of Homeland Security has made renewal of an H-1B or L1 visa harder; the burden of proof for eligibility is now on the petitioner. According to the new policy, renewing a visa is much the same as getting one in the first place:

As before, adjudicators must thoroughly review the petition and supporting evidence to determine eligibility for the benefit sought. The updated guidance instructs officers to apply the same level of scrutiny when reviewing nonimmigrant visa extension requests even where the petitioner, beneficiary and underlying facts are unchanged from a previously approved petition.

While adjudicators may ultimately reach the same conclusion as in a prior decision, they are not compelled to do so as a default starting point as the burden of proof to establish eligibility for an immigration benefit always lies with the petitioner.

The previous policy instructed immigration officers to defer to the findings of a previously approved petition, as long as the key elements were unchanged and there was no evidence of a material error or fraud related to the prior determination. The updated policy guidance rescinds the previous policy.

Furthermore, the government may curtail a program that allows roughly 45,000 new foreign students to work in a STEM position for up to three years following graduation. This initiative, known as STEM OPT and meant as a hands-on externship (of sorts), began under President George W. Bush in 2008 and was continued by the Obama administration. That doesn’t directly affect the H-1B program (in fact, STEM OPT was designed for those who couldn’t obtain H-1B status), but it does show the current administration chipping away at the current immigration setup. 

As the government stalls on Obamacare changes and a new tax plan, H-1B reform (a hot-button issue for many in tech) is on the back-burner. Whatever happens, it’s not going to be popular among certain groups. Some feel H-1B is actually helping everyone, while others want fewer co-workers brought in from overseas. And given everything that’s going on (including the ever-growing threat of Mueller’s Russia probe finding its way to the President), it seems unlikely that reform will come before the end of the year.

59 Responses to “H-1B Reform Still Lingers for Trump’s White House”

  1. This Whitehouse and lesgislation has been unable to pass much of anything. I’ve pretty much given up on them accomplishing anything useful, and just hope they don’t cause too much damage before the next elections.

    • Martin Michaels

      It’s pretty hard to pass ANYTHING when Democrats (AND some Establishment Politicians of BOTH parties) and RINO’s) are at least attempting to block literally EVERYTHING you do.

      Considering all the President has had to fight, he has done a fantastic job. As an IT professional, no one wants H-1B reform more than I do since I must compete against people who will work for as little as half as I can afford to do.

      H-1Bs appear on the surface to be a bargain to IT managers. But when Americans can barely understand them, necessitating, even more Indians (most of them ARE Indians) to be on development teams, it is hard to see the “bargain” in my opinion.

      I have worked with some fine individuals who are H-1Bs, many of them perfectly understandable Indians, but I believe that American jobs should go to Americans FIRST. If an American (non-Hindi especially) were to go to India looking for work, he would be laughed out of the country.

      Trump has the right idea for America – America FIRST! But traitorous Democrats and RINOs who are lining their pockets with Lobbyist money from India and crooked American companies continue to fight any potential reform.

      • we need to nip the mass immigration visa mill from India. Indian comoanies applying for H1-B visa in BULK with fictitious names and replacing the name with real ones later. This process needs to be addressed. Americans are falling for this trickery!

        • East Indians are master of deception thru broken English. There are more than 1,000,000 holders of expired H1-B visas in this country. Approximately, only 1 in 10 go home after the visa expires. We are flooded with these Trojans out of the Horse in our country stealing jobs where there are plenty of unemployed Americans to fill the vacancies.

          The reason the government hasn’t done anything is because it may eliminate their Cash Cow via the Lobbyists. Now, we wouldn’t want to take under-the-table money away from a corrupt Congress, would we??? Wouldn’t we rather to have struggling unemployed Americans who created Information Technology in the first place??? If you are a consultant going from contract to contract, you can attest 99% of the consulting contracts are controlled by H1-Bs, many that use Americanized names with expired H1-B visas. Deception, deception, deception, our Federal Government loves it!!!!!

          Deception, like Mihindra tractors sitting on display at the Will Rogers auditorium in Fort Worth, TX. These had a small made in India data plate mounted on the left platform beneath the clutch petal. There was a very large deceptive “Made in USA” sticker pasted on some attached equipment. One assumes the entire piece of equipment was “Made in USA”. W R O N G!!!!!!!!!

          Our Government condones foreigners taking jobs away from Americans. Our Government is controlled by big business thru Lobbyists, not we the people. Our Government is patterned after that of Rome. Corrupt, over extended militarily and removing value from our money (by printing more). The Romans devalued their money by decreasing precious metal content, the US did the same after Kennedy was assassinated. After corruption continued. Rome F E L L.Does anyone remember the 24.9 cent gas and the $32-3500 cars of the 60’s? After tricky Dick’s taking us off of the gold standard, the current $1 has lost 90% of it’s value as compared to the 1960 dollar. Yes, gas above $2 and cars cost $30-40,000.

          Now, we have to put up with East Indians with expired H1-B visas.
          I would prefer fighting a declared war. We Americans know our enemies. Contract Trump and load up his e-mail with millions of concerns regarding the H1-B issue. https://www.whitehouse.gov/contact


          • Not only are they taking American jobs, but this process is allowing potential terrorists into the country. The whole system is wrong – America needs reform! Go Trump, do something about this, and make America safer and more prosperous!

          • This should not be a political issue. If you make it so, it will NEVER PASS The Senate nor The House of Representatives. There is fundamental flaw in the system with lots people abusing it. Fixing the problem should not become a political battle.

          • Hello, J,

            I fully agree with you. I am old generation, trained in 70 on IBM 360 mainframe. Meantime I learned new staff like VB, Java, Python, trying to keep up. But the competition from Indian is enormous. And hiring process is mostly in their hands. Like a mafia. I have lived in suburban Hoffman Estates, IL. During last 7-8 years it become “Indian village” with Indians walking and assembling themselves all over the place. No place for us there.Some places because they become richer, are not for regular people. I moved out this year. I got regular green card in 2003, now I am US citizen. They should compete fairly. And American first. Why is this country suicidal?

        • Really, this is fraud and can invite jail term. I do not think indians will do that since most are really scared of US justice system. For the past few years they will not send Business executives on B1 other than for sales…

        • We all want things to change but I don’t see any real solutions. Stopping H1-B is not a real solution because the Elephants and Donkeys won’t agree on anything. So what is the solution? We need to look at the root-cause problem. Fix it at the root. Trees with shallow roots will always fall over during high winds. We are a nations of immigrants even the staunches of right wing folks whose ancestors came to the U.S. as an immigrant. We have a rule of law and we should follow it. My solutions is: (1) stop the student visa generators (so-called universities, everyone knows which one they are), let the students apply on their own merits and acceptance based on such, they can apply for jobs legally not through a H1-B mills (3rd party companies who apply H1-B in bulk and our system allows it as such), use our data analytics to catch those who violate their stay duration (we have the technology) and let Homeland Security deal with it. It worked for years in the past when the system was based on paperwork. It is ridiculous in today’s computer age, we can’t track violators using databases I am legal immigrant and made my mark in the United States. There shouldn’t be an easy path. I rather pay tax to enforce the law instead of paying for freeloaders. Comments are welcome.

          • I am most decidedly NOT an immigrant. I was born in the United States. Some of my ancestors have been traced back to living in England in 1847. That doesn’t make me an immigrant or English. I’ve never so much as set foot out of the country. I really get tired of all of us descendants of immigrants several generations ago as being immigrants still. It’s complete and utter nonsense.

  2. America First Huh?

    The laughable argument that these skill can’t be found in American workers is not only false, it’s a joke. These people are sent over with falsified resumes of skills and experience. They try to get them through the door and once they’re on a project, you find “surprise! ” they don’t know squat. I know it because I see it every week.

    They’ve polluted the IT sector and theure being used to save money and line the pockets of share holders and corporations. It’s pathetic, really.

    • H1BisaTrojanHorse

      Even server, cloud, web services folks are being replaced by non-qualified h1b workers. It is not just mainframe skill. Management got sucked into trying to save money and got unskilled, Trojan horse labor in return. Those not outsourced got to do double duty training [expletive] for what they were supposed to know as well as do their normal job.

    • Laurent Levesque

      H1b at the very least needs to be capped lower. Every project has too many under skilled Indians who were oversold by some partner. Train native born Americans first. Hire Americans first.

    • Basically you guys are lazy [expletive]. That’s why American corporations are outsourcing their work to countries like India, Ukraine, Phillippines etc. You guys ae not ready to work extra hours, take additional responsibilities. There is no point in simply blaming. I agree that there is a mis usage of the visa. But by and large american corporations are benefitted by H1-B. Whether you agree or not, this is the fact. May not be all H1-B workers are skilled but definitely majority of them. I will quote my own example. I am being a H1-B worker, i work on two different projects with two different roles. During my offshore hours, i work with my offshore team go get all other work done. While on the other side, from my client side they have dedicated resources for one project and only on one role. No support after 05-00 PM. Now tell me, who is better and who is not. Probably you got to know, why companies are dependent on foreign talent.

      • Ashley Smith

        We work more hours than any other country on Earth, you leech. Our companies hire you bargain basement hacks because you cost pennies on the dollar, it has absolutely nothing to do with your talent (more specifically, lack thereof). Our companies get to take advantage of all the benefits of doing business in the US, then farm out labor to you H1-B rejects without having to actually do business in your shithole countries. You’re slave labor for the super rich and the political elite, but you’re too stupid to realize it.

  3. Both parties are to blame for the H-1B fiasco. The Establishment will fight for this disastrous cheap labor policy at all costs. The Democrats want the votes and support of SillyCon Valley and the Republicans want to placate the Chamber of Commerce traitors. I doubt there will be much change.

  4. Billy Bob Johnson

    Just end the H-1B (and other employment) visa programs. Destroying American jobs to give people jobs from halfway around the world. I’m sure the major outsourcing companies in India are lobbying hard in Congress to stop Trump. This is one thing I hope Trump gets accomplished.

    Why am I so ornery on this? I’ve been outsourced twice in my career. It’s not fun.

  5. when they started tightening the h1b it affected companies but instead of seeing this as an obstacle companies saw this as great opportunity, we cant get h1b to work here then we will send work overseas which is much worst because work being shipped overseas mean no work here in US and companies are making more money by sending work overseas. I just hope that along with the tightening of h1b comes the restriction of not letting the work here be shipped to overseas.

  6. I used to vote for Dems but in the last election I was tending to vote for Donny but I did not . I am happy that I did not do for anyone since I have hope in no one that works for me. I am an electrical engineer with master’s degree in IT management and a U.S. citizen. Out of work for more than a year.

  7. This is one of the few places I agree with Republicans. More and more Americans are learning tech skills simply because the unskilled labor market is dwindling, but now they can’t find a job in that labor market either. It’s really absurd. There are entire departments where I work that are filled with folks from India and my friend with a few years experience can’t find a decent paying job.

  8. Jeanette Terrano

    Verizon Wireless is prime example of getting rid of USA workers and replacing them with H1B Visa people. This is not the only company who is doing this it was all over 60 minutes months ago It needs to be stopped or the future children of Americans will have no jobs to go to once they get out of school.

  9. John Doe

    Ending H1B will be end of IT services in US. The problem with pampered US culture is , almost all fields are paid much more than rest of the world.

    Despite the higher pay, very few youngsters are coming to the IT industry. The olden timers who crib about being replaced by H1B’s can never make the shift from Mainframe/legacy systems. And with technology evolving every few years, the folks with 20+ years of experience in legacy systems mean nothing for companies. Instead they are not flexible enough like the H1B folks.

    So kill H1B and you will end up outsourcing entire companies not just the work.

      • Transfer of wealth is a big issue

        It’s not the pay that is the issue. H1B visas create a false pay scale. I person from a cheap labor country will accept a job making $60K in the USA when the skill really can pay higher. People from cheaper countries can do this because they are not looking to make a life in the United States. I know many that will share apartments and cars because they are looking to save as much money as possible to go back to their country. This actually drains wealth from the United States because if those jobs were given to young college graduates for $50K then those young American would spend and start families. Of course those young Americans will work hard and then their salaries will rise to $90K in a few years but US companies do not want that so they keep the cheaper labor that is not committed to the United States. The H1B visa is not bad its just the way companies use the H1B visa program. You do not get that it actually drains the wealth of America. I’ve talked with a lot of H1B visa people and most are not looking to stay in America and lots are investing all of their money back in they home country. Funny, USA is helping transferring its wealth to other countries.

        • Dude, you are not talking about takes paid by the individual and only talking about money invested in their home country. And also, you are not talking about people who made investments such as buying a property on mortgage etc. Investment in his home country justified here because H1-B is non-immigrant visa. After the H1-B tenure, they have to go back to their home country. If they are going back to their home country, what is the point in investing in US? Can you answer this question?

          • But Dexter, you are uninformed. They are supposed to go back after 3 years with another 3 year extension (total 6 years). But, 90% don’t go home. There are an estimated 1,000,000+ H1-Bs in country with expired visas. Do you want enlightenment? Go to Linkedin.com and follow the recommendation chains.

            These people are not astute enough to not post their job history with dates on this website.

            If you are trying to acquire a contract controlled by H1-Bs you may be hired as a last resort. They don’t want exposure to Americans that may turn them in for an expired visa. I worked contractually at a company in 32015 and one of them was bragging that they had been in country for 13 years. I see that one in California at a company I had a contract with in 2002-2003 is still in country. Friend, they rarely go home.


    • DontCareForLazyPamperedBums

      First sensible comment in forum of entitled pampered and lazy so called “Muhhricans” who love to blame everyone else instead of taking responsibility and working hard, competing and writing better code for lesser $$. Seems like the so called leading advocate of free market economy is a bit afraid of some competition in their own backyard. Boo Hoo! Just a temporary phase..not long before these lazy entitled whining [expletive] get swept away. And no before you [expletive], I am not an H1b person or an H1b sympathizer. I simply despise lazy entitled whining [expletive]…

    • Joe the Plumber

      Dear John,

      I’m a 55yo developer working for a major media outlet in NYC. A photo of our tech team will show approximately 160 Indian men on H1B and 40 Americans. I am not racist at all but you appear to be both racist and ageist.

      So let me tell you that I am the one who is sick of working with H1Bs who don’t keep up with the newer technologies, the cloud stuff, the Javascript frameworks and ecosystems, the rules engines and language learning systems. I am also sick of rescuing and repairing systems that out H1Bs have “maintained” only to crash upon launch. You H1Bs display a talent for covering software and configuration problems rather than getting to the root of them. That takes late nights of good old fashioned shoe-leather, not shortcut patches. The kind us American grandpa’s are good at.

      Of course it is my phone ringing at 3AM not yours.

    • Incompetant h1b

      These people who are against h1b program and suports trump are basically incompetent lazy work shy people. Who is going to replace a knowlafgable hard working employee, be it indian, be it american. Every employers/managers want experienced knowladgable committed employee in their team. I have been working 7 years in us and i have not seen any competent efficient american worker beeing replced by incompetant indian worker. No one is beeing replaced because someone is american. People’s competancy does not comes from which country he or she is born. Instead of lingering on what will happen with h1b, one should focus on honning their skill, be hard working, and committed to your work. This is the way one can hold their job. And btw who is american? Everyone in america is basically an immigrant. Either you or your ancestors

  10. The goverments got stuck in power greediness. Now become ineffcient because minorities became powerful with election funding. Lobbyism is a policy which US need to remove to avoid pressure or corruption in any field. Thousands of staffing companies fearlessly filing h1b,B1’s because they knew USCIS cannot deny all petitions. They expect 4-5 approvals out of 10 though the petitions are not genuine.so they manage their business. It is simple thing all staffing agencies’ employees work at a third party site, so employer no way can control the employee. On site inspections can be performed on each petition if USCIS really need to avoid fraud, but they dont do, why? There are associations and lobbyism exists to protect.
    Other thing is outsourcing, there was no excess tax for businesses to avoid off shoring projects.
    Really unfortunate.

  11. I hope Trump finally ends the H1B visa program once and for all. I am tired of seeing all of the American tech jobs go to unskilled labor while US citizens lose their jobs or become unemployed. I have been seeing this for years and refuse to train any person from India. I was managing an Oracle upgrade and Cognizant got there foot in the door. We must have gone through 15-20 people because no one knew what they were doing, needed to be replaced or they claimed had emergency’s at home, would leave and never return. It’s all about the rich corporations getting richer, while the US citizens get poorer. Who do the corporations thing will purchase there products if American citizens are unemployed? They are all short sighted and greedy!

  12. What a disingenuous statement in the original article. “While others want fewer co-workers brought in from overseas.” That’s such a stupid divisive statement to make, the issue is people are being replaced with cheap labor from overseas, not that they have a co worker that is foreign. Way to feed into rascist hysteria.

    • Greg,
      It has nothing to do with racism. I liked the diversity at my work place, I liked it when people spoke English, not hindi around you and not noticing you at all. I liked it when social life was normal, when people all races went to lunch together. Remember?

  13. Why to tighten .. blah blah blah… Just terminate H1B completely… as simple as that… No H1B .. No more job replacement fuss..

    Why Blame H1B people who replace american jobs, why does no one complain about corporate bodies who just seek profits for their own organization by hiring for less pay-scale..

    Why even do they allow foreign students for education in here.. Just terminate everything.. which allows a chance to come and settle here …..

    Why only target H1B ( High Skilled Labour ) there are other low Pay jobs which are also being replaced by immigrants .. and if u all remember there was additional 20K extra low-pay-scale visa’s approved by …. you all know.

    Just tweaking laws here and there doesn’t help much either terminate it completely or just close it..

  14. Curtailing H1B visas is not an option. American multinationals are allowed to mint billions in revenue from India with the expectations that Indian nationals can travel for work to the USA. Any exception to this idea, will prohibit the US multinational to operate freely. Just see UK-India trade relation sour due to the visas.

  15. JackyFlash

    Interesting discussion. Even if you withdraw H1B I don‘t think it will improve the employment situation for American workers. Corporations do what they are meant for, generating products, goods and services. And it is up to us, the consumer to decide to which company we give our money and power! Shopping is nothing else than voting, when deciding for a product you decide for a corporation and how this corporation is treating their employees. And it is such a pity that so many people that live in the US only want to shop the cheapest goods…and guess what, the cheapest goods can‘t be produced in the US due to a high living of standard. I really hope that people keep in mind that they have the power to change things, and it is not about trump our anybody else changing it. It is about the American People that make a vote every day when shopping! They are the ones that can change society. And yes, that means not shopping the cheapest service or good, but that one where you agree with the corporate and their approach…and yes, it is a lot of work and nothing for lazy people. But we all like to be lazy and making the best deal for ourselves and not the society, right?

  16. I suspect the Trump Administration and the Republicans in congress will first give a tax cut to companies who moved their operations abroad and now want to ‘repatriate’ their profits (which were falsely attributed to low-tax countries, like Ireland or the Cayman Islands); that (paying lower taxes on ‘foreign’ profits) will encourage companies to also move their labor force abroad, so to have a better claim to these reduced taxes.–

  17. HarleyRider

    This is an important issue. The abuse of this H1B system undermines the American worker and their children. First they send textiles and other industrial (actually make something) jobs overseas with the promise of better STEM field service sector jobs to replace them. Then they pull the rug out from under the American STEM field workers by importing foreign labor. Many of us are getting damn sick of the [expletive] coming from big corporate board members and the government that they own. I hope that D Trump can actually MAGA! …and get this system eliminated entirely.

  18. Too bad for me and my Ph.D. in Neuroscience. I guess I’ll have to continue driving for Lyft and delivering food to people who came to this country on the H-1B to take my career away from me.

  19. Stephen W

    H1B is being abused, so they need to halt it, fix it, then reinstate it. This has really hurt the software engineering field. It hurts the middle class. Is there a way to petition to stop it?

  20. Dennis C

    As Senior consultant at a major national firm my job was to fix anything that needed fixing. I was the interface between foreign workers and US workers. The Irish and Mexican programmers where very fine and hard working people. Their companies were after long term relations with US companies and presented quality people. The Indian companies we dealt with were after a quick buck and only provided a warm body. These companies were dismissed only after a lot of wasted money. There is only so much talent in any country. US companies are starting to realize the cheap labor is not cheap. I always deal with higher level tech people which are always are US employees. Always request US support and we will get our jobs back. H1B is a now failed program. When started it was ok but now is abused and is worthless.

  21. Gabriel Lobo-Blanco

    There are all good comments. I was borne in Venezuela. immigrated to the U.S. in 1980 and became a U.S. Citizen in the last amnesty program. I was blessed wit the opportunity that when I started with computers was the time when the microcomputer was invented. Back then only U.S. was involved in this great revolution. I never saw any people from India in those days. I can very much confirmed that I.T. was invented in the U.S.

    I have been working in I.T. since 1985 and have continued to evolve during the years. Most of my time in I.T. has been as a consultant. I have seen my job being replaced by unskilled workers from India many time and have made a move to NOT train anymore people from India and they are back stabber and only want my job. While I was working for the department of Labor and Industry in Scranton Pennsylvania I saw this happened. When the replacement came to mu cube I simply told him that I was not going to spend any time training him for my position. I also saw this happen when I was working for Fiserv in Salt Lake City. They simply lie to you indicating that we all need to cross train in the different areas.

    I believe that if the U.S. Government does not want to do anything about the program, we, the Citizens of this country need to step up to the plate and stop transferring our knowledge to these people. Ultimately, I refuse to train them or spend time with them. This does not have to be an open policy but simply disguised as lack of time to do this. Also, when I talked to support I always ask for someone that speaks English.

    So, what are you going to do. Will you keep wining and wait for someone to take action for you? or are you going to step up and follow me with these actions?

  22. trumpisaconman

    H1B needs to be reformed but we should still have a system that allows companies to truly get the best talent out there while not abusing and underpaying people. trump is a blowhard though who won’t go anywhere with this, he doesn’t have the chops to understand the finer details, nor does he have the capacity as president to knowledgeably sell an idea. Most notably, his administration actually raised the cap on H2B visas back in July, which his businesses exploit rather fondly. Yet another example of his staggering hypocrisy and dishonesty, anyone thinking he’s going to improve the H1B situation here is asking to be conned.

  23. You should see Chrysler. Stroll down to the cafeteria and you will find 9 out of 10 people are Indian contractors (not an exaggeration). And guess what? Chrysler is moving even more work offshore. I can tell you that the quality of the contractors is absolutely sh*t, but you think the C-Suite execs actually care? No, more money in their pockets. Bottom line is that “IT” has transitioned from a respectable profession to a third-world sh*thole. And don’t blame India. Blame the American Fortune 500 companies.

  24. H1 B has been abused by Indians and indians IT Firms.
    They apply the Visa with Frictious Names then after approval bring people from india.

    It become a tool for mass indian immigration to US.
    Not only that Indian mangers descriminated .. hire only indians specially South Indians. It is becoming a nighmare for US citizen working in IT fields. now days.

    I have cases when indian Hring maneger ashed about my nationality during job interview then deselected me even I was clealy quilified for the position.

    • I’ve seen read comments in the past that mention ‘South Indians’. For clarity, what is a ‘South Indian’ ? What is the other kind(s) of Indians? North? Or something else? How far south? How far North? What are the boundaries?