Upcoming Visa Policy Tweaks Could Affect H-1B Applicants

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has updated its guidance for work visas, potentially complicating the lives of highly skilled foreign workers who rely on the H-1B program.

The updated guidance, slated to take effect Sept. 11, will allow USCIS to reject applications and petitions without asking for a Request for Evidence (RFE) or Notice of Intent to Deny (NOID). “This policy is intended to discourage frivolous or substantially incomplete filings used as ‘placeholder’ filings and encourage applicants, petitioners, and requestors to be diligent in collecting and submitting required evidence,” the agency wrote in a statement.

In other words, anyone applying for a work visa must submit as much supporting evidence as possible, or risk rejection. In a similar vein, even minor mistakes on an application could potentially lead to dismissal and deportation. (Data suggests that rejections are already on the rise.)

While USCIS and the Trump administration have advocated for a drastic reform of the H-1B system, changes have largely been incremental. And although some critics of the H-1B program assumed that President Trump, upon entering office, would quickly curtail the number of visas, the number of H-1B petitions and approvals has only continued to rise. In fiscal 2017, the number of petitions approved hit a four-year high.

Over the past year and a half, USCIS has imposed additional scrutiny on visa applications and renewals, while the White House has moved to ban spouses of H-1B visa holders from obtaining the H-4 visas that would allow them to work in the United States. Concerned that the federal government isn’t doing enough, the Immigration Reform Law Institute (IRLI) and the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR) filed a lawsuit against USCIS in April, seeking data on the top employers (both corporate and nonprofit) utilizing H-1B visas.

If the White House did attempt to severely restrict the number of H-1B visas, it would face substantial pushback from tech companies that rely on foreign workers. The Mercury News recently surveyed Bay Area residents about H-1B, and found that 71 percent thought that the number of H-1B visas issued annually should be kept the same or increase. That’s the epicenter of Silicon Valley, and perhaps indicative of tech giants’ attitudes toward the policy. Tech CEOs such as Apple’s Tim Cook have also advocated strongly for immigration.

For the time being, it seems that the federal government is content with policy updates. Will that change at some point?

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24 Responses to “Upcoming Visa Policy Tweaks Could Affect H-1B Applicants”

  1. George Haddad

    Between outsourcing (basically exporting our latest technology), and insourcing (basically training foreign worker on our latest technology) we currently suffer from a sever blow to the technology field in our country. Standard of living for the technology experts went way down, and the smart students no longer view this field as worth it in terms of paying off their student loans or the level of difficulty. Effectively, shifting the technology field to Asia mainly. Without revenues from technology and a strong dollar backed by oil from the middle east (where things are starting to change over there mainly because of our lack of technology advancements), the country’s standard of living is on the verge of getting a sever blow (and not just the technology field). There are no other solutions only temporary fixes, unless we start reducing to a complete stop of the outsourcing and insourcing of our technology for at least a decade to get back in the technological lead!

  2. Ah yes more rhetoric on “fixing a problem” from the very people who create almost ALL the problems currently facing America, the very Federal government, whose basic, fundamental reason for its existence (since 1776) is to protect and defend the CITIZENS from danger, foreign and domestic, and protect their life, liberty and pursuit of happiness.

    With the collection of so-called fake “representatives” we have currently “leading” us who, to encourage more corporate bribery , aka, “Campaign Contributions” to perpetuate their continual parasiting off the taxpayers, cow-tow to corporations, Big Money instead of the citizens.

    So if Tech CEOs such as Apple’s Tim Cook advocate strongly for immigration it is because they want to increase the “bottom line” to increase the price of their stock options (how many millions are enough), the rest of America be damned. In another more patriotic time these so-called “representatives” of the people and the corporate moguls who provide the massive bribes would be arrested and jailed for sedition against the American people.

    If Apple’s Tim Cook is so enamored with foreign workers why doesn’t he renounce his U.S. citizenship, move himself and Apple to India, and live the rest of his life among the foreign workers he seems to love so much. Thereby ridding the rest of us of him and the misery he injects into our society by his blind addiction to money.

    Just read “The Deep State” by Jerome Corsi or Mike Lofgren and you will see the real(unelected) government behind the facade we see displayed in Big Media and political posturing.

    Larry

  3. Please dont allow more indians to USA they are just taking our jobs and they are very racist allowing only their fellow guys to take the positions . …Tech companies should be ashamed instead of recruiting their own people they bring cheap workers from asia to take over and we are left unemployed . shame shame shame

  4. Citizen Of A Corrupt Nation

    While lobbying Congress for more H-1B visas, industry claims H-1B workers are the “best and brightest”. Come payday, however, they’re entry-level workers.

    The Government Accountability Office (GAO) put out a report on the H-1B visa that discusses at some length the fact that the vast majority of H-1B workers are hired into entry-level positions. In fact, most are at “Level I”, which is officially defined by the Dept. of Labor as those who have a “basic understanding of duties and perform routine tasks requiring limited judgment”. Moreover, the GAO found that a mere 6% of H-1B workers are at “Level IV”, which is officially defined by the Dept. of Labor as those who are “fully competent” [1]. This belies the industry lobbyists’ claims that H-1B workers are hired because they’re experts that can’t be found among the U.S. workforce.

    References:
    [1] Government Accountability Office, January 2011, GAO-11-26: H-1B Visa Program – Reforms Are Needed to Minimize the Risks and Costs of Current Program

  5. I was hopeful to see the Trump administration do something to stem the tide of foreign workers but I guess that really can’t happen when Trump “needs” foreign workers for Mar-A-Lago.

    When a foreign worker comes to the US, they may bring their family and the spouse is usually in IT so Americans aren’t losing 1 job but are losing 2 jobs. Plus, the outsourcing of jobs to workers in other countries is hurting the American worker. My company has a large presence in an Indian tech hub and while those resources are instrumental in meeting the companies unrealistic goals, they still are taking jobs from Americans. But, they still whine about the salaries over there too. At least, the salaries here are finally trending upward after decades of stagnation.

    I like the idea floated by Larry that Tim Cook and any other CEO who is offshoring should just move their public company over there. You can bet they won’t as they like America. They should really think more about their employees and less about Wall Street expectations.

  6. The Mercury News recently surveyed Bay Area residents about H-1B, and found that 71 percent thought that the number of H-1B visas issued annually should be kept the same or increase.

    The Bay area….. repeating the same mistake that Clinton made. There is more to this country than both of the coasts. Might be a good idea to expand the survey.

  7. Norman Wroblewski

    What a great comment!
    As a life long IT person, I find that an Indian workforce just arbitrarily rejects you in what I consider reverse discrimination.

  8. Standing on the corner

    It’s good to let off steam here. But lets be real. Nothing will happen. Even voting will not change anything because of Citizens United and Lobby money. I am retraining to something that cannot be outsourced. gulp… Maybe a doctor or a politician or talking head on TV? pfft. shoulda done that years ago. I can’t think of anything else… oh wait a barista at Starbucks. I hear they have health insurance too.

  9. Baby steps – yes, but so much more than the Obama administration did – actually the reverse. This is important to me and my family. I do think it is absurd to say that the worst abusers of the existing H1b policy think that the numbers should be increased… why not ask the people who are hurting as a result. I know people who took early retirement because of being displaced – discriminated against in their own country! – and a couple who actually were barristas at Starbucks to try to support their family. Thank goodness Clinton was not elected – she wanted to staple a green card to the diploma of every foreign student graduating from a US university! That would have flooded our schools with foreign students, leaving even less for our children. What an awful policy this is!

  10. Ha, immigrants are taking YOUR jobs? How about workin better and have better work ethic? Big American companies bring here people who are simply better and in the States they are receiving US salaries, they are not a “cheap help”. Also, how about all the American homeless 25-35 y.o. all over NY who don’t want to take a dishwasher job? Or half of the Bronx “moms of 5” who also live on MY taxes and whose insurance I pay because they are lazy shit?

    • The Indian workers are not cheaper workers most times. But how comes that I hear so many cases when they get fired immediately after hiring because someone else took the screening test and the in person interview instead of them? Why do they do it, I assume it works a lot of times? How many other tricks do they play on the hiring managers and on the American people?
      Why do they need to cheat if they are so good? How comes when I work with them they are most of the times so incompetent?

  11. For every feels good stories about foreign workers living the American dream an American loses his job that supports his family. While we can barely put food on the table. The spouse of H1B is worry not being able to pay the mortgage off on that million dollar house.

  12. US overcrowded. To save current and future generations Visa/Green Cards/Refugees/Illegals etc should be stopped. County has outdated roads and traffic became horrible with millions flooding in. US is not shortage of Students, IT or Doctors or Research scholars or anything else. It is just a build up.
    Also it is time to implement population control measures. It is not correct to have 3,4 or 5 or 6 kids.

  13. Its really funny seeing the comments on this article .. Indians “Stealing” American jobs ?? How many Americans obtain advanced degrees compared to the “foreign” students ? This is a capitalist country dear.. if you were a businessman, you would simply hire the most qualified person for the job , period..,
    I work for a reputed silicon valley firm, and I have been in the recruiting process.. Indian H1 workers are paid exactly the same as a local worker for the same position .. there is no discrimination there… In fact there is a lot more overhead in hiring a foreign worker because of the H1 legal fee etc. Our job openings are posted online and we get to screen all the applicants for the job .. and let me tell you, there are just not enough local and qualified applicants…

    Secondly, H1 workers pay ridiculous taxes when they aren’t even citizens or permanent residents to fuel welfare and food stamps for you folks. We pay the highest taxes in this country… Our money builds your roads .. our talent ensures that the US is always at the forefront of technology in the world ..
    So please grow a pair, work hard and get the job, rather than expecting it to be delivered on a golden platter..
    Peace !

    • The vast majority of H1-B workers are hired by IT services companies, not “Silicon Valley”. The latest figures for 2017 show most were hired by the top three firms which were Infosys, Tata, and IBM, none of which are in Silicon Valley. The “advanced degree” requirement is a bachelors degree. These folks are used for in-sourcing, and are used by US companies because they are cheaper. This was not the intent of the H1-B program. The whole Silicon Valley/highly skilled/foreign PHD/rocket scientist argument is an obfuscation of reality. I invite you to make your argument with facts instead of anecdotes.

  14. Sachid Shukla

    What about all the money we spend on travels, buying houses, keeping the apartment industry surviving, buying more cars, entertainment, Disney lands etc etc etc…oh and don’t forget the tax H1B folks pay and never ask for unemployment or social security coz even if we die that does for apply coz that money if for you citizens. I see a lot of haters here but the real America and people I work with are beautiful. Just think about the contribution one time. Yes there is fraud and I too get sick at times , but You get the cream largely of English speaking law binding immigrants not the slumdog millionaire india. Doctors, lawyers, Nasa…sorry but we simply try our best coz we want to survive despite the date .

  15. EndH1B

    Absolutely should end the H1B visa. I’ve worked at a lot of different companies and these people never know what they are doing. They are fat clogging the arteries of the American economy. The idea seems to be that throwing an army of morons at a problem is the way to solve it. No morons ever solve problems. The code they produce is crap, they suck at communicating, and they are largely detrimental to the entire country. There isn’t a day that goes by when a moron recruiter from India calls me, unable to speak or understand English, trying to get me to submit my resume to some job that is totally different from my skillset. And the reason they do this is to get the salary details so they can undercut my pay, and then submit their H1B Indian buddy. If it comes from India, it’s crap, and a fraud.

  16. Deepish

    There are many non-immigrants who are taking the “student visa” route just to get the EAD and SSN which is supposed to be for “training” or on the job training. Most of these are Indian nationals who are applying for OPT/F1 visas claiming that they will be under training by they are actually working on a “client” location taking full salary as W2 employees as if they were authorized to work under those conditions. There is a BIG loophole that these people are taking advantage which the USCIS or DHS needs to look into.