Trump Administration May Push Big Changes to H-1B Lottery System

The Trump administration is planning some changes to the H-1B lottery system.

Those changes could see more highly educated workers obtaining the visa. According to Politico, which obtained its information from an anonymous official in the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), the administration plans on placing all H-1B applicants in the same “general pool” of 65,000 visas. Once this cap is hit, any remaining applicants with advanced degrees would end up in a 20,000-visa “master’s cap” pool.

If the Politico source is accurate, this would essentially flip the current setup, in which those workers with a master’s degree (or higher) from a U.S. institution are processed through a 20,000-visa pool, with the remaining petitions directed into the 65,000-visa “general pool.” In theory, this would lead to a significant increase in the number of H-1B visa holders with advanced degrees, by giving those workers two robust chances at a successful application.

However, the federal government has yet to reveal its plans, aside from suggesting that the reforms would “ensure that H-1B visas are awarded to the most-skilled or highest-paid petition beneficiaries.” In addition, the regulation could streamline the H-1B administration process “and increase the probability of the total number of petitions selected under the cap filed for H-1B beneficiaries who possess a master’s or higher degree from a U.S. institution of higher education.”

This could end up benefitting big tech firms such as Google, which have a need for workers with advanced degrees and qualifications. It would also ding staffing and consulting firms: According to the Seattle Times, “outsourcing and staffing companies such as Infosys, Cognizant, Tata, Wipro and Deloitte tend to obtain more visas for bachelor’s degree holders, according to data from U.S. Citizenship and Immigration.”

It remains to be seen, however, whether changes to the H-1B process will curb the tech industry’s pushback against the Trump administration over visas. In October, ITServe Alliance, a nonprofit group that counts more than 1,000 IT service organizations as its members, filed a lawsuit against the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS). That lawsuit argues that USCIS approved visas for too short a period, and wants the court to limit the agency’s ability to set ultra-short validity periods.

Apple, Salesforce, and other firms have also argued against the ongoing tweaks to immigration and H-1B policy. “Changes in immigration policy… are causing considerable anxiety for many thousands of our employees while threatening to disrupt company operations,” read an open letter, signed by Apple CEO Tim Cook and other luminaries, that was addressed to U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen in August.

Whatever’s announced with regard to the H-1B lottery system, it likely won’t be the end of the Trump administration’s attempts to tweak the system. Nor will it affect the temporary suspension of premium H-1B processing, which is slated to run through February 2019; that maneuver, ostensibly to allow USCIS time to clear through a backlog of petitions, was already aggravating some tech firms.

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37 Responses to “Trump Administration May Push Big Changes to H-1B Lottery System”

  1. This is one area we MUST NOT allow companies to win!!

    What about Americans? We’ve had this H1b and L1 abuse by US companies going on for years and now THEY are saying they’re being abused??!!

    American workers have been the target of job displacement and outright abuses for years!!!

    When is this crap gonna stop??!!

  2. Any system the government designs, ends up being gamed by people outside of those the system is intended to help. Minor tweaks are not going to cut it. What is needed are dramatic and sweeping changes. I am not hateful, but I am defensive about the suffering of my own well-being.

  3. Totally understandable and agree with Ron and Steve – I am on H1 Visa, however I would not like if I am replacing any Americans position. Its the same, if some high skilled foreigner comes to my country and replaces me. US should stop H1B Visa altogether in the first place itself, so that certified people like me wont come in here and settle in this beautiful country. I have seen best people over here, US has best skills already and i really felt sad on H1 abuses does by many organizations and have also seen many inexperienced people came on H1 and defeats the very purpose of this Visa program.

    • You are the one who did not read the article. The article does not state that American workers with advanced education will get preference. It states that foreign workers who have obtained an advanced degree here in America will have preference over those whose who have not. It says nothing about Americans.

  4. The above 3 comments are indicative of the hate, for the sake of hating, or BOTs working at their best.
    They did not even read the article- and came up with extreme xenophobia.
    Not a supporter of this administration, but do support this initiative. People with Masters and Phds from the US SHOULD get first preference, not the other way around. Also if people are worried that these advanced degree professionals are going to ‘ displace’ their jobs ( what bullshit) then maybe they should improve their skills as well.Stop feeling entitled
    This is all just on paper at the moment so lets see how this spans out.

    • American should always be a priority , they should start cutting down on these H1B year by year , companies will get adjusted . Some of the Masters students on H1b come with fake resumes and experience the resume should also be tracked by USICS , along with degree verification resume verification should be added and remove those who are gaming the system.

  5. What is the point of allowing advanced degree and phd while companies need someone with lets say 6 years of coding experience in a specific technology. Makes no sense. But either way, the abuse has to be addressed. The key to stop abuse is set minimum salary for h1b to > $100k or even $120k. Companies lower quality engineers so they pay can less.

  6. I don’t think we Americans are filled with hate because we know that we have qualified workers here in America who can take these jobs. There’s no need for this program at all. It’s just a sham so companies can get away with paying foreign workers less than their American counterpart. I agree with the other poster that the company should have to offer the same pay and benefits that they would offer to an American if this program were to continue. You would think this administration that is so focused on isolationism would want to end this program completely.

    • There is no point in getting US Master Degree holders residing outside USA to fill in the labor. I feel that this entire US VISA thing should be banned. Give opportunities to US natives first, then think of Master Degree or PhDs. As a matter of fact, I studied in USA got my masters lived there for about 7 years, but never applied for green card or for Citizenship. I did not want to take away my American friend’s opportunities and hence I came back to India and settles in India amidst many people calling me a fool.
      I feel that USA is a beautiful country, with great minds. I pity my friends who were once Indians, sold their soul to America just for money.
      1)US should identify such people and kick them out. Also on the other hand, Indian/any other country should not allow suck kicked out people to come back and settle in India or so as they disrespected the original mother land.
      2) US should ban VISA program or allow only some 1000 people or so to enter USA if they are very much needed in USA
      3) Give jobs to your countrymen and not to people like us. You are not only spoiling your own job market, but also creating beautiful opportunities to people who are not patriots.
      I do not think anyone can understand what I am writing as I feel I am the only one with different views. I respect America, please give jobs to your own people.
      4) Just because some cheap labourers come to USA and produce their babies there, you are allowing citizenship and other rights to them. Why are you celebrating non-patriots? If someone abandoned their own country and sold their soul to Dollars, you should first get rid of such weed! They won’t do any good to you as any day they will sell America for a higher fortune as they did with their souls.
      Sorry if this hurts anyone. Not out of hatred, but out of logic and right thinking.
      Thanks
      Gopi

      • I see frustration, inferiority and jealousy here.
        If you are so much patriot why dint you do masters in India ? there are world class tech schools like IIT, IISC etc even US companies go an recruit from there.

      • In response to Gopi. You are naive. Who do you think native American are? There are not many left. Majority of now so called natives are the native of Europe. If European can come to America why not Asian? Human race originated in African and now covers the whole world. If you are North Indian your ancestors are Aryan, who came from Iran. Did your ancestor do anything wrong moving from Iran to India. Migration is part of humanity.

      • Gopi,

        your comment”I pity my friends who were once Indians, sold their soul to America just for money.”…I immigrated back in the 70’s and my parents were sponsored to come to US..We did not come for the money as we were fine in India. My parents wanted better education for us..Don’t you for your kids. I just say if folks who come here and complain – go back to their country..Why come for colleges or work..

  7. I feel sorry to say but there are very highly specialized positions with few or no Americans prepared to take it… if US blocks work permit visa, those positions would move to foreign branches of US biggest companies. I am sure no US company would pay 400K/year packages to keep it in US… if it is a technical only position. I hope they do the improvement mentioned in the article pretty soon to help improving the technical skills onboarding in US with those that come to work.

  8. Regardless what the article said, my job was offshored and replaced by visa folks many years ago. I have been struggling making a decent living like I used to back in the 80s (even with advanced degree and professional training). Please President Trump, restrict the visa program. There are many qualified unemployed American tech professionals like myself that need a job.

  9. Mukesh Chauhan

    Ultimate President of USA doing right things in right manner. H1B VISA should be stopped and scapped immediately. Green card and us citizenship offered in last forty years should stand cancelled immediately and citizenship acquired due to birth of child in usa should also stands cancelled and child shouldbe given new citizenship of parents country. Large no of people shouod be deported back to thier earlier nation. Only Citizenship thru EP5 program money should be doubled immediately. Derecognize all non us university degrees including iit , nit and iim.

  10. Option: When calculating “merit” factor in source country and societal values.

    According to the Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI), New Zealand is the least corrupt country and Somalia the most corrupt.

    Consider a NZ applicant with a B grade point and a Somali applicant with a reported A grade point. Their academic merit should be averaged with their “corruption grade” for a true Market-Adusted Merit (MAM) score. Thusly the Auckland B grade averaged with a A corruption grade becomes an overall B+. The Somali A academic grade averages with the F in corruption for a merit grade of C.

    This works similarly to a consumer credit score. You can calculate the comparison for any two countries say Belgium and Bangledesh, say Singapore and Syria. On the adjusted basis you get a more representative merit score while encouraging (and rewarding) countries to clean up their systems.

    https://www.transparency.org/news/feature/corruption_perceptions_index_2017

    For added context, average in each country’s child trafficking ranking along with the corruption ranking thereby allowing tech to help the most vulnerable.

  11. Does anyone else feel the H-1B workers are not the main problem but offshoring is where the focus on restrictions should be? Out of the 20 workers in my group 2 are H-1B and 13 are offshore (admins/developers). Those are prime middle class jobs being taken away from my children, friends, and family.

  12. As someone who, in middle age, went 10K in debt for an IT loan to go to tech school at night while working at a manufacturing plant during the day in order to better myself and earn more (which gives the lie to the usual canned H-1B bullsh!te about Americans are too lazy or unqualified), and who paid off that debt by living very frugally, I still never made the amounts that I kept hearing about from my IT instructors and from Websites like cbsalary.com because of the overwhelming amount of H-1B’s in the DC Metro area.

    And on numerous occasions, I was brought in to clean up the mess one of them made due to them not actually being qualified for the job. Companies that import H-1B workers are, all too often, ‘buying a pig in a poke’ and don’t really know how qualified their contractors are. The ones I had to work with often displayed a lack of basic knowledge of IT procedures, such as protecting hard drives from ESD. Yet they were touted as possessing CompTIA A+ certs. But companies keep hiring them instead of qualified Americans with the hope that the lost revenue from hiring incompetent foreigners will be less than the cost of hiring a competent American at a higher salary.

    • I completely agree, you should see the nepotism and favoritism for fresh grads trying to
      get an entry job, we have students on OPT trying to grab the jobs while us citizens from
      prestigious colleges (UIUC) left out to rot with debt, OP/H1-B should be scrapped. First feed the citizens and then go after others. For all the people who support H1-B, I know in India, even a person from one state cannot go to another state for work, first fix taht.

  13. Joe Brix

    Why does Trump send 15K troops to the Mexico border to stop the Caravan, but still allows unqualified H1-B’s to waltz into our country . Are they vetted as a possible terrorist? No. He wastes time talking about getting people from Sweden, Finland, etc to come here. Why should they? We have un-affordable health care, crime and high taxes. Indians should take my advice and just stay home.

  14. The H1b program was intended to hire and own the rights to supposed high tech workers. The problem was there were (originally) not enough good high tech workers and the cost of pirating good high tech workers from other companies was driving salaries and perk costs up (for companies). Then, add that a lot of good high tech workers were working as contract workers because the pay was much better. The influx of contract workers created a vast number of contracting companies (morphed from employment finding companies). So a bunch of companies got together to prevent this salary and perks cost escalation and started hiring foreign workers (not necessarily good workers). But for this scheme to work there was needed a way to prevent pirating of talent which led to the H1B program. But, to make it look legitimate, there were safeguards put in place to supposedly protect domestic high tech workers. But all of these protections were easily gamed because there was no oversight to the program. The H1B program requires a report to be created and presented to Congress every year by the GAO. In this report there is to be an explanation of how this program has affected wages and hiring to guarantee the program is not being misused or gamed. This report is never really created nor does the Congress ever look at it. In my personal experience, I was displaced without any notice and at the same time I was one of some 2500 contracted high tech workers displaced in the same week. It took me almost a year to find comparable work at a much lower hourly rate. I applied for several advertised jobs during this time that I was well qualified for but I never got a call or an interview from any of the jobs I applied for. A number of jobs were asking for expertise which was impossible to have come by. For instance, a job requiring 7 years of work experience with a software product which had only been in use for a total of 3 years. I know because I was one of the first to use that product. But you see, the requirement for hiring required that a job be posted for at least 6 months with no qualified US tech worker being found before the job was eligible to be given to an H1b applicant. But once the 6 months was up, then the company was permitted to hire an H1b applicant. But, the rub is that the H1b applicant was not required to meet any of the work experience requirements (ever). Fortunately, I was able to recover my career but at a much lower salary and a lot fewer benefits. Unfortunately, it put me back in the living paycheck to paycheck mode after working and building my reputation for over 31 years.

  15. DisplacedWorker

    Globalism and mass immigration is destroying America, especially silicon valley, tech giants are hiring cheap young foreigners (eg H1Bs) over us Americans, we are being replaced in great silence. Did not get my last interviews, found out they hired a (let me guess cheaper) Indian guy and Asian guy. Wrote a letter to president Trump because he, unlike tech giants, will put Americans first

  16. US is overcrowded. To save Citizens. USCIS must give data to public, the number of each type of visa filings/number of refuges etc per year and percentage of approvals and show where the shortage of labor etc. This will help citizens to know what is going on and to question the government. Simply changing rules is not a solution.

  17. Trump is doing great for us – there have been some changes and they’re getting better with this one. I laugh and shed a tear for the whining from companies: “Changes in immigration policy… are causing considerable anxiety for many thousands of our employees while threatening to disrupt company operations,” Where was the compassion and dedication to the US STEM workers who were displaced by the H1b visa holders???? What a bunch of jerks.

  18. Abhimanyu

    Hello Everyone, I can see a lot people who are basically US citizens calling out a lot of Indians as scammers and stuff and exploiters, because they genuinely feel cheated by big companies as in the aspect of employment. This scenario has came in light because a lot of people like me have temporarily immigrated to the United States in search of a better life and career, but in a way it has lead to US citizens losing there job because we Indians agree to work in a very low billing rate. So I am here to give my opinion about this entire scenario.
    Just for info, I came to US in 2015 to persue my Masters and now I am working on H-1.
    Firstly my request to all the American citizens is to come together and appeal to the government to amend the immigration laws of this country. Please make sure this law ensures all the people who actually are not citizens are deported back to our country(which includes me). I am sure this will ensure a hundred percent employment rate in the United States for the Americans. If a day comes when this law is made I will support it and go back. I believe there is enough talent in this country and it doesn’t need any help from foreign nationals to run the businesses successfully.

    Secondly to all the Indians and the other immigrants you are a part of this conversation chain, I really hope that you understand that we are not welcome here. Still we are ready to work for the US based companies at minimum wage. I am ashamed to see such a big group of people from my country, who are basically well educated ( at par with any other international including Americans) but are not at all motivated. We have fallen for job security so much that we do not even have the basic self respect to stand up and say that yes I would like to go back to our country and create something as big as Amazon or Microsoft, not realizing that day in day out it’s not our personal image which is poached and tarnished but the identity of our country that we used to be proud of during our childhood days, is now in jeopardy.

    I know I will be criticized for my views but I really hope someday every Indian living in United States decides to go back and create something there. Without doubt it will take a lot of dedication, effort and time but I promise you will be appreciated by the people around you, may be even able to inspire the generations to come after us.

    I really hope someday India becomes such a big hub for technology and jobs that US citizens aspire to come to our country. I really hope I have made my stand on this issue.

    • John Doe

      “Firstly my request to all the American citizens is to come together and appeal to the government to amend the immigration laws of this country.” It is difficult because the high tech companies have trillions of dollars and bribe our leaders with campaign contributions. That is what started the H-1B fiasco in the first place. The only politician who has been immune to bribes is President Trump, because he cares more about being a great president, as has every president before him, than in bringing in money from lobbyists.