U.S. Senators Advocate H-1B Freeze for 60 Days or Longer

Four U.S. senators have sent a letter to President Trump that asks for a suspension of all new guest worker visas, including the H-1B, for at least the next 60 days.

News of the letter first appeared in Politico. “Given the extreme lack of available jobs for American job-seekers as portions of our economic begin to reopen, it defies common sense to admit additional foreign guest workers to compete for such limited employment,” reads one section. The letter’s signers are senators Tom Cotton (R-ARK.), Ted Cruz (R-TX.), Chuck Grassley (R-IA), and Josh Hawley (R-MO).

The guest worker visas in question would include H-1Bs, H-2Bs, and EB-5 visas. The letter also asks for the suspension to potentially stay in place for either an additional year or until employment returns to non-pandemic levels (“whichever comes first”). 

“There is no reason why unemployed Americans and recent college graduates should have to compete in such a limited job market against an influx of additional H-1B workers, most of whom work in business, technology, or STEM fields,” the letter added. “Temporarily suspending the issuance of new H-1B visas would also protect the hundreds of thousands of H-1B workers and their families already working in the United States—workers who could otherwise be subject to deportation if they are laid off for more than 60 days.”

Whether or not Trump follows the letter’s suggestions, it’s clear that the COVID-19 pandemic has already slowed down H-1B processing by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). “Beginning with the first day of filing, April 1, 2020, we will not immediately enter data for FY 2021 cap-subject petitions due to the COVID-19 pandemic and required health and safety protocols,” read the agency’s recent note. “Data entry and notice generation will be delayed until at least May 1, 2020.”

In addition, the long-term rate of H-1B denials remains elevated, especially among business-services and consulting firms that H-1B critics feel abuse the visa to onboard talent at artificially suppressed prices.

Visit our COVID-19 Resource Center, which aims to provide the tech community with the best, most up-to-date information on the novel coronavirus. 

70 Responses to “U.S. Senators Advocate H-1B Freeze for 60 Days or Longer”

  1. A Wilford

    If you think India or China will ever repeat the mistakes that America made in the 2000s (handing over virtually all of its technology over the Internet, laying off hundreds of thousands of workers and building offshores plants and immigration facilities), you have another thing coming!

    • Glad to see someone has a head-on. This country was looted of all of its advantages, R&D transferred out … all tech given away … all tech jobs traded for foreign non-profit revenue interests. Amer was sacked by a policy war and politicians absent of statesmanship.

    • JPerez

      I personally have worked with a lot of h1 visas folks, and they are not worth it. Any American can do their job, we have over 60,000 students graduating with a computer science degree every year, not including the tech coding schools. Plus these big tech companies can do cross training if needed. They should pause the h1 program for one year at least.

      • johndean

        Your opinion that H1B ain’t worth it is useless in a system where money matters.

        Employer is writing the paycheck for beggars like you and H1B hence they have the right to hire whoever they want.

        • Milly

          @johndean – Sorry, you’re wrong. Employers do NOT have a ‘right’ to hire anyone – they have to get a visa from the government after they demonstrate that there is no US national available to do the work.

        • paul bevillard

          “Employer is writing the paycheck for beggars like you and H1B hence they have the right to hire whoever they want.”
          Seems you like making things personal. It doesn’t say much about you except being sour over the opinions of others. Companies are restricted in hiring whom they may want, and in the case with H1-B visas, translates to cheaper labor…………and you get what you pay for. And who is to say that H1-B applications are authentic adn fair (for fairness see 2nd paragraph). The INS conducted a study of 3,247 H-1B applicants who applied at an American consulate in India and were unable to verify the authenticity of almost 45% of the claims. 21% of work experience made to the INS were confirmed to be fraudulent. Looks like a real problem with authenticity
          An audit by the Department of Labor found that 19% of H-1B workers were being paid below the salaries promised by their employers listed on the application forms. Note: the forms must be filed with the Department of Labor in order for companies to receive permission to use H-1B workers. (See, companies must receive permission to hire outside. This pretty much invalidates your argument that employers have the right to hire whoever they want). The audit found that employers use H-1B employees to get around wages.

        • Keith Gerson

          H1-B workers cause many software & hardware architecture issues. I know of one that cost the firm millions of dollars and years of work for a large team.

      • Logic

        Mr Perez. I see you want to kick out H1Bs and hire more Americans. Fair point. How do you feel about kicking out illegals, so that low earning Americans can get more jobs and earn higher wages?
        Your response to that could mean one of two things
        1> If you support kicking illegals out then you are a Trump supporter.
        2>If you don’t support kicking illegals out, then you are a racist who promotes racism as long as it affects some other group of color. Basically a racist with double standards.

      • How do you know the laid-off worker major is Computer Science or engineering. H1 Visas given to a variety of fields and that has a shortage, Americans without skills or no American wants to do jobs. There is site on the labor dept that whom they are giving H1 visas. Check-in your state.

        • I worked within a major telecom company doing software testing for new upgrades. We had 11 ‘programmers’ from India. During the 8 months of programming, two of the programmers worked while the other 9 programmers sat around drinking tea and reading different websites. When I brought up the issue with my department head, his response was ‘don’t rock the boat’. I was dealing with hiring another tester and was informed by management to look at H1B resources. I found the H1B programmers were being paid half of what the US citizen programmers were being paid but doing the math, I calculated we were paying $700 more per hour using the Indian contractors than if we hired the needed number of US programmers. I have no idea how much more it was costing above that $700 per hour difference as that didn’t include the additional payments made to the Indian company for their expenses and profits. On top of that, due to differences in culture and language, we were doing 3 times the rework we normally did which caused by faulty understandings and an inability of the Indian contractors to admit when they needed help.

          One other problem we had – whenever an Indian worker was promoted into management, that department became all Indian workers over a period of time. I finally left the company as it was obvious the company was losing lots of money due to some of these decisions and I wanted to get somewhere where I could actually understand what people I depended on were telling me. English spoken by many of the Indian workers is hard to understand.

          • Agreed. Indians are taking over Google, Microsoft, Facebook, Amazon, IBM, pharmaceuticals, retail stores, even gas stations and bus drivers.

      • Richie

        Moreover, not all IT or Software jobs require a Computer Science degree. Most jobs could easily be done with vocational training on coding from any institutes. Except for a few great institutes in India, other ones produce mediocre sub-par Engineers. You can pay your way to get a degree from those mediocre institutes.
        Big tech should set some money aside and make these courses available for free in community and state-run colleges. They can easily do it among the big 5 (GOOG, AMZN, APPL, FB, MSFT) they have easily $1Tr in cash and to implement something like this won’t even cost a few million dollars. Every time they run to increase the numbers and they don’t even hire more than 1000 every year. Assuming 15000 H1Bs are recruited by techs what happen to the remaining 70000?, they are littered everywhere working for less than 1/2 salary. US Companies are the biggest problem specially the tech and Indian consulting.

      • Need to get rid of the L1s, and lot of other senior Indian IT Mgt folks visas too. These guys are usually the ones hand-in-glove with local client teams They push RFP/ RFI proposals etc..and push lower rates so that jobs get outsrcd….

      • Hahaha. Perez. You seem like an immigrant yourself man. Or someone who lost their job to an H1-B holder. I’m an H1-B holder. I work for Wells Fargo. I earn $180k per year, without bonus and incentives. And I’m currently saving up tons and tons of money as I’ve been working from home (coz of no travel expenses, etc). Life is sooo good man!! And seeing comments from your jealous losers makes me feel all the more better about myself!
        And yes, if Americans were as good as H1-B guys at doing their work, then there wouldn’t be so many of us doing your jobs. I mean c’mon man, there’s a deadly virus in the air, and you Americans are protesting that u need to go to the parlor to get haircuts or get your nails done!!?? I laughed for days at that one man 😂😂😂😂

        H1-B for the win!!! Spread love and positivity and not hatred and jealousy you losers!!

      • It will effect the economy and growth. They hire the american first and they hire for the skills that american donot have or donot like to do the jobs.

        There is 50% of the consumer and consulting market captured by US company and they bring big revenue to America from India especially Amazon and Walmart. India buys the American product than what is wrong with Americans to buy foreign products. See how many Americans are working in India. America gives an old technology and products to india.

      • In 2010, there were 5.4 million foreign-born people living in India, according to new estimates released by the Population Division of the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affair

  2. Citizens are affected by all kinds of visas, not just H-1B.
    Stop bipartisan bill to issue 40K Green Cards to Doctors and Nurses for working during COVID-19. It is common for Doctors and Nurses to work during medical emergencies and those who are on visa have to work to maintain their visa. And I am not sure if the bill have plans to import Doctors and Nurses and give them green card.
    What about the Doctors who are Citizens are having less work schedule and young US Citizens who are studying in that path?. It is difficult to understand the motto behind helping only non US Citizens.

    • “It is common for Doctors and Nurses to work during medical emergencies and those who are on visa have to work to maintain their visa.”
      But u should see that they chose to work knowing that the chance of getting infected is very high and even they might die. What will happen if they choose their lives over treating patients at this time?

  3. H1B Suspension

    Over 35 million American unemployed ( with over 2.5 million IT, STEM Americans available for work) it makes sense to halt and suspend H1B program completely. Even H1B extensions is a No so after H1B expiry let them roll off back to Home country.
    Well super super inflated San Francisco Bay Area home prices are all set to FALL more than 70 ( seventy ) percent end 2020 unprecedented foreclosures.

  4. Human

    Not all h1b’s come from other country only by false means. A lot of them spend good amount of money here to get a degree from an American university. They do pay taxes and are all legit.

  5. This is great news!!! My wife is about to lose her job at Walgreen’s because they are replacing 800 American IT workers with these foreign H1-B scabs!!!

    This is the second time she’s being replaced by Tata Consulting Services!! The first time was at Hospira!!

    And get this, it’s taking 10 Indian’s replace her. Two here in the states and 8 more providing support from India.

    This has to stop!! End H1-B visa’s, setup training programs for American’s and get these damn foreigners out of our country!!!!!!

  6. Simon

    H1-B’s are issued to a wide variety of industry’s not just tech. I’m a tenured full professor at a major public university and I moved to the US on a H1-B. I’m now pretty much guaranteed that I will not be able to get permanent residency or citizenship before the 6 year limit on holding a H1-B expires. The result is that I will have no choice but to leave the US. I’m in a specialist field where there are a limited number of people not just in the US but globally. Who looses out here apart from the university I work at and the American students I teach.

      • Peter_Grass

        Yes, because an American will always know and have the exact personal and professional experience than a foreign folk who can bring unique cultural diversity to that university, right? The hard approach to visa regulations for the tech world simply doesn’t work for other sectors such as higher education. Comments like this reveal to what extent this is about racial and cultural prejudices and not just the economy for many. Sad to see in a country built up by immigrants (legal and illegal).

  7. noobz

    All of you are idiots. America needs to hire the best and get rid of the filth that is polluting our society. Do a blind test; if someone is better; hire them; and then deport the useless pieces of shit sitting on wellfare in the deep south. This country can only improve when we are a population made of the best. Hire the best, regardless of who they are; deport the useless people living in trailer parks; deport the old boomers who contribute negative value to society; deport the poor and weak so that we can be strong

  8. Guy Morello

    @Simon You are the rare exception and should be allowed to teach US students. Most immigrants I have worked with are intelligent and well mannered. If you can teach US students your skills the student becomes an asset to this country. Thank you.
    However the students you teach should be employed by US companies upon graduation rather than importing more foreign workers. All jobs that are available for H1-B applicants were done by US citizens before they arrived. In times of massive unemployment it would be patriotic for companies to bring back the US citizens that were displaced and hire new US grads. The US companies are the problem not the immigrants.

  9. Standing on the corner

    H1-Bs should be for true scientists such as people with Ph.D. or people who come as students for 4 years at US colleges and want a job when done.

    But what scum mega Wall Street corporations like the banks and brokerages are hiring by the 10s of thousands every year is programmers with 6 mos training from India mostly. 95% of the H1B are programmers. Even Boeing software for the MAX was programmed in India. They are not STEM. They are freaking coders. Plenty of Americans who can code.

    Read this and weep! Want to fly the MAX again?

  10. A common practice of large US companies is to buy smaller US companies then lower labor costs by filling IT, support, and developer jobs with H1Bs. It’s part of the modern corporate M&A strategy since smaller companies aren’t interested in the H1B hassles which their larger, future owners will gladly step-in and do on a large-scale planning for 10-30% drop in their largest cost of business: labor.

  11. Ron S

    For US companies, it’s not about bringing Americans back in as a patriotic act. It’s all about the money. Not about patriotism. It’s about immigration law firms, too! They are literally money machines!! So, you have to point a nice chunk ‘o’ the blame on them as well!!!

    To get rid of the H1b program is just one visa type out of many. Yes, of course, bring it to an abrupt end. But also bring the L1 visa to an end. That’s an easy way for American businesses to bring in any number of foreigners they so desire.

    Look, you can complain all you want. It’s not gonna stop anything. Get over it. Eat it. Cry like a bunch ‘o’ ninny nipples. Large Indian consultancies are here to stay, right along with humongotronic Washington lobbyists with tons of money. Business greed and big money are hallmarks of American society. Same all over the planet.

    How much good has all the complaining done over last 20 to 25 years about the H1b program abuses? Hasn’t done squatsky has it?!?! You’re right. No, it hasn’t. So stop the whining. You’re not gonna stop American or Indian businesses, immigration law firms or Washington lobbyists.

    This is just a temporary hold on a teeny tiny percentage of American job replacers.

  12. Once we get beyond the political babbling and get to the real nub of the question, was the underpinning premise of the H1b visas ever really valid. Namely, the need for technologically trained individuals that can not be addressed by the indigenous market place in the US. Personally I doubt that it was ever valid and was a expeditious vehicle to populate commercial entities like Google, Amazon, Yahoo and others. Today this premise is absolutely not a valid argument. Thus, it would seem that if a company wants to operate in this country, they are compelled to hire ingidinious populations.

  13. Andrew

    Who is paying dice for all these H1B stories? Every email I get from Dice with “news” has an H1B story as a lead.

    Yes, it’s an important issue. But, we don’t need to hear about it ALL THE TIME!

  14. Anonymous

    Another BS propaganda, make feel good article to fool everybody. Reality is that many more will be allowed to come in on H1b and other scam visas to grab all the good jobs here, especially from India (on top of what is already outsourced there), even as millions of Americans sit unemployed these days. This country is crazy stupid, no one does anything close to this, sad and shameful.

  15. Joe B.

    We should give these congressmen medals! I would suspend forever not just 60 days. I wouldn’t be surprised if we’re sending stimulus checks to these roaches.

  16. Born an American citizen

    All you folks coming into the US taking American jobs. Stay home and help your own countries. For an example in India folks still poop in the street. If you are so smart help your country get proper sanitation and water. Most Americans don’t want you here.

    • Sri Ram

      You all speak about banning H1B and L1 while allowing F1 and J1. Do you know most of them take out huge loans just for masters and the moratorium is only for one year. If they don’t get a job their life is done. Isn’t that injustice on their part? Education creates one thirds of your economy right?

      • tens and thousands of H1B visa holders are working from outside of US on the same H1B job that was sponsored for the specific LCA location ( they are working from India , Canada , etc ) – which is illegal .
        the H1B sponsorer companies hide the above from USCIS.

        • Sri Ram

          If they were working from outside the USA, why do companies even need to hire people in the US in the first place? They could’ve just outsourced it for cheap labour.

  17. I agree with Joe B to suspend all visa’s for life time however for that to happen , Mr trump has to cancel H1-B visa’s for Pakistan as they are appointed by there relatives on H1-b visa to work in there factories .Mr trump has to cancel all H1-B visa’s which are issued in 2019. Especially the visa’s issued by there own relatives who own specific companies and lottery lay offs.They have to ban and send them back to their own country to help the jobless American citizens gain their jobs back.

  18. Agreed. The only way out is to increase courses and STEM education. Make it more affordable and widespread. Thats the only way to get these H1s, L1s etc out.

  19. I noticed these rhinos are only asking for a 60 day suspension. The next wave of H1B’s Happens in the fall. A 60 day suspension of H1B’s will have no effect… Why not a one year or three-year or permanent suspension of H1B’s

  20. India has factories of producing tech people and exporting to middle east, USA and Europe. Offshore offices has time difference, communication problems and cultural mismatch. USA don’t need them. Its all about politics and money. like china is to low cost, india is to cheap labor. I have been interviewing for a senior level tech position and i had to deal with indians interviewers panel and they always end up hiring a fellow indian. I’m sick and tired of this. not because i’m incompetent and any less knowledgeable or experienced, its the overall mafia that keeps hiring indians. I hope USA will ban H1-B for a long time.

  21. Honestly, this is irrelevant to what’s currently happening in the US. Tom Cotton is a China hawk who thinks Covid-19 was invented in a lab in Wuhan. I’m guessing these 4 senators feel useless and need to do something to make it seem like they’re doing something relevant to the pandemic.

    The sooner we focus on testing and tracking cases, the sooner all of this will be over.

  22. tens and thousands of H1B visa holders are working from outside of US on the same H1B job that was sponsored for the specific LCA location ( they are working from India , Canada , etc ) – which is illegal .
    the H1B sponsorer companies hide the above from USCIS.

      • Its ok if Docs, nurses and other emergency staffing needs to be done. I guess they should be provided visas, but then it should be mandatory for these folks to leave after their visa tenure is over (same goes for H1, L1s, H4s etc too)…not sure why we let them stick around for decades

  23. “It is common for Doctors and Nurses to work during medical emergencies and those who are on visa have to work to maintain their visa.”
    But u should see that they chose to work knowing that the chance of getting infected is very high and even they might die. What will happen if they choose their lives over treating patients at this time?

  24. Alicia

    All this shit happened when Trump started deporting everyone tearing families apart to go without many lost their homes many got their childten tooken away cause of the government ripping families apart this was all brought onto the so called americans the USA is not a usa cause if it was why is their people in the congress and white house and Senate and Pentagon houses that are rasicst to the mexicans to guam’s China Japan we the people are not the people you have made and started a war with in your own people everyone needs help EVERYONE. While you are in your big house stuffing your face while children who has one of their parents ripped away from them and who worked their ass off 7 days a week just to keep food and a roof and a car and take care of their loved ones was taken in front of the children made rebals you people who are so harsh to others what if it was the other way around and we treated you the exact same way you do us and them you would be upset pissed and start a war man up swallow your own freaking poison and help the people and get the Fuck over yourself think of everyone you all are no good if you keep ripping families apart and and ruining their lives and their children’s lives.