H-1B Lottery: Trump Administration Wants to Kill It for Good

Is the H-1B lottery about to end for good?

That’s the surprising Oct. 28 announcement from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the Trump administration. Under the proposed rule, the current lottery would give way to a new system in which applicants are selected based on their salary levels. 

“Modifying the H-1B cap selection process by replacing the random selection process with a wage-level-based selection process is a better way to allocate H-1Bs when demand exceeds supply,” reads the DHS note about the rule. “If finalized as proposed, this new selection process would incentivize employers to offer higher wages or petition for positions requiring higher skills and higher-skilled workers instead of using the program to fill relatively lower-paid vacancies.”

This new system would impact both the H-1B regular cap and the H-1B advanced degree exemption. “The H-1B program is often exploited and abused by U.S. employers, and their U.S. clients, primarily seeking to hire foreign workers and pay lower wages,” Acting DHS Deputy Secretary Ken Cuccinelli wrote in a statement accompanying the announcement. “The current use of random selection to allocate H-1B visas makes it harder for businesses to plan their hiring, fails to leverage the H-1B program to truly compete for the world’s best and brightest, and hurts American workers by bringing in relatively lower-paid foreign labor at the expense of the American workforce.”

Because it’s a proposed rule, DHS will open up a public comment period, during which “interested parties” can submit their opinions.

This isn’t the first time that the U.S. government has attempted to tweak the H-1B lottery system. Back in 2018, for instance, the Trump administration and DHS proposed a new system that would favor those with advanced degrees. Under that proposal, H-1B applicants with master’s degrees (or higher) would be processed through a 20,000-visa “pool,” with the remaining petitions directed into a 65,000-visa “general” pool. That was a reversal of the existing system, which placed all applicants in the “general” pool before sending remaining applicants with advanced degrees into the “master’s cap” pool—and, in theory, it would lead to a significant increase in the number of H-1B holders with advanced degrees. 

Over the past four years, the Trump administration has launched a variety of efforts to change the H-1B visa. The net result of those efforts: the denial rate for H-1B petitions for initial employment rose from 6 percent during fiscal year 2015 to 29 percent through the second quarter of fiscal year 2020. Consulting and business-services firms, which are routinely accused of abusing the H-1B system to import cheaper workers from overseas, have been particularly hard-hit by denials. 

If the proposed DHS rule passes, and those applicants with the highest wages are permitted to apply first, it could have a seismic effect on the H-1B, further establishing it as a visa for advanced-degree workers with highly specialized skillsets—which was the original intent of the program. Consulting and business-services firms that have traditionally paid their H-1B workers less could be left out in the proverbial cold. 

28 Responses to “H-1B Lottery: Trump Administration Wants to Kill It for Good”

  1. Jake Leone

    Over the last 4 years we have talked a lot about postings that are untrue and the need to vet them.

    But whenever a tech sponsored “Study” is published, there is no vetting, no questions raised, we just get the same lies, completely inconsistent with actual data. It is not surprising that such “studies” which are pro the Tech industries positions are posted on forums where commentary is not allowed. Even PBS (of all such news agencies) has disallowed comments. I wonder why? Is it because big donors demanded it?

    Most of the generally available H-1b visas are taken up by Offshore Outsourcing companies and personnel companies. The Offshore Outsourcing companies use the H-1b visa, the B-1 visa, and any other visa they can get, to bring in trainees, that are trained by Americans they are replacing. Often as a prelude to moving the entire department, to India.

    Silicon Valley barely used 1/3 of the generally available H-1b visas. Think about that. We have Federal Government program, the H-1b visa, that is dedicated to removing jobs. Yet these Tech Companies will pay off any academic that will say, H-1b creates jobs. Why not concentrate and fix the PROBLEMS with the program. That never happens because Big Tech wants the cheap labor in the form of temp employees from those same Offshore Outsourcing companies.

    Tech companies say, “They dnn’t care about salary.”. Yet here they are backing a lawsuit that will keep salaries well below the average for H-1b workers. They will keep saying, salary is not an issue, in Tweets, in Facebook posts. No one at Twitter or Facebook will fact check them.

    Because Big Tech works as a monopoly and it doesn’t care about facts, if those facts get in the way of making money. And there-in lies the problem with allowing Big Tech to censor posts. No, we must take an opposite approach, we must allow (demand really) open commentary on forums that already monopolize the media.

    We can’t have speech controlled by business interest in the United States. You have ask yourself. If people were talking at a Bus Stop, about an issue, would it be incumbent on the Bus Line to start censoring or refuting the commentary of such travelers. Well the answer is emphatically, “No”.

    But we can’t make the leap, that the internet is the new “Bus Stop” and that we must not ever get involved in the conversations that arise there. Unless we simultaneously want to start having local party bosses dictate what can and cannot be said at a bus stop, by travelers. Like they do in Russia and Communist China. And it is no surprise that Facebook, Apple, and Google all collude the Chinese, indeed they openly help them censor the Chinese people. Without shame, because business people feel no shame in making a buck, ever.

    Unless we call them out here, publicly.

    Some in Big Tech want the opportunity to censor those they dislike politically. Jack Dorsey, he doesn’t like Trump and frankly he revels in censoring his speech.

    Hate speech, while deplorable and should be called out. Is still free speech. We need to realize that the problem with hate speech is when/if it leads good people to go silent. The SILENCE is the problem, not speech in particular. Prejudice is endemic to the human condition and likely arises from the fact that we have a fear organ (the Amygdala) which pervades our central nervous system. Knowing that is the case and when we recognize such an affliction is critical, because with that information we can determine and likely counter act dangerous behavior (not the speech, which we need to see first) early.

    But information speech, even if seemingly prejudicial, can at least be debated in the proper forum. If you open up every comment for open debate, no issue. If you think you have an absolute case against someone’s speech (being say, hateful). Check Again. You likely need to move the conversation to an open forum, where people can talk as adults to each other.

    Then, if someone threatens to violence. Then you’ll know, hey, someone is actually full of hate (born of the Amygdala) that hate has to actually be there, in order to identify true hate speech.

    Everything else, we just don’t know. And in could be born of something that with some work and research can be proven correct or incorrect, or just inconclusive, or maybe we will learn something new ourselves.

    The Amygdala, BTW, also causes our dreams to be insane. Like the dream where you can never start the car. Hey, the Amygdala wires us up this way, so that we can be challenged to find a solution, and no less this happens during sleep (how ironic nature is). But let us not be the fearful animals of the forest. Let us bravely challenge each other and get debate out of systems so that we can move forward as free adults.

    But no where is the contrast clearer, based upon case history. That we must continue to allow tech companies to act as public forums (frankly I feel we must require it). That we must continue to protect companies that hold such forums from lawsuit for speech present on their web pages (with the exception of credible violent threats, which are also illegal at a bus stop).

    Big Tech in the Emails in the “No Poaching” scandal. In the collusion between Apple and Google in excluding other browsers (Google and Apple have been colluding for decades, (hey they shared board members) Trump Administration is the first one to call this out). In the complete lies they tell about how the H-1b visa is used. In the lies they tell about how they say they don’t care about engineering salaries, yet then back this lawsuit to bring H-1b salaries way down to rookie salary levels.

    You know the H-1b propaganda is a lie. Because their actions (backing the lawsuit to bring down H-1b salaries). Tells us their true motivations. It’s a great puzzle for us to solve, but they under estimate the value and intelligence of the engineering workforce (or a least they would rather pay the lawyers and lobbyists for a quick illogical fix to their money issues involving engineering salaries).

    And we have called them out on in, en masse. And still they lie. It’s absolutely comical what they do. This lawsuit has to make you laugh. This stuff they say, also born of simplistic solutions to problems born of their Amygdalas, are easily proved incorrect.

    Why can’t we just have a forum, hey a meeting. Where we really discuss this issue and find solutions that good for country, which is the actual existing political entity. Open border’s people thing there somthing bigger, but there really isn’t anything bigger that we can deal with than at the country level. And talking about non-existent entities (or ones that are completely ignored by other countries in their actions). Well we may as well talk about Unicorns or some other mythical dream animals, because that would be more productive (and what it would produce is hearty laugh and chuckles that keeps us all happy while we talk about what can really be done).

    Big Tech cannot be trusted to censor the internet. Doing that will limit the information that can be presented to people so they can make an informed decision.

    If anything, Big Tech must be compelled to open up commentary (such as this comment here on Dice) and to not censor it (except for the common law violence threat and extortion that is already against the law).

  2. Is important to have the best coming to the US and not people who are falsifying their ecperiences and buying degrees and replacing local labour. Protecting this is the job of any administration. We dont know honestly who is going to do this job deligently and really is interested in protecting US labour or their interests and dealing their grievences. If the policy continues to protect global companies and their interests then the US labour force is bound to suffer. As we all know Corporations use different tactics like H1B and L1 to move their labour force instead hiring locally or making active attempt to do the same. This is not a US problem but a Global Problem and menace. Governments need to handle these concerns not just do propaganda and play with the hopes of citizens. Bread taken from one and given to another is unjust practice and need be compensated.

  3. I don’t think we need to import any labor. Many of these people are going to our universities so there is no need to hire them; simply hire Americans. Any large company that issues stock is at the whim of Wall Street and they are doing all this stuff because of Wall Street and their expectations of the company. If these companies really cared about America, they would stop listening to Wall Street and do what is right for America. None of these companies can be trusted to do the right thing until they realize that they should and that may never happen. Companies need more than lip service to their employees. They should want to pay them a decent wage and benefits so their employees can contribute to society.

  4. Do it now before China-Bidan takes over, scorched earth plan. also put in place special prosecutors for elections, for Biden pay for play, media collusion to depress the vote, polling collusion to depress the vote, and for each state that are counting fake ballots.

  5. H1b eventually become citizen and vote democratic. That is the reason for today’s changed demographics. Same goes for asylum seekers who state domestic violence as the reason. Watch Africans come here with Obama working in the background. More and more Omars.

  6. Remember closing the doors is not the best way, America is a land of immigrants and what has made America are immigrants but not importing garbage but the best to keep it going and new innovations and best brains which does not have colour and race this is what America stands for and new energy.
    If you look at the NASA programme you will see it but ofcourse we need use this for all countries and leep the American dream for everyone alive ofcourse the best.
    What we have today in US is garbage and people who cant speak proper english and have received degrees from schools which dont have standards to qualify as a school or University. We should bring in people only good enough to keep the US standards and compete with universities with US.
    As far as Asylums are concerned we need stop people misusing it and unfortunately, not a US problem only, here in EU, misuse of this is ongoing since ages and protection is given to people who really dont need it but are economic migrants is not the objective of granting Asylum. Misusing after Misusing and propaganda that we are open and democratic and we uphold values of Freedom of speech and rights etc..they play this and let exploit the system continiously and call others against as populist or rightist and defame them.
    Policies shluld focus on making the best for locals and keeping their jobs and uphold and not outsource or replace.

  7. The importing of cheap tech labor causes new grads not to find entry level jobs and citizens that could be educated and trained to have good jobs, especially those from disadvantaged areas, will not have the chance to better themselves. Corporations care nothing about lives and livelihoods, have no social conscience. This is what is in charge of the government now, thanks to Citizens United and other decisions that allow them to buy and control politicians on both sides. The number of visa workers on federal contracts is appalling. Instead of having dedicated jobs, it is their dream gig economy, and a mess. It hurts everyone, from the unemployed to the consumer.

  8. If I had to point a finger as to who’s at fault with gross abuse of work visas, it would be:

    Business lobbies
    Immigration attorneys / immigration law firms
    Political interest groups
    Staffing & recruiters (especially offshores)
    US companies, especially high tech, silicon valley firms and really all US based firms

    The above factions have no interests in stopping the abuse of American tech workers. They’re making too much money. But, someone has to stop the bleeding. This has gone on far long enough, and that’s one of the key issues.

    We’ve given US companies the golden key and they need to be trimmed down. Someone needs to put a control valve on them, a halter, or whatever analogy you want to use!

    We all know what has been going on. In essence, whoever has wanted to speak out against H1b, L1, etc. abuse, it has simply fallen on deaf ears.

    Let’s STOP abusing American tech workers!! STOP the H1b and L1 visa abuse.

    ENOUGH IS ENOUGH!!

  9. I agree with most everything on here. The one I never see discussed, is not only the H1B being used for average at best foreign workers, the program was designed to bring the best and brightest from around the world, this obviously is not the case when the number of H1B are from a very small number of countries i.e. India, are there really that many more brilliant people in India than other places around the world, I say no there are a lot of average people there just like everywhere else. The best and brightest by enlarge stay in there country of origin that’s just fact. The other fact is many in the H1B come from extremely impoverished nations, living 10 people in a 1 bedroom Apartment here is still better than the option of staying in there in many cases. The economics of it are rarely discussed. These 10 people will share the rent and send much the money they earn back home thus taking money out of the US economy this is also fact anyone who has worked in tech for long has seen it. The issue is not them sending money out of the economy, who can blame someone for trying to take care of their family back home, nobody can blame them. The problem is the companies taking advantage of the program have to be stopped. They don’t care because it helps the bottom line, and the people making these decisions are not fighting for lower and mid level tech jobs and could care less about the money they are paying the worker leaving the economy either. They sit upon high and reap the rewards while qualified US born workers are unemployed. I don’t blame the H1B worker for any of this, it’s on the immigration and naturalization dept. to stop big tech from abusing the system which I doubt anyone could argue that it is not exactly what they are doing. The question is will anyone in government power ever do this, I say no they are the elite as well. Trump is the only President we have had since the H1B system was put in place that wants it do what it was designed to do, bring elite minds into the US to work on complex problems, not fill out paperwork and work on non complex problems that the average US tech worker can already do. It looks like we will have a new administration so all this talk is for naught, because it likely is irrelevant come Jan 20 2021. My 2 cents.

    • Whether be Biden or Trump I think our focus should be bring this to public or atleast publicise as much as possible and will take time until is adressed as a big scam.
      A Democrat is just as well victim of this exploitation as Republican.
      We need this as one of the burning issues to be adressed by the politicians on their table.
      Who has the best plan to tackle this protecting the interest is the right candidate for this job. It wont be wise to polarise rather focus on this as a victim which we all are.

  10. So the guy who has filled the government with corporate millionaires, CEOs, lobbyists and donors is your savior? Don’t suppose you connect the dots that these are the same people who outsourced the jobs in the first place. Wilbur Ross was known as the “King of Bankruptcy.” During Trump’s tantrum shutdown of the government, he said he couldn’t understand why people couldn’t go without a paycheck for a few weeks. Of course, they are all deeply worried about the plight of the middle class.

    • Sorry, is the focus on the issue caused or issue fixing, what do you want to give prio to.
      But I hope that it is not meant by that only Republicans are victims and not Democrats rather address this as Americans and as victims of exploitation caused by the Global firms.This is not a US problem only but a Global one. If we win this in US we will be able to win globally and thats what we all aiming for. What effects US effects globally.
      Creating walls is not going to help rather working together for a common goal will also need happen by the new elected government in the US.

  11. Robert Miles

    Where does tRump think we will get farm laborers under this system, when most US citizens refuse to take such jobs? Or does he plan to raise the pay for just enough of them to keep him fed, with no attention to whether the other US citizens get fed or not?

  12. The H1-B was never needed in the mainframe environment. We, who were involved in the evolution of Data Processing, yes Data Processing, don’t need any foreign help. Those who come, stay more then the total allocated 6 years, stay and steal American jobs afterward!!!!!!!!