Trump Extends H-1B Visa Ban by 3 Months, Despite Term Ending

As he closes out his term, President Donald Trump has extended his ban on “entry of immigrants who present a risk to the United States labor market,” including those who rely on the H-1B visa. However, will the extension have any impact, given how President-elect Biden is due to take the oath of office on January 20?

The new proclamation states that the ban’s extension is due to the continuing COVID-19 pandemic and the U.S. unemployment rate. “The 2019 Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) continues to significantly disrupt Americans’ livelihoods,” it reads. “While the November overall unemployment rate in the United States of 6.7 percent reflects a marked decline from its April high, there were still 9,834,000 fewer seasonally adjusted nonfarm jobs in November than in February of 2020.”

As pointed out by NFAP executive director Stuart Anderson in Forbes, however, the unemployment rate among computer and mathematical occupations is far lower, sitting at roughly 2.4 percent in November 2020 (the article pulled its data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics). 

The extension is set to expire on March 31, 2021, which is more than two months after Trump is scheduled to leave office. The incoming Biden administration has its own plans for immigration, with rumors that it will reverse at least some of Trump’s H-1B policies, but the specifics remain to be seen. Chances seem good, however, that Biden will rescind Trump’s ban extension. 

When the Trump administration first issued its temporary ban on the H-1B and other visas in mid-2020, it ignited a substantial amount of pushback from the big tech firms (such as Google and Apple) that heavily rely on the visa. In October, a federal judge banned the ban, stating that the President had exceeded the authority given to him by Congress when he issued the initial proclamation. 

“Indeed, there must be some measure of constraint on Presidential authority in the domestic sphere in order not to render the executive an entirely monarchical power in the immigration context, an area within clear legislative prerogative,” stated United States District Judge Jeffrey S. White’s ruling in National Association of Manufacturers, et al. v. U.S. Department of Homeland Security. “Such unrestricted authority would be contrary to Congress’ explicit delegation of powers in foreign affairs and national security.” 

In its final months, the Trump administration also launched the sweeping reform of the H-1B system that it had promised for years. The centerpiece of that shift was a Department of Labor (DOL) Interim Final Rule designed to reform the H-1B system from the ground up, specifically around minimum wage reforms and stricter visa reviews. Many of these changes (particularly the wage-related ones) could have a huge impact on business-services and consulting firms that traditionally apply for lots of H-1B workers that they subsequently contract out to other companies. It remains to be seen, of course, whether the Biden administration will keep some (or any) of those proposed changes. 

15 Responses to “Trump Extends H-1B Visa Ban by 3 Months, Despite Term Ending”

  1. Jake Leone

    Companies discriminate against Americans by protecting foreign workers from having to compete with numerous better qualified local candidates. Because foreign workers will keep quiet and won’t leave, forever, until Green Card day. Which never comes, because this cycle of discrimination is creating a huge Green Card back log.

    Hey, Facebook’s own data, provided to Federal investigators. Shows that for every open STEM job, Facebook receives hundreds of resumes. Of those hundreds of resumes, Facebook admits typically 30+ are fully qualified for the STEM job. Facebook further admits that those 30+ (Facebook can only hire 1 per job), are better qualified than Foreign workers Facebook protects in a Faked up PERM process.

    The DOJ indictment is the Rosetta Stone, the information gathered there was gathered under the threat of Federal prosecution for obstruction. You can bet no one lied. At my tech job (about 2-miles from Facebook) we are grilled about this in routine legal compliance training, every year.

    Facebook, the other Big Tech companies are all liars, and we have the data now to disprove them in every conversation. Read the indictment, it will give you real information that you can use to credibly reduce all these corporate lies.

    If you have been in the business you will know about this. But you can only relate your one case. The DOJ indictment is a game changer.

    The Facebook indictment lists 2600+ cases where Facebook lied on Federal forms, and protected foreign workers from local competition. And the reason is because illegal foreign workers keep their mouths shut about company problems and not quit, forever until Green Card day.

      • Jake_Leone

        This is not what I say. This is what is contained in a DOJ indictment of Facebook.

        You can read that indictment online, it is now public information.

        In that indictment, Facebook admits it finds 30+ qualified STEM candidates, who want to work for Facebook, for every STEM job Facebook publicly advertises. Facebook also ways, it would hire the 30+ others that it finds (per job ad) but it has only one position available. Lying to Federal investigators carries a felony prison sentence. You can bet this is the truth.

        But lying to the public, carries no prison sentence. So Facebook lies when it says it needs more H-1b workers. What Facebook needs are more workers that are tied to the job, and will keep their mouths shut about company problems, forever until Green Card day.

        Startups have a hard time finding people, because startups have zero job security. But established companies like Google, Apple, Microsoft, and Facebook, find 30x more qualified local STEM workers, who want to work for them then they can possibly hire. Yet it is those same companies that are lobbying for unlimited H-1b visas.

      • Jake_Leone

        Have you read the DOJ indictment? I suspect you have not, and that is why what I am writing here is beyond your comprehension. Just go get educated on this. The unemployment rate doesn’t count those who have been discouraged from looking for work for 6 months or longer.

        You know the unemployment rate doesn’t count those who have been discouraged to continue in a profession, don’t you? If you don’t go take some classes. We do know that 50% of STEM grads wind up doing some other work.

        The Facebook data, provided by Facebook, tells us why. Big Tech has a preference for foreign workers who are tied to the job, forever, until Green Card day. Yet, when a credible job ad is placed by a company that can you employed for say longer than 3 months (many startups quickly run out of cash and fold), they get hundreds of resumes, and typically find 30+ fully qualified local STEM candidates. Facebook is one such company, by its own admission to Fedreral investigators. You can now know that when Facebook says it can’t find STEM workers, it is telling a bald face lie (a lie they would never dare tell to Federal investigators).

        Companies protect their foreign workers from local competition in the PERM process. Facebook did this 2600+ times in just a 1.5 year period (again read the DOJ indictment). If Facebook openly advertised its PERM process jobs, the PERM process would never complete, and the foreign employee would just leave. And Facebook knows it has 30+ fully qualified Americans to replace them, but they don’t want Americans, because Americans have 13th amendment rights.

        If what I say is nonsense to you, I know the reason why. You simply haven’t read the DOJ indictment against Facebook. Further, the DOJ has won all its similar recent cases involving such Fake PERM ads, but against smaller companies. Each case typically garners 100k per offense in penalties from the offending company (Again just do some research).

        Corporate propaganda say the IT unemployment rate is 2.4 percent. But it doesn’t add in the 50% of college STEM grads that never find a job in a STEM field. Therefore it is a meaningless statistic, again only useful for perpetuating the lie that companies can’t find qualified workers. The government will always qualify the 2.4% as being those who are actively looking for work, and that the actually unemployment rate must include those who are discouraged, which the government simply doesn’t track.

        The DOJ Facebook indictment, the information in which was gathered under threat of a Federal felony prison sentence for lying about anything, is the Rosetta Stone for decoding the corporate lies regarding the real reason why companies want foreign workers.

        They want foreign workers, because foreign workers will keep their mouths shut about company problems (Facebook has a lot of internal problems and information they don’t want let out) and they won’t leave the job, forever, until Green Card day (which never comes because of the huge back log caused by fraudulent PERM process applications, such as the one’s Facebook did 2600+ times over just a 1.5 year period).

        Based upon previous cases, this Facebook indictment could be worth over 240 million in fines alone. The civil lawsuits could mount into the billions.

      • jake leone

        I see no response by you. I think it is safe to assume you have read the Facebook indictment and now actually understand what I wrote above and actually agree with it. Thanks.

  2. Anonymous

    My replacement as a Senior Oracle DBA at a Fortune 500 company couldn’t spell SQL much less know how to use it.

    They all say they have the skills but when it comes time to prove it 90% fail.

  3. The majority of software engineers do not work for FAANG companies. But, we all feel the effects as we have all worked with 1 or more green card holders at every job we had. It would be nice to think things will change but unless the rich want it to change, it won’t change.

  4. I came to the US on a H1-B over 25 years ago, when the quotas weren’t filled right after the next year opened. I worked for a small software company, was paid the prevailing wage, and had specialized skills and knowledge.

    I then was recruited to a second company, changed status to another H1-B, again was paid prevailing wage and had specialized skills and knowledge.

    Eventually I got a green card and citizenship.

    This is the way it’s supposed to work – done at a “micro” level on a case by case basis. Also, back then, any Indian or Chinese IT workers came from top engineering schools and had the skills.

    Today, companies are abusing this by doing it at a “macro” level – dozens or hundreds of generic workers at a time – and the workers coming in often are from a 3rd tier school plus a boot camp, are not paid the prevailing wage, and typically don’t have skills and experience.

    • jake leone

      The Green Card back log has kept workers tied to specific companies. A better way to handle this would be have the worker carry the Green Card process with them when they leave a company. Making a worker go to the back of the line in the Green Card process, because they switch jobs, just creates and indentured worker.

      Companies do Fake/PERM job ads. And this doesn’t help either. It protects weak Green Card candidates from direct local competition for a job. We also should not have unlimited retries in the PERM process. 2 retries is all that we should do. After that, the worker can have a timeout (10 years to learn an actual in-demand and not locally available skill). Or they can move to a different company. Maybe a startup that just can’t find people (because no one likes to work 3 months and then get laid off when the company runs out of money).

      Facebook did a Fake PERM process 2600+ times over just a 1.5 year period. Facebook’s own HR people admitted to investigators that it had 30+ extra better qualified local candidates for their open hire STEM jobs, but they were not allowed to forward those resumes to the hiring managers in the PERM process (because then Facebook could not lie on Federal forms by saying “Oh, gosh, we just didn’t find any local candidates, and we made a good faith effort (which they did not)”… when in fact they had numerous local candidates, that were better qualified than the foreign workers (again by Facebook’s own admission in the DOJ indictment).

      There are some great foreign STEM workers. Those workers have nothing to fear from an open PERM process. Bringing in the local candidates and then actually doing the work to compare them against the foreign worker in the PERM process is the real way companies are supposed to do this. But that takes actually thought and risks not finishing the PERM process quickly. But that huge loophole also funnels too many mediocre people into the Green Card wait queue. So much so, that the queue itself becomes the problem, compounded by the fact that workers can’t leave their job for decades until maybe they get a Green Card.

      Which frankly creates a disenfranchised and resentful class of workers, that companies demand more of, because they are basically slaves.

  5. Biden will, unfortunately, reverse it. Companies will abuse it again. Trump, as much as a fu-k up as he is, to his credit, and for whatever reason, did get this one right.

    The folks from India will do what they usually do. They’ll laugh it off as simply another short delay, wait it out, and then laugh some more all the way to the bank. No muss. No fuss.

    They’ll just do a quick Boogie shuffle and a ha ha ha.

    It will continue to be the same old problem as before. Two steps forward, and with Biden, three steps back. I certainly wish there was another way, but we’re not getting in front of any of the right people or we’re not able to present it well enough in court to make any significant changes.

    Class action suits might help, unionizing could help as well. Unionizing would put much more money and muscle into fighting it. Don’t know and just thinking out loud.

  6. We need to keep up the pressure on the White House, our Senators and Representatives. Fortunately, the changes to the H1b lottery that favor more skilled workers will be starting this year. It’s too bad we can’t have technical vetting of these workers – they are abusing the system and that needs to be controlled better. If you notice something, say something; there is an ICE line for reporting and you don’t have to give your name.

    • jake leone

      Read the DOJ indictment of Facebook for lying on PERM process applications, 2600+ times over just a 1.5 year period. It is the Rosetta Stone for decoding the corporate lies about a supposed STEM worker shortage.

      • When Infosys got hit with a fine for misusing virtually all the L1 and B1 visas they used over a 7 year period they had to pay a fine, something like $50 million but I don’t remember (this was 5 or 6 years ago). Then, they “had” to lay off workers for maintain their profit expectations and guess what demographic was laid off? older American workers. Let’s see how Facebook handles the fine situation. Corporate behavior can be so predictable.

  7. Anónimo

    H1B should be terminated for all tech and legal and any other industry that does not require a master degree or some very special skills/knowledge is science and such. We do not need any more Indians that know nothing and lie about their experience. H1B was good for Y2K but now it’s just a way for corporations to pay pennies for a skill that they don’t even get.

    If I had the power I’ll terminate the visa program and send back home all the excess of Indians taking the job that should be for American workers