Will Changing H-1B Salary Rules Impact International Students?

During the final year of the Trump administration, USCIS and Homeland Security proposed switching out the H-1B lottery in favor of an application system that prioritized higher-salaried workers. While the Biden administration seems intent on abandoning many of Trump’s H-1B initiatives, it’s hinted that a system based on high wages is of interest.

Specifically, Biden’s U.S. Citizenship Act of 2021 would prioritize visas based on wages, and give both the Secretaries of Homeland Security and Labor the ability to determine the appropriate wage levels. Analysts and pundits have pointed out that such a system, if enacted, would harm the business model of the business-services and consulting firms that try to acquire lots of H-1B workers at relatively modest salaries.

But as pointed out in a new paper from the National Foundation for American Policy (PDF), abandoning the H-1B lottery could also have a huge impact on international students who often find their way into U.S. tech companies.

“Selecting H-1B petitions by salary level would favor those with the most experience in the labor market over those with the least experience, something not present under the current lottery system, which awards H-1B petitions by random selection when more applications (or ‘registrations’) are received than the annual limit allows,” the NFAP paper mentions. 

The NFAP also crunched some data: “The National Foundation for American Policy found that an international student may be 54 percent more likely to get an H-1B petition under the current H-1B lottery system than under the Trump administration’s regulation that would end the H-1B lottery, based on an NFAP analysis of actual cases of recent international students and filings for H- 1B petitions obtained from an immigration law firm.” 

Critics of the H-1B system, of course, would argue that the visa was originally intended for highly specialized workers whose skill-sets are hard to find, and that the vast majority of students (international or otherwise) don’t fall into that category. 

12 Responses to “Will Changing H-1B Salary Rules Impact International Students?”

  1. If there is a law that refrain political parties having election campaign funds from multinational companies whose main origin is not US and founder is not US Born Citizen then US Citizens won’t be seeing biased h1b and green card priority to a nation.
    The biased system will ruin US Born Citizens career who are working hard in schools and graduating. It has to be taken seriously to stop flooding illegals, work visa (to green card) scams and chain immigration to protect US Citizen’s jobs and financial stability.

  2. Jake Leone

    Under the idiotic lottery we were never getting the “Best” nor the “Brightest”. We received a random selection of a group comprised of those who wold accept the lowest salary. That puts them well below average.

    Other countries greatly benefit from our collective national failure in this area. As the “Best” and “Brightest” stay in their home country or return back (because they accidentally earned a Phd).

    Instead the economic parasites have taken over the H-1b program, with more than half of the H-1b visas going to Offshore Outsourcing companies. And Offshore Outsourcing companies pay the lowest salaries, they don’t sponsor people for Green Cards or citizenship. Offshore Outsourcing companies turn the H-1b program into an Anti-Immigration program,

    Further, Offshore Outsourcing companies stuff in a huge number of redundant H-1b visas, and in doing so squeeze out not only Silicon Valley companies, but thousands of non-profit organizations.

    We can switch to a salary based allocation of H-1b visas, without affecting non-profits, by simply determining the number of non-profits that apply for an H-1b visa. Convert that number to a percentage of all H-1b visas. Reserve that percentage of H-1b visas to be distributed randomly to non-profits (that might also restore a lot of the worthy student applications).

    In fact, by switching to a salary based allocation, non-profits would actually increase their chances of getting an H-1b visa. Because Offshore Outsourcing companies, knowing they pay the lowest salaries, would simply stop putting in redundant H-1b visa applications.

    And, Silicon Valley companies would see their chances of getting an H-1b visa, for an experienced and vetted worker, go from the current 1-in-4 chance to a 1-in-2 chance, and then as the backlog decreases it would average to a 100% change. As the Offshore Outsourcing companies are the reason for any acceleration in the H-1b application curve.

    The only U.S. group really hurt by this change, the first sensible change to the H-1b program, would be American Immigration lawyers. Immigration lawyers make a lot of money off the fact that all applicants. whether they are average or bottom of the class, have the same chance of getting an H-1b visa. The result is that many employers are okay with gaming the system, Offshore Outsourcing companies have used the H-1b visa lottery to create a 200 billion dollar per year business in India.

    Immigration lawyers would see their business cut in half the first year, then by half again in the following years. So if you ask any immigration lawyer, they will say this is dumbest idea ever.

    But this change will really help Silicon Valley companies and non-profits. And further, America isn’t a jobs program for average and below average tech workers. The H-1b program’s idiotic lottery has in fact made it more likely that the best and brightest will be forced to stay at home or leave for home, because they ask for too great a salary. By making the selection salary based, we will, for the first time, actually start favoring the best and brightest, in some fashion.

    Further, and this has to mean something to you if your heart is in the right place. We will actually be making for Citizens and Green Card holders, if we end the idiotic lottery. Half the H-1b visas go to Offshore Outsourcing companies, which never sponsor anyone for a Green Card or help them with citizenship. By switching to a salary based allocation, the H-1b visas will be going to companies and organizations that are actually willing to sponsor people for Green Cards, and eventual citizenship.

    Look, I have no motivation to support the change to a salary based allocation for H-1b visas. Currently, with half the H-1b salaries going to Offshore Outsourcing companies, and Offshore Outsourcing companies favoring well scripted positions in Accounting, payroll, DB Admin… My design job isn’t something that the typical H-1b workers competes with. So by all means, keeps sending the inexperienced OPT students, who leave the company after they are trained and because my company has only a 1-in-4 chance of winning an H-1b visa for them. And keep wasting half the H-1b visas on Offshore Outsourcing visas. Offshore Outsourcing companies that will spoil the recovery, once again. And put a Republican in the White House who will cut my taxes.

    Yeah, keep it up Koch brothers, CoC, American Immigration lawyers, bribed career Republicans and Democrats, keep doing just that, I prefer that you keep being the idiots on this (if for no other reason that spite for Trump). Don’t grease my guillotine, even after I point it out the design flaw for you, yeah don’t listen to me, don’t make me the idiot by listening to me, you can keep being the idiots for the rest of the century.

      • Jake Leone

        Hey, the Federal ALJ, just rejected Facebook reasons for dismissal of a massive discrimination case against Facebook That case is worth 260 million (when compared to similar settlements in these types of discrimination cases).

        Why don’t you do some reading so instead of “Blah, blah, blah” as your reason. You can actually try to counter with something intelligent.

    • Isle Oracle

      Thanks Jake – After reading the article I was thinking “Oh no! Another post- election anti-Trump rant”
      My salary as a STEM pro was suppressed for 30 years to the same rate. It started when the politicians were convinced by big tech to make STEM workers ineligible for overtime pay. I was glad to see the H1-B visa issue being finally addressed – and I don’t care which party did it. So, thanks for keeping the discussion on track.

  3. If this has the effect of reducing the number of F1 grad students that might not be a bad thing. These students get the advantage over US students because of the OPT tax exemptions that their employers get – it is cheaper to hire a foreign student than a US student and they tend to promote and support each other in ways to edge out the US student accesses. The access to grad school is limited to those who can afford it – although I have seen forums where foreign students denigrate Americans as having little interest in grad degrees, there would be more Americans getting advanced degrees if they could get the job preference. As it is, foreign students are over-represented in STEM grad programs – some out of actual academic interest but most, apparently, because they don’t want to go back to their home countries and can’t get an H1b visa. This really needs to be clamped down.

  4. Jake Leone

    Here’s a new comment from me. The Court overseeing the massive case of Facebook’s 2600+ counts of discrimination against people of U.S. National decent (for jobs located here in the United States). Has rejected Facebook’s counter claim for dismissal. Meaning, that the case can go to trial.

    You can read about this on the DOJ website. You can also read the Breitbart article on it.

    Facebook’s claims for dismissal were quite arrogant, claiming the court had no jurisdiction, but that same court is the nation’s only court that can hear Federal claims of discrimination brought by the DOJ and DOL, against Facebook.

    Facebook also claimed it was within it’s right to hide the job ads for the foreign worker’s involved in the PERM process.

    Facebook never once countered the claim that there was discrimination, they only said we followed the guidelines (and the loopholes, and did fraud)

    So go read up people.

    And why hasn’t Nick K. (the guy who wrote this article), filed a report on this case? It is potentially huge, with a settlement (based on prior cases) that could reach a 260 million dollars.

  5. Hey, Kolakowski:

    How come you NEVER EVER write about the travails of the TRUE born and bred American STEM worker?!

    What the f/u/k is with you and the, “oh, woe are we, stealing good American six-figure STEM jobs from TRUE American STEM workers”, H1B hadjis?! Who’s paying you under the table to gaslight the propoganda and betray and sell out your own CountryMen?!

    You j/a/k/a/$/$ !!