It is widely believed that the United States is a country that welcomes talent whole-heartedly and what can be a better proof than the H-1B Visas? The H-1B Visa is a gateway for foreign workers to work in the country.
So, what exactly is an H-1B Visa?
The H-1B Visa is a different type of non-immigrants visa in the United States. It is through this Visa that the companies in the United States employ workers in the specialized occupations. The specialized occupations are all occupations that require theoretical or technical expertise in the field of IT, finance, accounting, architecture, engineering, mathematics, science, medicine, etc. Since acquiring the green card in the US is a long process, this visa helps companies in the United States to employ staff for long-term assignments. A person himself cannot apply for an H-1B visa. It is the employer who must file a petition for entry of the employee.
As discussed above, H-1B is for jobs that require specialized skills and come under specialized occupations. For a job to be considered as a specialized occupation, it must fall into one of the following categories: “It must have a minimum entry requirement of a Bachelor’s degree or its equivalent. The degree requirement for the job is common to the industry. The job is so complex that it can be performed only by a qualified person. The employer normally requires a degree or its equivalent for the position.”
A person is eligible for the H-1B visa if one of the following is fulfilled: “He/she must have completed a US bachelor’s or higher degree required by the specific specialty occupation. He/she holds a foreign degree that is the equivalent to a U.S. bachelor’s degree or holds an unrestricted state license, registration, or certification which authorizes a person to fully practice the specialty occupation and be engaged in that specialty or have an education, training, or experience in the specialty that is equivalent to the completion of such a degree, and have recognition of expertise in the specialty through progressively responsible positions directly related to the specialty.”
Why should Indians opt for H-1B visas?
Seventy-percent of the total H-1B visas granted annually are given to Indians. India has been made the manufacturing or assembly base of many United States’ companies.
Trump’s stance on the issue of H-1B visas:
Ever since Trump has won the office, he has accused the employers of the companies employing foreign workers via H-1B visas and replacing the Americans with cheaper foreign workers. The H-1B issue will be in three-point agenda by the Indian Prime Minister, Narendra Modi. It will be presented in front of Trump wherein Modi will also be focusing on certain points. One of the main points will be regarding Indian start-ups. Especially the ones with a potential to grow into Global companies and bringing in more revenue to the United States by collaborating with local companies.
The Government Department responsible for Work Visas is developing a software and will launch it in a few weeks’ time. It is, right now, in the testing phase. Work visas will let the employers manage and apply for the best global talent. Through this work visas, the H-1B visa holders will get appreciated in the United States. This is because this software will raise their profiles in the community. This will also show how important the immigrants are as they bring so much talent to the state. H-1B visa is a way to keep America’s competitive advantage in technology. This is because it welcomes the F-1 students in STEM into the US job force.
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Stories will be sent to them and they will publish the stories received to raise the profiles of the H-1B visa holders. This way the H-1B visa holders will be highlighted in the workplace because what they do for the United States is commendable and needs to be appreciated.
The H-1B Executive Order that Trump had been promising for months finally arrived on April 18, 2017. President Trump signed the H-1B Executive Order at a Snap-on Tools factory in Wisconsin. Dubbed the “Buy American and Hire American” executive order, most of what it provides is up to debate.
The executive order really lacks specifics and places all the burden on defining what changes will come to H-1B visa policy on other branches of the executive, like Homeland Security, Department of Justice, State Department, and the Department of labor.
The executive order does not really address H-1B visa holders very much, it provides:
Sec. 5. Ensuring the Integrity of the Immigration System in Order to “Hire American.” (a) In order to advance the policy outlined in section 2(b) of this order, the Secretary of State, the Attorney General, the Secretary of Labor, and the Secretary of Homeland Security shall, as soon as practicable, and consistent with applicable law, propose new rules and issue new guidance, to supersede or revise previous rules and guidance if appropriate, to protect the interests of United States workers in the administration of our immigration system, including through the prevention of fraud or abuse.
(b) In order to promote the proper functioning of the H-1B visa program, the Secretary of State, the Attorney General, the Secretary of Labor, and the Secretary of Homeland Security shall, as soon as practicable, suggest reforms to help ensure that H-1B visas are awarded to the most-skilled or highest-paid petition beneficiaries.
The H-1B Executive Order only mentions H-1B visas three times.
The first time H-1B visas are specifically mentioned is in the definition section to link them to the defined term “petition beneficiaries.” The next two times are from the section above. Basically, all the executive order does is tell other executive branches of government to “suggest reforms” so that H-1B visas go to the best, brightest, and highest paid visa holders.
We at Work Visas Solutions believe the forthcoming regulations will reflect an “America First” H-1B whereby the visas are given to people educated in the United States and to the highest paid applicants.
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H-1B Visa abuse complaints echo all across America. 60 Minutes recently did a lead story on its popular news program profiling the horror story of experienced American IT workers losing their jobs to young H-1B visa holders. These visa holders all come from India and arise from contractual relationships for IT staffing that employers make with companies like InfoSys, Tata consulting, and other similar companies.
The Trump Administration already has a draft executive order regarding work visas, read it here. The order never became a reality, at least not yet. Perhaps the Trump administration is waiting until after the flood of H-1B visa applications before issuing the executive order. All the H-1B visa applications for private employers begin arriving at USCIS after April 3rd. By Friday April 7th, over 230,000 H-1B applications will compete for only 85,000 visas. Historically, a lottery decides at random who gets the visas.
H-1B Visa Abuse comes from gaming the lottery
The problem with the visa lottery is that about 60 percent of the applications come from those eight Indian IT staffing firms. As a result, those eight companies get 60 percent of the H-1b visas. Then American employers hire these low paid visa holders and fire their experienced IT staff. The Trump administration’s draft executive order does not exactly state what will be done to fix this issue. It provides:
consider ways to make the process for allocating H-1B visas more efficient
and ensure that beneficiaries of the program are the best and the brightest
Trump suspended premium processing, which shortened the time period to award the H-1B visa from two weeks to the current processing time of over six months!! Perhaps once all the H-1B visa applications arrive, Trump will announce his administration is suspending the lottery. The administration can then handpick what applications are approved, and which are denied.
We at Work Visas paid close attention to the USCIS announcement suspending premium processing. USCIS specifically stated that expedited processing will continue. As a result, we are hard at work crafting methods to make our H-1b visa applications truly “America First.” We concentrate on American educated STEM grads. We believe that if the students have been educated and trained in America, they are the best candidates to stay in America to return their skills back to the country that educated them.
By keeping these great minds in America, it can maintain its competitive edge in technological innovation. By doing away with the lottery H-1B Visa abuse will become a thing of the past.
Changes will be coming to the immigration system in the United States, of that we can be certain. Rep. Issa introduced the Protect and Grow American Jobs Act on January 7, 2017. Donald Trump rode a wave of xenophoic energy all the way to the White House. The most recent bill in Congress for the H-1B visas may be the changes that we see in 2017 and beyond. Interestingly, for most employers with H-1B visa holders not much will change.
The Protect and Grow American Jobs Act proposed by Congress fall against companies dubbed H-1B dependent. Typically, these companies are Indian IT firms, but also includes tech giant Facebook. In the factual findings for the proposed Protect and Grow American Jobs Act (all laws have patriotic names), Congress finds that H-1B dependent employers have a loop hole allowing them to game the system.
The law changes the rules for H-1B dependent employers and requires them to pay their H-1B employees $100,000, with increases tied to the Consumer Price Index.
Will the Protect and Grow American Jobs Act work to stop H-1B abuses by Indian IT companies that comprise a very large proportion of all H-1B applications. Perhaps this law will lower the raw numbers of applications and give legitimate H-1B hopefuls a better chance of winning the lottery. First, the bill must become a law and it is a long ways from that because it was just introduced this past week.
Here’s the Full Text of the “Protect and Grow American Jobs Act”:
To amend the Immigration and Nationality Act to modify the definition of “exempt H–1B nonimmigrant”.
Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,
SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.
This Act may be cited as the “Protect and Grow American Jobs Act”.
SEC. 2. FINDINGS.
The Congress makes the following findings:
(1) The H–1B visa program allows businesses temporarily to hire highly skilled foreign workers with specialized knowledge, where a qualified worker in the United States cannot be found.
(2) In 1990, the Congress created the H–1B visa program to help ensure that access to qualified highly skilled professionals was not an obstacle to economic growth and job creation in the United States.
(3) The H–1B visa program was never intended to be used as a catalyst for laying off workers in the United States and replacing them with H–1B workers.
(4) The unintended consequences of the H–1B visa program enabled a small number of companies to hire large numbers of H–1B workers relative to their United States worker populations.
(5) In 1998, Congress passed new enforcement provisions to the H–1B program in order to prevent companies from displacing United States workers with lower-cost foreign professionals.
(6) The 1998 revisions defined a new class of H–1B dependent employers and established additional conditions on their business and hiring practices unless they paid sufficiently high wages.
(7) The 1998 revisions, however, did not index wage requirements to keep pace with wage growth, and, as a result, the strength of provisions designed to protect workers and employers committed to hiring United States workers was reduced significantly.
SEC. 3. PURPOSE.
The purpose of this Act is to close a loophole in the H–1B visa program by requiring H–1B dependent employers once again to pay sufficiently high wages to ensure the protection of the workforce in the United States and to remove other impediments to proper H–1B visa enforcement.
SEC. 4. EXEMPT H–1B NONIMMIGRANT DEFINED.
(1) by striking clause (i) and inserting the following:
“(i) the term ‘exempt H–1B nonimmigrant’ means an H–1B nonimmigrant who receives wages (including cash bonuses) at an annual rate equal to at least the greater of $100,000 or the applicable adjusted amount under clause (iii);”;
(2) in clause (ii), by striking the period at the end and inserting “; and”; and
(3) by adding at the end the following:
“(iii) the amount described in clause (i) (as of the last increase to such amount) shall be increased, effective for the third fiscal year that begins after the date of the enactment of this clause and for every third fiscal year thereafter, by the percentage (if any) by which the Consumer Price Index for the month of June preceding the date on which such increase takes effect exceeds the Consumer Price Index for the same month of the third preceding calendar year.”.