The Trump administration in the United States has further introduced new measures to make it more difficult to hire foreign workers on H-1B visas.
The new rules, announced by the US Department of Homeland Security (DHS), redefine and narrow down what encapsulates a “specialty occupation” that makes immigrants eligible for the visa program. They also shorten the length of H-1B visas from three years to one year.
By narrowing the definition of “specialty occupation,” as originally intended by Congress, the DHS aims to prevent companies from gaming the system.
The new measure “will combat the use of H-1B workers to serve as a low-cost replacement for otherwise qualified American workers.” It goes into effect within 60 days.
"These changes are urgently necessary to strengthen the integrity of the H-1B program during the economic crisis caused by the COVID-19 public health emergency to more effectively ensure that the employment of H-1B workers will not have an adverse impact on the wages and working conditions of similarly employed U.S. workers", announced the Department of Homeland Security.
“Put simply, economic security is homeland security. In response, we must do everything we can within the bounds of the law to make sure the American worker is put first,” acting Secretary Chad Wolf said in a statement.
“The Department of Homeland Security is honoured to take this important step toward putting Americans first and to continue to implement President Trump’s agenda to keep our economy secure.”
Foregoing the traditional practice, the DHS is not allowing citizens to deliberate on the new rule before its implementation. The department said this was done to “ensure that employing H-1B workers will not worsen the economic crisis caused by COVID-19 and adversely affect wages and working conditions of similarly employed U.S. workers.”