There is an old axiom that the only thing constant is change. Why is it, then, that so many people get so concerned when changes happen or, in the case of politics and bureaucracy, are proposed? The Department of Homeland Security has announced several proposed changes to the H-1B Visa program.
Separating H-1B Proposals from Facts
Some of the proposals are still in the idea stage, so no details are available.
At American Corporate Services, Inc. we continually advise our clients to seek out details diligently before jumping to conclusions. In fact, one of our priorities is to ensure that our readers and clients can understand how changes may – or may not – affect them.
The broadest, best advice we can share regarding potential changes to the H-1B Visa program are:
- The changes are only proposals at this point.
- Some proposed changes could become law.
- Possible H-1B candidates and visa holders should review reliable news sources over the coming months.
- Concerned individuals should contact us directly to ensure they have a clear understanding of the facts.
What Are the Proposed Changes for H-1B?
- The current H-1B visa program is set aside for professionals, “the nature of (whose) specific duties is so specialized and complex that the knowledge required to perform the duties is usually associated with the attainment of a bachelor’s or higher degree.”
- There is a proposal to change the wording to focus less on the degree and more on the finding the best and brightest available foreign nationals to fit the position to be filled.
- The definition of the employer-employee relationship may change.
- Some consider the current definition too broad in its scope, allowing for unintended loopholes. Although not yet explicitly stated, the language may change to more specifically describe a mandatory, direct relationship between employer and employee.
- Some changes may be forthcoming regarding wages.
- These revisions may provide additional protection for immigrants as well as their U.S. coworkers by ensuring that both are being paid wages appropriate for their employment.
- The current cap of 65,000 visas per fiscal year may be adjusted by the implementation of an electronic registration system.
- Indirectly, there is mention of potential new requirements for employing foreign national students on F and M visas.
- These changes will likely reflect an emphasis on students engaged in STEM fields of study. This would be copasetic with the focus on the best and brightest referenced earlier in this article.
One additional point of change may reflect no difference at all from a practical perspective. That is concerning potentially rescinding the International Entrepreneur Rule. We may devote some further commentary on this in the future. However, what is essential to understand at this time is that the IER, originally scheduled to take effect in July 2017, has been slowed by the change in administration. If canceled, it should have a minimal impact.
Change is inevitable. Some modifications may come to the H-1B Visa program. Not all change is bad. We should not suppose that any or all change to the H-1B program will be good or bad until we know to a certainty what those changes are and how and when they will be implemented.
America is a country built on immigration and built by immigrants. The current administration is focusing on growing the U.S. economy. They know that cannot be done by keeping immigrants out, but by attracting the right immigrants so that they, too, can prosper and enjoy the land of the free and the home of the brave.