DHS have tightened an obscure regulation in the H-1B program, likely curbing companies’ ability to outsource additional white-collar jobs to cheap visa-workers …
(Breitbart) – Officials at the Department of Homeland Security have tightened an obscure regulation in the H-1B program, likely curbing companies’ ability to outsource additional white-collar jobs to cheap visa-workers living in the United States.
“This is a sinister design by the Trump administration to grind H-1Bs and legal immigration to a halt, create more uncertainty among vulnerable ” said a Tweet from immigration lawyer Cyrus Mehta.
“This is a major blow for international students currently in the ‘cap-gap’ with no H-1B approval by October 1st,” according to Texas immigration lawyer Emily Neuman. “This is also a major obstacle to H-1B transfers … [so] workers will be hesitant to change jobs.” Neuman wrote.
“More bad faith decisions … designed to cripple our high skilled immigration system,” complained Greg Siskind, an immigration lawyer who specializes in importing foreign doctors, despite the exclusion of many American students from vital residency training programs.
“This is a big deal,” said William Stock, a Philadelphia immigration lawyer and a former president of the American Immigration Lawyers Association.
The new policy was announced by DHS’s U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services agency, which is headed by L. Francis Cissna:
USCIS is extending the previously announced temporary suspension of premium processing for cap-subject H-1B petitions and, beginning Sept. 11, 2018, will be expanding this temporary suspension to include certain additional H-1B petitions. We expect these suspensions will last until Feb. 19, 2019, and will notify the public via uscis.gov before resuming premium processing for these petitions.
While H-1B premium processing is suspended, we will reject any Form I-907, Request for Premium Processing Service filed with an affected Form I-129, Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker. If a petitioner submits one combined check for the Form I-907 and Form I‑129 H-1B fees, both forms will be rejected.
The new rule — plus prior bureaucratic changes — mean that companies cannot rush hundreds or thousands of H-1B visa requests through the system, but must plan and hire lawyers to make sure the applications are correct. The resulting delays also mean that companies cannot hire all of their new foreign employees in the Spring before Americans graduate from college in the summer.
This bureaucratic pressure has stopped the program from growing larger, but it has not yet pushed the number of requests for new workers below the current level of roughly 100,000 per year.
USCIS is also moving ahead, slowly, with plans to stop issuing work permits to the spouses of H-1B visa-workers. Former President Barack Obama issued the work-permit, even though the H-1B law does not include any provision for awarding the work permits. Withdrawal of the work permits, dubbed H4EADs, would cancel 100,000 work permits, and reduce the economic value of H-1B visa to the workers and also to their employers.
The process has also not implemented President Donald Trump’s campaign promises. “I will end forever the use of the H-1B as a cheap labor program, and institute an absolute requirement to hire American workers first for every visa and immigration program,” he said in a March 2016 statement. “No exceptions,” he added.
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