In a tweet last Friday, President Trump vowed to make changes to the H-1B visa program, including offering a potential path to citizenship for visa holders.
“H1-B holders in the United States can rest assured that changes are soon coming which will bring both simplicity and certainty to your stay, including a potential path to citizenship,” he wrote. “We want to encourage talented and highly skilled people to pursue career options in the U.S.”
The H-1B visa is a non-immigrant visa that allows U.S. employers to hire graduate-level workers in specialty occupations, like IT, finance, accounting, architecture, engineering, science and medicine. U.S. jobs that require workers to have at least a bachelor’s degree fall under the H-1B category for specialty occupations. Each year, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) allots about 85,000 of the H-1B visas -- 65,000 for applicants with a bachelor’s degree or equivalent, and 20,000 for those with a master’s degree or higher. Amazon, Microsoft, Intel and Google were among the top 10 employers for approved H-1B visas in 2017.
Under an executive order signed by Trump in April 2017 -- “Buy American and Hire American -- it has become more difficult for U.S. companies to hire people via H-1B. It directs the Department of Homeland Security to only grant the visas to the “most-skilled or highest-paid beneficiaries.” In November 2018, the U.S. Department of Labor began requiring employers of H-1B recipients to use a new labor condition application form. Critics of the form say it’s designed to “elicit internal information from employers” while exerting additional, outside pressure on those companies.
USCIS begins accepting H-1B applications on the first business day of April each year.
Paul M. Heller, Esq. | Founder & Principal
Heller Immigration Law Group - 25+ yrs
Direct: 650.424.1902 | firstname.lastname@example.org