Trump advisor details H-1B 'merit-based' reform proposal

Dive Brief:

  • President Trump's H-1B visa reform efforts will require employers to consider U.S. workers first and will distribute H-1B visas under a "merit-based" system, according to Stephen Miller, senior policy adviser for President Trump, speaking to Meet the Press on Sunday.
  • The merit-based system is similar to legislation proposed by two senators last month. The emphasis is on enforcement, wages, visa holders and American workers. 
  • In November, Trump asked his transition team to direct the Department of Labor to "investigate all abuses of visa programs that undercut the American worker." 

Dive Insight:

Trump promised to revise the H-1B program during his presidential campaign, and during the transition, Trump's team and executives from the tech industry reportedly discussed changing the current lottery system for H-1B workers to adopt a visa-petition system for the highest paying jobs. But few details had emerged prior to a White House leak of a draft executive order last week. Miller is the first administration official to publicly discuss Trump's planned reforms. Complicating matters is the roadblock hit by Andrew Puzder to head the DOL.

Two H-1B visa reform bills have emerged in recent weeks, though neither appears to match exactly what President Trump is looking to do. If Trump chooses to make changes via executive order, he will likely face challenges from industry supporters. 

Filed Under: Infrastructure
Top image credit: Stuart Miles