- In closed-door talks last month, the Trump transition team and tech industry executives discussed possibly overhauling the H-1B visa program, reports Reuters. The temporary program allows foreign workers into the U.S. to fill high-skilled, high-paying jobs, mostly in the tech industry.
- One proposal was replacing the current lottery-based H-1B program with a visa-petition system for the highest paying jobs, unidentified sources told Reuters.
- Reuters says companies claim they use the H-1B visas to recruit the best talent, but critics argue that outsourcing firms use the visas for lower-paid workers in entry-level IT jobs. The top 10 H-1B visa recipients were outsourcing firms, according to the EIII-US (European Independent Information Industry), an engineering professional organization.
We've known since early December that the Trump transition team and key Republican lawmakers planned to overhaul the H-1B visa program. Opponents like Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-IN, President-elect Donald Trump's U.S. attorney general nominee, pushed a bill in the Senate that would raise H-1B wages to make visa recipients less attractive to U.S. employers.
Some U.S. workers claim they trained H-1B visa recipients who later replaced them and Trump made saving American jobs a focus of his presidential campaign and now of his soon-to-be administration. Therefore, an overhaul of the H-1B program is highly likely.
Congress is also working on changing the program. Earlier this month, Congressman Darrell Issa, R-CA, reintroduced his H-1B bill, which proposes an increase of salary requirements and the elimination of master's degree exemptions. But some opponents don't think the legislation goes far enough to protect U.S. workers.