Trump's Comeback Could Overhaul H-1B Visa Program, Expert's View

United States
#workvisa #skilledworkers

As the 2024 presidential election approaches, immigration attorneys are prepared for former President Donald Trump's likely second term, fearing rapid and stringent steps that might impede employment-based immigration.

During Trump's first term in office, which ended in 2020, the H-1B visa system experienced significant discontent. Critics were upset that big reforms did not materialize, increasing denials and more paperwork for visa applicants. President Joe Biden overturned some of these moves when he took office in 2021, making the visa petition procedure easier to navigate.

Potential Changes Ahead

Now that Trump is running for president again, immigration attorneys are concerned that he will win in November. They feel that a new Trump government would be better positioned to take quick action to reduce immigration, including employment-based immigration.

Sarah Schroeder, an immigration attorney at DiRaimondo & Schroeder in New York, predicts further impediments and delays in adjudicating high-skilled worker petitions. This could lead to an increase in evidence requests, slower processing delays, and measures to obstruct legal immigration channels.

Industry Response and Challenges

Tech Industry Push and Opposition

The IT industry is expected to continue lobbying Congress to expand employment-based immigration programs, such as the H-1B work visa. It will point to the $280 billion CHIPS and Science Act of 2022 as a source of job creation.

However, detractors point to layoffs in the IT business as well as an increase in the number of computer science graduates. The National Student Clearinghouse stated that computer and information science enrollment at four-year schools reached 629,000 students, a nearly 10% rise over the previous year.

Policy Proposals and Potential Impact

When Trump assumed office in 2016, he slowed down the visa system but only implemented big adjustments in the latter months of his administration. He recommended replacing the visa lottery's random distribution method with a pay ranking system that prioritizes firms based on their salary proposals under the H-1B work visa cap.

If Trump wins in November, there is a chance the administration will try again with a wage-based distribution system. This initiative, endorsed by Project 2025, wants to bring in only top international workers at high compensation, possibly disadvantageous to startups and smaller enterprises that require skill but cannot give high salaries.

The prospective modification of the H-1B visa program by a second Trump administration highlights the ongoing discussion and issues surrounding employment-based immigration in the United States.


What are the potential hurdles to employment-based immigration in the United States?

Employment-based immigration has several obstacles, including policy conflicts over visa programs such as H-1B, worries about layoffs and displacement of American workers, and the need to balance the demand for qualified foreigners with the preservation of American job possibilities.

Are there any specific industry areas that may be especially impacted by changes to the H-1B visa program?

Changes to the H-1B visa program may have a particular impact on industries that rely substantially on skilled foreign workers, such as technology, healthcare, and finance, thereby harming innovation and competitiveness.


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