Trump Administration Wants to Change H-1B Program

A proposal that was released by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) says it would like to increase the number of H-1B visa recipients with master’s degrees or higher level degrees. The proposal also mentions the Department’s intent to make applicants register online for their H-1B visas.

As part of President Trump’s “Buy American, Hire American" strategy, the H-1B program is being scrutinized by DHS officials. The H-1B visa is a work visa that is commonly used by companies in the tech sector. An H-1B visa is valid for three years and can be renewed for another three years. Tech firms throughout the country claim that they need the H-1B program to attract qualified talent that they can’t find in the United States.

As of now, 65,000 H-1B visas are given to applicants each year. Another 20,000 are reserved for applicants with advanced degrees from US higher education institutions. Under the proposed changes, all registrations would be applied to the 65,000 cap. US Citizenship and Immigration Services would then choose from the remaining registrations to fill the cap for advanced degrees.

According to DHS, the new changes will increase the number of H-1B holders with advanced degrees by up to 16%. USCIS spokesman Michael Bars said the H-1B changes will make sure “more of the best and brightest workers from around the world come to America.”

Included with DHS’s proposal were plans to overhaul the registration process and move it online. Switching to an online registration process will cost the government nearly $280,000 in the first year, and another $200,000 in fees for each following year.

USCIS also claims the new changes would lower the costs for applicants and make the process more efficient for government workers.

H-1B registrations are due in the spring, though it is still unclear if the new system will be ready in time before the deadline.

Houston Immigration Lawyers

Do you have more questions about qualifying for an H-1B visa? If so, you should get in touch with our legal team at Fong • Ilagan, LLP to get the answers you are looking for. We will use our extensive resources and years of experience to make sure your rights and interests are fully protected.  Let us get started on your immigration case today.

Call (713) 766-0556 to schedule your appointment with an immigration lawyer in Houston.

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