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Changes may be coming to H-1B program

Many workers granted an H-1B visa come to California to work in the tech industry. The Trump administration has made immigration reform a high priority in its early days and one reason cited for the need to change how the system works is preserving jobs for American workers rather than bringing in additional workers from other countries. At US Law Center, we know that your business may rely on skilled workers from other nations and that retaining those employees is important to you.

The Washington Post reports that the federal government has recently issued a warning to companies that it is illegal to discriminate against American workers. Unannounced site visits to firms that employ large numbers of H-1B visa workers by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services will also be taking place in days to come.

Numerous changes to the H-1B program have been proposed from both sides of the aisle and are wide ranging. Some of them include:

  • Elimination of the program entirely
  • Increasing the number of H-1B visas available each year
  • Allowing H-1B workers to change employers
  • Giving preference to higher salaried and skilled workers as opposed to using a lottery system
  • Imposing caps to limit the number of workers that can come from each country

The majority of H-1B workers come to the U.S. from India and while the goal for many of them is to seek a better life and eventually become American citizens, some point out that the program may not be as beneficial as some may think. For example, H-1B workers can apply for green cards. However, the current wait time for green card applicants from India is more than 10 years. In the meantime, those workers cannot change jobs or they will have to start the application process all over again. This can lead to stagnant wages for those workers. For more information on visas for skilled workers, please visit our web page.

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