U.S. Alert – Trump Administration IMPACT on CAP petitions

The last two years, USCIS received record breaking H-1B Cap petitions, receiving 233,000 for FY 2016 and 236,000 for FY 2017. The fear of anticipated changes under the Trump administration may explain the 37,000 petition decrease. President Trump has made immigration enforcement and reform one of his key promises, including a significant overhaul to the H-1B guest-worker visa program.[1] Memoranda from several government agencies, including the Department of Labor, Department of Homeland Security, and Department of Justice, have addressed how they will increase scrutiny over the H-1B program. Trump also plans to sign an executive order on requiring federal agencies to examine the H-1B visa.

Further, Congress has several pieces of pending legislation to change different aspects of the H-1B program. For example, the H-1B and L-1 Visa Reform Act of 2017, a Bill introduced by Senators Grassley (R-IA) and Durbin (D-IL), would reform the program by instructing officials to grant visas on merit, rather than through the current lottery system.[2]  Specifically, the bill would require USCIS to prioritize H-1Bs to ensure that the best and brightest students currently in the United States receive preference for an H-1B visa. The proposed system would also give preference to advanced degree holders, those being paid high wages, and those with valuable skills. Along with the Grassley-Durbin bill, others have been put forth in the past that have proposed harsh provisions to penalize heavy users of the H-1B and L-1 programs.

[1] http://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-trump-visa-idUSKBN17K02U

[2] https://www.congress.gov/bill/115th-congress/senate-bill/180

Article by: Melissa Winkler