Uncertainty Surrounds the H-1B Visa Program

Uncertainty Surrounds the H-1B Visa Program

The H-1B Visa has helped thousands of foreign workers secure gainful employment here in the United States. The program offers work visas for jobs that require theoretical and practical application of a body of highly specialized knowledge. Those who have obtained an H-1B Visa often see this milestone as the start of a long and hopefully permanent stay in the U.S. However, since the election of Donald Trump, these sentiments have been replaced with uncertainty.

With more than two-thirds of computer and mathematical workers being born outside of the U.S, Silicon Valley has been forced to prepare for any sudden changes to immigration policy that might be executed by the Trump administration. However, experts are in agreement that the H-1B program will come under scrutiny, given the President’s hardline stance on immigration. In fact, his campaign has stated, “The H-1B program is neither high-skilled nor immigration: these are temporary foreign workers, imported from abroad, for the explicit purpose of substituting for American workers at lower pay.”

In spite of this, two California lawmakers plan to propose revamping the H-1B program. Rep. Darrell Issa introduced a bill that would raise the minimum salary from $60,000 to $100,000 for the workers, while Rep. Zoe Lofgren proposed a bill pushing for higher salaries for visa-holders. Lofgren’s bill would also require companies relying heavily on H-1B employees to prove they recruited U.S. workers for certain positions.

For many Silicon Valley tech workers, the future remains uncertain. With the possibility of tighter immigration policies, many workers have begun to inquire about employment opportunities in Canada, Australia, and more recently, India. Additionally, tighter immigration restrictions means that Silicon Valley companies have a greater incentive for sending  professional service positions overseas to areas where skilled workers are immigrating from.

Do you have questions about the H-1B Visa program? Call (408) 560-4622, or contact our team of San Jose immigration attorneys to learn how we can help you today.

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