The changes to the US H-1B foreign workers visa will help attract the best and the brightest minds from across the world, a top US official said on Thursday. The new interim final rules published on Thursday by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and Department of Labor (DL) narrows down the definition of “specialty occupation”.
It requires companies to make “real” offers to “real employees” by plugging loopholes and preventing the “displacement” of the American workers.
The H-1B visa is a non-immigrant visa that allows US companies to employ foreign workers in speciality occupations that require theoretical or technical expertise.
“I just reject their premise that this will somehow get in the way of bringing the best and the brightest,” Acting Homeland Security Deputy Ken Cuccinelli told Fox Business in an interview on Thursday.
The Department of Labor regulation will raise those wage requirements for these high-tech workers and will make Americans more competitive.
He said low-paid foreign workers who undercut Americans and depress wages would be screened.
The regulations by the DHS will stop third-party companies from subcontracting out H-1B employees.
“This is where you hear the horror stories of Disney and AT&T and the TVA where Americans have to train their foreign replacements. Well, that is coming to an end under President Donald Trump with this set of regulations,” Cuccinelli said.
Representing top technology companies from the Silicon Valley, the FWD.
US, a pro-immigration lobby group, alleged the new rules will be implemented without consideration of American people's comment.
“The Trump Administration continues to do everything it can to make it harder for immigrants to contribute to their families, communities, and economy.
These policies are yet another roadblock for US businesses to hire critically needed workers with specialised skills,” said FWD. US president Todd Schulte.
“Because these rules impose obligations completely disconnected from real world labour markets, many immigrants who have lived in the country for years may now be unable to extend their status here, while international graduates of US colleges and universities will be unable to change status here to work and will thus have no choice but to leave the country, taking their US education and training with them,” he said.
Technology companies depend on the H1B visa to hire tens of thousands of employees each year from Asian countries.
This move is likely to have an adverse impact on thousands of Indian IT professionals. Already a large number of them have lost jobs and have headed back home in the coronavirus pandemic.