The US government has further tightened the H1B visa program, making it extremely difficult for American companies to hire high-skilled foreign workers carrying the work permit.
The H1B visa program, designed to bring in high skilled technology workers from around the world, has become a political hot potato in recent years, with President Donald Trump’s administration accusing the visa-holders of undercutting American employees by working for lower wages.
The White House has now increased the minimum wage for the visa holders, besides limiting the visas’ validity to 1 year from 3 years. The new regulations have just been published, meaning the government can enforce it 60 days later.
Analysts say US employers will find it extremely hard to hire H1B-visa holders, pointing to the fact that the new regulation has narrowed the definition of a “specialty occupation”. And the rise in minimum wage will make it costly for employers to hire foreign skilled workers.
The news comes barely a week after a US court overthrew President Trump’s June proclamation barring the entry of foreigners holding the work permit until the end of the year.
Many US businesses, particularly large tech firms, have long been warning that the tighter immigration rules will make the U.S. less competitive, leaving many of their innovation activities in disarray.
In reply, the Trump administration is arguing that these changes will save jobs for Americans and address the high unemployment rate caused by COVID-19.
When Trump suspended the H1B visa program until the end of this year, Facebook tweeted, saying the order “uses the COVID-19 pandemic as justification for limiting immigration. In reality, the move to keep highly skilled talent out of the US will make our country’s recovery even more difficult”