More changes are coming to immigration system through Trump's executive orders. Separately Bills are also introduced in Congress.
The Trump administration has drafted an executive order that would change the way H-1B visas are issued. H-1B visas are widely used in the tech industry to hire foreign highly skilled and educated workers.“Our country’s immigration policies should be designed and implemented to serve, first and foremost, the U.S. national interest,” the draft reads, according to Bloomberg, which has viewed the copy and first reported on the matter. “Visa programs for foreign workers... should be administered in a manner that protects the civil rights of American workers and current lawful residents, and that prioritizes the protection of American workers—our forgotten working people—and the jobs they hold.” Businesses would have to try to hire American first. If they recruit foreign workers, priority would be given to the most highly paid, according to the Bloomberg report.
Beyond that, not much detail about the order is available. It covers not just H-1B visas, but other categories including L-1, E-2, and B1.
The changes are likely to mirror changes already being considered in Congress, which would have the effect of limiting outsourcing companies' abilities to replace American workers. Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) announced a bill earlier this month that would tweak the H-1B system. Congress will consider proposal to raise H-1B minimum wage to $100,000.
Last week, Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-Calif.) introduced a more wide-ranging bill that would change the allocation of H-1B visas to a market-based system. In her system, most visas would be given to employers willing to pay 200 percent or 150 percent of prevailing local wages for highly talented workers.
“My legislation refocuses the H-1B program to its original intent–to seek out and find the best and brightest from around the world and to supplement the US workforce with talented, highly paid, and highly skilled workers who help create jobs here in America, not replace them,” said Lofgren.
The 65,000 H-1B visas given out each year go mostly to employers who hire technology workers. They are distributed in a lottery system, which in recent years has become dominated by tech outsourcing firms like Tata and Infosys. Those outsourcing firms, which are defined as “H-1B dependent” companies, need only to pay $60,000 annually to their workers in order to be exempt from various requirements, including demonstrating that they aren't displacing American workers. Issa’s bill would raise that exemption requirement to $100,000 per year, while Lofgren's bill would peg it to wage surveys that would make the minimum about $132,000. Lofgren’s bill would also get rid of the lottery system and replace it with a kind of market-oriented auction system.