In a letter to Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley, USCIS Director Francis Cissna wrote, that the agency plans to tighten guidelines on H-1B visas issued to specialty workers and end the issuance of work permits to H-4 visa holders.
In 2015, the Obama Administration approved a federal regulation that allowed H-4 visa holders -- spouses of H-1B visa holders -- to receive a worker permit without congressional approval. USCIS has been working for several months to propose a new regulation that would rescind the Obama-era regulation.
Additionally, USCIS plans to propose a regulation that would limit the issuance of specialty occupation H-1B visas only to foreign workers with special skills not available in the U.S. and require higher wages for visa recipients. This regulation will, in effect, cut unnecessary H-1B visas in specialty occupation fields where there is an abundance of qualified American graduates already vying for work. The regulation’s provision to increase wages for H-1B workers should result in higher pay for American workers.
The H-1B visa program has pushed thousands of American workers in a variety of fields out of jobs by enabling employers to hire foreign workers at a lower wage. The current broad definition of specialty occupation allows companies to pay foreign workers much less to do “high-skilled” jobs than if they were to hire Americans. In an effort to prevent the continuance of this practice, the regulation will revise the definition to only include jobs where there truly is a need.
“The second regulation will propose to revise the definition of specialty occupation, consistent with INA § 214 (i), to increase focus on obtaining the best and the brightest foreign nationals via the H-1B program, and to revise the definition of employment and employer-employee relationship to better protect U.S. workers and wages,” Dir. Cissna said. “In addition, DHS will propose additional requirements designed to ensure employers pay appropriate wages to H-1B visa holders.”
Revising the definition will make sure visas only go to to foreign nationals who truly possess special skills lacking in the American workforce, like fashion-designers specializing in foreign style, expert foreign marketing managers, exceptional doctors and highly gifted software designers.
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Updated: Wed, May 9th 2018 @ 3:50pm EDT