As updated yesterday by President’s office that Trump will sign an Executive Order today, it happened earlier today. President Trump signed an executive order called “Buy American and Hire American” today in Wisconsin. To be more focused for our readers, we will only review, assess impact on the Hire American aspects that are related to H1B Visa Program.
This Executive Order has been referenced in many of the H1B regulations like Changes to H1B Program Definition, New Rules 2020 and Prevailing Wage Levels Regulation for PERM and H1B.
Summary of the Buy American – Hire American Executive Order by Trump for for H1B Program
- Hire American : The whole idea of Hire American motto is to create a higher wages and employment rates for American workers and protect the national interest by enforcing laws that dictate the entry of temporary workers from abroad.
- Protect Integrity of US Immigration System :
- All the immigration agencies heads – Secretary of State, The attorney general, Secretary of Labor and Secretory of Homeland Security , to review, propose new rules and issue new guidance to revise current laws such that US workers interests are protected, including ways to prevent fraud and abuse of the H1B Program.
- H1Bs for Most Skilled and Highly Paid : All the agencies to review H1B Program, ensure proper functioning of the program and suggest reforms to make sure H1B visa are given to most skilled workers or highest paid applicants.
- Eliminate H1B Lottery : While, it is not written in the Executive order, In the press conference, President talks about ending H1B Lottery and find a better way to award visas to highest paid and higher skilled workers.
- Very Vague – No Timelines : Overall, the executive order signed is very vague and does not have any timelines like Buy American. The fact is that there is very little President can do with Executive order, they need to go through Congress and Proper regulatory process.
Impact of the Buy American, Hire American Trump Executive Order for H1B Visa Holders in USA?
In general, President Trump does not have enough power to sign an executive order and change the H1B Program overnight. Most of the H1B program’s changes are vested in the hands of congress and they will need to take legislative action to implement any major changes or reform the program. The current signed Executive Order by Trump will NOT have any immediate impact on the H1B Program, it will take time.
The executive order signed does not tell anything more than saying that all agencies to do a thorough review of the current H1B Program and how best to protect US workers and prevent abuse of H1B program. Once the required changes are suggested, they will have to go through either standard rule making process or approved by congress to implement the same. In general, the temporary worker visa program is used across the US by all sorts of companies including giants like Facebook (15% workers are H1B), Google, Microsoft and small startups as well… and it is not that every single company using it is involved in fraud or workers are underpaid…It is those small body shop companies and some outsourcing companies that have historically abused the program.
As of today, nothing changes for the H1B Visa 2018 applicants selected in Lottery, including the current adjudication process. Also, the new measures from USCIS like more H1B Site visits, report fraud initiatives from earlier this month does not fundamentally change the way H1B petitions are adjudicated, unless if your petition was filed as an entry level 1 programmer with low wage ( you need to check with your attorney on the impact ) and does not qualify for a specialty occupation.
Overall, there will NOT be any immediate impact on the way H1B program works today, including H1B Lottery and how petitions are adjudicated…any proposals that come from agencies will have to go through rule making process or congress and to implement these changes, it will take time…Check out the current H1B Visa Bills Tracker in Congress & Senate
What do you think ? Your thoughts on the Executive Order ?
- gov : Official Executive Order Hire American Buy American
- Reuters : Trump Orders review of H1B Program
- NYTimes : Trump Signs Order that could curb Foreign Workers