With the Trump Presidency, you can expect his policies to be Pro-American. From the very beginning, Trump was very vocal in saying that he will make America great again by wiping out the nation of illegal immigrants and other nationalities that are a threat to the safety and security of all Americans.
While his intention is good, he forgets one important thing: that many U.S. industries and companies rely heavily on foreign workers to get the job done. And to think of it, many skilled and highly-intellectual occupations in the country are done by foreigners. Even in the technology sector, a lot of computer programmers are foreigners. But in line with the recent immigration policies of President Trump, the next to be hit will likely be them. These sought-after foreign computer programmers will now have a hard time getting an H-1B visa in the United States.
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services quietly over the weekend released new guidance that computer programmers are no longer presumed to be eligible for H-1B visas.
What it means: This aligns with the administration’s focus on reserving the temporary visas for very high-skilled (and higher-paid) professionals while encouraging low- and mid-level jobs to go to American workers instead. The new guidance affects applications for the lottery for 2018 fiscal year that opened Monday.
What comes next: Companies applying for H-1B visas for computer programming positions will have to submit additional evidence showing that the jobs are complex or specialized and require professional degrees. Entry-level wages attached to these visa applications will also get more scrutiny. The change appears to target outsourcing companies, who typically employ lower-paid, lower-level computer workers.
Lawsuits possible: Releasing this policy change at the start of the application filing window is going to rankle companies who used 17-year-old policy guidance to apply for this year’s visas. Some companies may challenge the guidance on the grounds that USCIS didn’t provide sufficient notice of the change.
This memo will have a big impact on tech industries that import a lot of skilled foreign workers to get their business moving. And many of them are not happy with this news.
According to the memo, “the fact that a person may be employed as a computer programmer and may use information technology skills and knowledge to help an enterprise achieve its goals in the course of his or her job is not sufficient to establish the position as a specialty occupation.” The memo specifically says that “an entry-level computer programmer position would not generally qualify as a position in a specialty occupation.”
The memo also reminds officials to consider the wage level of a position in whether it qualifies as sufficiently complex for a visa. (The H-1B program has sometimes been criticized for overreaching to include lower-wage workers in the industry.)
In another statement put out today, immigration officials said they would also begin “targeted site visits” of worksites to “determine whether H-1B dependent employers are evading their obligation to make a good faith effort to recruit U.S. workers.”
This memo is definitely not good news for both employers and workers alike. The industry will have a hard time looking for skilled employees and the opportunity for these computer programmers themselves who are dreaming of a new life in the U.S. will be gone forever.
On the other hand, these industries can start hiring more Americans to fill these positions. If our country is to become a great nation once more and no longer plagued by terrorist threats all the time, then it starts with each of us helping one another. And better yet, the government should integrate these computer classes in school so students graduate with enough technology know-how and able to find real jobs in the real world when the right time comes.