America First?

Trump’s administration is deporting foreign nationals in the name of “Public Safety.”   The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) just issued a Policy Memorandum which provides the guidance on Executive Order 13768.  The purpose of this order is to enhance public safety in the U.S. through immigration policies.

Vulnerable H-1B Holders

Now, employers who utilize H-1B visas to hire foreign employees must be on notice regarding this new guidance of “Public Safety.”. If a foreign employee on H-1B visa has his or her H-1B extension denied or the H-1B visa expires during the extension process, he or she will be issued an NTA – a Notice to Appear (NTA) document.   Once the NTA is issued,  the removal proceeding will be triggered at the USCIS.

New Guidance for Any F-1 Student on OPT

Not just H-1B visa holders will have to follow the new guidance, students on F-1 visas with OPT (Optional Practical Training) also falls in the category of ‘foreign employees” who have to abide by the same regulations.   If an F-1 student on OPT falls out of status while awaiting an OPT extension or change of status approval, he or she will be subject to deportation.

Before the new “Public Safety” memorandum, whoever got an NTA just simply left the U.S. and the USCIS assumed the NTA recipient would do so within a month.   Now, however, If an NTA recipient leaves the United States voluntarily but does not appear before the immigration judge, he or she may have trouble applying for U.S. visas in the future.

More Burden on the Employers

In order to comply with Tump’s administration’s new “Public Safety” guidance, U.S. companies that hire an H-1B visa holder or an F-1 student on OPT status will have to be more scrutinized.  Extra operation costs may be involved when a U.S. company’s immigration or legal specialists and human resources teams inspect the visa statuses of their foreign employees.  A report of the inspection has to be submitted to the USCIS.

Will This New Guidance Backfire?

Likely.  According to the Pew Research Center, “the federal training program sees 400% increase in foreign students graduating and working in STEM fields from 2008 to 2016.”  That means more and more foreign students in STEM fields have stayed and worked in the U.S. after graduation.  Tump administration’s new guidance can stop the upward trend due to the scrutinizing regulations and red tapes.  After all, not many international students want to risk their chances of applying for U.S. visas again.

On the other hand, current H-1B visa holders or people who want to apply for H-1B visas can be discouraged by Trump’s new policy.  An H-1B worker must have felt vulnerable when he or she receives an NTA and knows being deported is inevitable.  This type of unfriendly job environment will force more foreign talents to leave the U.S.


More Reding
1. USCIS Temporarily Suspend H-1B Premium Processing for Fiscal Year 2019
2. U.S. Senators Propose to Double H-1B Visa Cap
3. Salaries for Foreign Workers in the Top 30 Companies with Most H-1B Approved