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Under the Trump administration, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS)  will apply a higher level of scrutiny for those seeking extensions requests as well as new  H-1B Visa applicants.  Since taking power, under President Trump’s leadership the USCIS has enacted several new regulations in order to tighten H-1B petitions.  Here are some of them:

  • H-1B petitioners are required to pre-register for the H1-B cap lottery.
  • Companies hiring H-1B visa workers will be allowed to submit cap petitions only after they win cap numbers.
  • Proposed  priority mechanism for deciding the H-1B cap numbers for companies (likely employers  are those requiring highly-paid and highly-skilled workers.)
  • Proposed to end the rule that allows H-1B visa holders’ spouses to work in the U.S.
  • H-1B children may have to leave the U.S. after they turn 21 years old after losing their dependent status.

H-1B visa application (excerpted from USCIS)

The H-1B program applies to employers seeking to hire nonimmigrant aliens as workers in specialty occupations or as fashion models of distinguished merit and ability. A specialty occupation is one that requires the application of a body of highly specialized knowledge and the attainment of at least a bachelor’s degree or its equivalent.

What We Can Expect for H-1B Visa Holders Under Trump

  1. The number of U.S. companies hiring H-1B visa workers will decrease. Trump has tightened the H-1B approval system, thus slowing down the approval process.
  2. The cost of dealing with USCIS with these new rules in place will dramatically increase.  This may force some U.S. companies to give up on hiring H-1B workers altogether, and hire more American workers instead.
  3. H-1B visa workers’ spouses and children (on H-4 visas) will face much uncertainty under Trump.   This may discourage potential future H1-B applicants and those who may otherwise have sought extensions.   The H-1B petitions will continue to dwindle for as long as Donald Trump’s remains president.
  4. Foreigners’ interest in working in the U.S. will be declining.
  5. STEM-related companies, organizations, and institutions will be greatly impacted by Trump’s poorly thought-out policies.  This, in turn,  will affect the U.S. economy and overall GDP – a measurement of global competitiveness.   (Please note that STEM fields are considered quite challenging to many Americans because of their poor foundation in STEM-related disciplines.)

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