Here’s Why H1B Visa Executive Order Signed by President Trump is a Big Deal

Raghu H1B Visa

trump executive order h1b reform

President Trump signed the “Buy American, Hire American” Executive Order(EO) today. One of the key pieces of the Executive Order is to reform the H1B Visa program.

There are so many pending questions and concerns about this H1B Visa Reform Executive order signed by President Trump.  I have split the available details so far into following the sections: Timeline of events, What we know about the H1B Visa Executive Order, What this EO Doesn’t Do.

Timeline of H1B Visa Executive Order

  • April 17, 2017
    • Details of the Executive Order to be Signed was Published
    • White House Press Briefing gave lots more details about “Buy American, Hire American” Executive Oder (Read It Here)
  • April 18, 2017
    • 12:30 PM: FB Live Video Discussing the Press Briefing (Watch the Live Video Here)
    • 3:45 PM: President Tump Signs Executive Order on top of a Tools Shelf in Wisconsin.
    • 4:20 PM: Test of the Executive Order is not yet available
    • 8:00 PM: Text of Executive Order is Published (Read it Here)

What this H1B Visa Executive ORDER Doesn’t Do:

  • Doesn’t Revokes H4 EAD
  • Doesn’t eliminate the H1B Visa Program
  • Doesn’t change to this year’s H1B visa 2018 lottery
  • Doesn’t set a minimum salary requirement
  • Doesn’t change the number of H1B Visa Cap Count

So, what ‘s the big news about this Executive Order? So, what does this H1B Visa Reform Executive Order do?

If you read the actual text, there’s not a lot of solid, concrete information. It’s basically asking to do the following (actual text from the Executive Order)

Sec. 5.  Ensuring the Integrity of the Immigration System in Order to “Hire American.”  (a)  In order to advance the policy outlined in section 2(b) of this order, the Secretary of State, the Attorney General, the Secretary of Labor, and the Secretary of Homeland Security shall, as soon as practicable, and consistent with applicable law, propose new rules and issue new guidance, to supersede or revise previous rules and guidance if appropriate, to protect the interests of United States workers in the administration of our immigration system, including through the prevention of fraud or abuse.

(b)  In order to promote the proper functioning of the H-1B visa program, the Secretary of State, the Attorney General, the Secretary of Labor, and the Secretary of Homeland Security shall, as soon as practicable, suggest reforms to help ensure that H-1B visas are awarded to the most skilled or highest-paid petition beneficiaries.

I think the Press Briefing had more detailed information than the actual EO. Now, let me translate that to layman’s term (based on my understanding) as follows.

What H1B Visa Executive Order Does or Expected to Do:

  • Propose Rules and Issue guidance:
    • Eliminate H1B Visa Lottery
    • Give preference to High Skilled and Highly Paid
    • Preference to Advanced Degree Graduates from the USA
  • Target IT Outsourcing Companies:
    • Like Infosys, TCS, CTS (mentioned in Press Briefings) because they pay low wages
    • They submit lots of applications and get the bulk of H1B Visas
    • Top 3 companies have an average wage of $60,000 to $65,000
  • Actual Text of the Trump’s Executive Order is not yet available
  • Timeline
    • Administrative Changes to be Implemented ASAP
    • Departments to review and propose legislative changes

Twitter Reactions from Immigration Attorneys

Why H1B Visa Executive Order is a Big Deal

Here’s a question from a reporter in the Press Briefing

You mentioned that some of this has only been done legislatively.  Is the fact that this is happening now tacit acknowledgement?  There’s no package, there’s no vehicle we’re seeing in Congress on this.  Is there an acknowledgement from the White House that, even with unified Republican government, this is nowhere near coming —

Yes, I saw the Twitter Reactions from Attorneys and I still think this is a big deal. Immigration Reform did not happen during President Obama’s period. Only two major legal immigration changes happened: H4 EAD and STEM OPT rule.

Congress failed to pass the Health Care Bill and as President Trump stated in today’s briefing before signing the order, that once HealthCare Bill passes, they would move to Tax Reform, Infrastructure Projects and maybe Immigration Reform comes next. As you can see, things take a lot of time to become a law in the U.S. Congress. So, this Executive Order to reform H1B Visa program signed today is a big deal.

There are some changes that can be to make significant changes to the H1B visa Program via Executive Order, like:

  • Increase H1B Visa Fees
  • Decide how H1B Visa are allocated (instead of lottery)
  • Enforce existing H1B Visa regulations

Above three options were mentioned in the Press Briefing and they did not get into exact details of changes and timeline. So, we are right now in the state of wait and watch.

Wait:

  • What new Rules are going to be proposed
  • How long it would take to implement them

Watch:

  • What new H1B Visa bills are going to be proposed
  • If Congress can pass any H1B Visa Bills

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