Will the H1B Lottery System Finally Be Removed?
Very recently, Congressman Jim Sensenbrenner, Chairman of the House Judiciary Sub-committee on Immigration and Border Security and a top Republican lawmaker, wrote an article in Forbes Magazine demanding the removal of the lottery system that allocates H-1B visas, and to restore it to the original purpose of the program to bring the “best and the brightest” to the United States. He states, “In the current system, 85,000 H-1B visas are allotted by lottery annually. If there is competition to come to the US, we should ensure we get the best and brightest, not just roll the dice and accept the results,” He further argued, “Applicants with specialized skills should be selected for specific positions, the way the program intends”, arguing that by shuffling foreign applicants through a lottery system, they empower businesses to replace qualified American workers with cheaper labor. He continues to say, “Eighty per cent of H-1B workers receive less than the median wage – this is not only a violation of the spirit of the program, but it also disadvantages American-born job seekers.”
Last month, US President Donald Trump signed an executive order for tightening the rules of the H-1B visa program to stop “visa abuses”. Trump said his administration is going to enforce ‘Hire American’ rules that are designed to protect jobs and wages of workers in the U.S., though the specifics of how this enforcement will be implemented by the Trump administration is still unclear. The executive order also calls upon the Departments of Labor, Justice, Homeland Security, and State to take action against fraud and abuse of other visa programs, including the “EB5” investment visa program. While this executive order applies broadly to all US visa programs, it only specifically addresses the problems within the H-1B visa program and demands reforms that ensure that H1-B visas are only awarded to companies that actually require highly skilled foreign workers.
There have been few major changes or strides in immigration law and reform ever since President Donald Trump has taken office, but perhaps within his first term, we will see a major change in the H-1B Visa Program and as Congressman Sensenbrenner states, the “original purpose” of the program finally fulfilled.
The Buda Law Group handles a very large volume of H1B cases annually, and is prepared for any major immigration reform to this program and others that may arise.
Please feel free to contact us if you have any questions or concerns regarding the H1B Visa Program, or any immigration issue and they will be gladly answered.
John B. Buda, Esq.