H1B Visa News

H1B Visa News

Computer programmers may no longer be eligible for H-1B visas

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services 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.

 

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The US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has started taking in applications for H1B visas – 65,000 in the general category and 20,000 for those applicants having higher education from US universities. Apart from setting up an email helpline against the abuse of H1B visas, the USCIS will undertake a more targeted approach while conducting site visits so as to prevent the abuse of the system by employers.

In future site visits, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services agents will investigate incidents where an employer’s basic business information cannot be validated; businesses that have a high ratio of H1B employees compared with U.S. workers; and employers petitioning for H1B workers who work off-site.

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security announced steps on Monday to prevent the fraudulent use of H1B visas, used by employers to bring in specialized foreign workers temporarily. Beginning Monday, the Department of Homeland Security promised greater scrutiny of the H-1B program, which began accepting applications for a lottery that will award visas in 2018. The government’s immigration enforcers plan to heighten their “site visits,” they said, to “determine whether H-1B dependent employers are evading their obligation to make a good faith effort to recruit U.S. workers.”

The Justice Department, meanwhile, issued its own stern warning Monday. “The Justice Department will not tolerate employers misusing the H-1B visa process to discriminate against U.S. workers,” said Tom Wheeler, the acting assistant attorney general at the DOJ’s civil rights division.

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Both swipes at the program come days after U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services issued a policy that rethinks the way the government awards H-1B visas to computer programmers. Now, companies must prove that the programmers they’re hoping to hire are doing special, complex jobs requiring unique technical expertise.

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