Trump Issues New Executive Order to Review the H-1B Visa

Yesterday, President Trump issued an executive order to review the H-1B visa entitled “Buy American and Hire American.”

The Order calls on US immigration agencies to review the H-1B visa category:

“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.” See the White Office Press Office web site.

American employers need the the best and brightest to work in key positions and they use the H-1B visa program when they need to employ a foreign worker who must have at a minimum a bachelor’s degree in a specific field. Again, Trump issues an executive order that is empty and will not achieve anything of substance. As the law stands today, American employers are subject to an uncertain visa system that subjects them to a “lottery” where they must pay thousands of legal fees to lawyers to navigate a complex system and if their employee’s petition is chosen, the US company will pay fee a $325 petition fee, a $500 Fraud Prevention and Detection Fee, an H-1B Employer fee of $1500 or $750 depending on the size of the company and an optional Premium Processing fee of $1225.

H-1B visa regulations require US employers to pay all the costs involved with obtaining the US visa and there are significant penalties if the H-1B employee’s wages are used to pay any of the cost. Most employers in the US are small businesses that need key staff to grow their companies. They would not use the H-1B visa unless they really needed to. In my practice, the H-1B visa is often the visa of last resort because the path is so uncertain. Uncertainty is not good for business and is not good for America.

The H-1B visa program has been a vehicle to bring in the best and the brightest to the US. These are highly educated immigrants who are ambitious and can only contribute their tax dollars and create jobs in the US. It should also be noted that the H-1B visa is the visa that the President’s spouse used when she initially worked in the US.

See more information about the H-1B Professional Worker visa on our blog:

10 Things for HR Managers to Know about the H-1B Visa

H-1B Congressional Update

H-1B Professional Worker Visa

This posting is for information use and cannot be considered formal legal advice. If you would like to meet with a US lawyer to discuss the H-1B visa or other US work visas, please call +44 (0)20 7092 6830.