In the face of recent attacks, which have portrayed the H-1b visa as a blight on the highly skilled but, unable to find employment U.S. worker; Mark Roberts, CEO of TechServe Alliance pens a well thought out article which describes the need for access to talented workers, defends the proper use of the H-1b visa, and, implores those legitimate users of the H-1b visa to not let your voice go unheard. There is no question that there is some abuse of the H-1b visa program but, Congressional studies commissioned by none other than the H-1b hater in chief, Senator Grassley have proven that said abuse is negligible. The IT and engineering industry will be proponents of well thought out H-1b reforms that provide for protection for the US worker and wages, while at the same time providing timely access to talent that is consistent with the fast paced demands of U.S. employers competing in a global marketplace. For Congressional reforms to be meaningful, they will need to cut through the rhetoric of fear and hate and be led by those not so easily influenced by the 1 in 1000 but, by the 999.
The week started with a 60 minutes news segment and now a Bloomberg article. Many expect the increased and widespread negative publicity to accelerate the consideration of legislation to make sweeping changes to the H-1b visa. Senator Grassley wasted no time in jumping on the opportunity to push his proposed bill. However, as we have seen with healthcare, a campaign slogan does not always equate to legislation being passed.
The shootings of two H-1b engineers near Kansas this past week, resulting in the death of one of them has saddened and stirred fear among the Indian community. We offer our condolences to his family. Many are quick to link this shooting to the nationalistic and inflammatory rhetoric which has become commonplace since President Trump began his campaign and has continued since he took office. The White House was quick to deny any link. India’s Foreign Secretary, S. Jaishankar will be in the U.S. this coming week for an official visit and has pledged to discuss this incident.
Lots of updates recently, but, here is the latest announcement from AILA National on the expansion of additional countries to the list “Contrary to rumors apparently circulating, AILA National has no confirmation of additional countries being added to the travel ban. The executive order anticipates that additional countries could be added. Clearly, it is impossible to guess where, when, or how the president will use this authority” We will continue to keep you updated as developments occur. AILA has created a AILA public page to post breaking news on the travel ban.
Another update, late this afternoon, the DOS released an DOS emergency travel alert providing assurances that persons with dual nationalities wherein one nationality was subject to the ban but, another nationality was not; would not be considered subject to the ban.
Yesterday, the White House announced that the Travel Ban in effect since Sat. for nationals from 7 designated countries would not be applicable to U.S. permanent residents. This is welcome news after the uncertainty caused by the EO and its implementation. Further bad news for nationals from the 7 designated countries, the USCIS has confirmed that it has stopped the processing of all petitions and applications submitted with the exception of N-400 (naturalization application). Processing will resume only after the ban has been lifted. Yesterday’s report of an expansion of the banned country list to include additional countries remains unconfirmed but, not denied.
It has been widely reported this morning that there is a new list being circulated from the White House that will add 9 more countries to the travel ban list. These include: Egypt, Lebanon, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Colombia, Venezuela, southern Philippines, Sahara (Mali), Sulu/Sulawesi Seas Littoral. Nothing has bene confirmed but, the information has come from a very credible source, the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA). Until more information is known, we advise anyone from one of these countries NOT to travel outside of the U.S. If you are outside of the U.S. and have a visa appointment, we advise you to keep that appointment and upon visa issuance, travel into the U.S. as quickly as possible. We will continue to keep you updated as developments occur.
Updated via post on 2-2-2017 12:17 pm
As confirmation hearings begin on Senator Jeff Sessions becoming the next Attorney General, it is enlightening to hear what he has said on H-1b visas. In an interview published in 2016 for Breitbart, Sessions made claims such as “over half of US STEM grads can’t find jobs”; “IT wages have not gone up since 2000” and, “there is no shortage of skilled workers in the U.S.” Check out the full story here.
In the first week of the new Congress, Rep Issa (R-CA) re-introduced a bill HR 170 designed to reform the H-1b program. The key component in the bill would raise the dependency exemption from $60,000 to $100,000. This same bill previously failed at the Committee level in 2016. It is expected that this will be but, the first, of bills introduced to change the H-1b visa program.