- As part of President Donald Trump’s “Buy American, Hire American” campaign promise, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) could put in place new regulations that would end H-1B visa extensions, McClatchy's D.C. Bureau reports. The proposal could affect hundreds of thousands of foreign workers, mostly Indian immigrants, who are waiting for their green card applications to be approved.
- The potential change relies on a clause in federal law that allows the White House to extend an H-1B visa beyond the three-year limit if a green card application is pending. DHS and a bipartisan group of lawmakers are considering other measures to tighten visa policies, says McClatchy.
- The DHS proposal could negatively affect many U.S. employers, who argue that the number of available H-1B visas isn't high enough for the number of workers they need.
The administration says that the visa program enables lower-paid foreign workers to take jobs from Americans by working for less pay. Yet, the high salaries U.S. employers are now paying H-1B visa holders suggests that most, if not all, are highly skilled, opponents say.
While there are concerns about bigger companies snapping up most of the visas, employers maintain that the U.S. labor shortage, fueled by the skills gap, opioid epidemic and other factors, is crippling their recruitment efforts. If U.S. immigration policy becomes more restrictive, experts have said that we could see a flight of talent to countries with more open immigration policies, such as Canada — making the U.S. talent problem worse.