Trump tells IT workers he may reform H-1B visa law
- President-elect Donald Trump promises to reform the H-1B visa law, reports Computerworld. Trump, along with fellow Republican Congressman Jeff Sessions (R-AL), is appealing to American IT workers, some of whom have complained about being laid off after training their H-1B visa-holding replacements.
- The current law requires H-1B-dependent companies, those with 15% or more visa workers on staff, to make a good-faith effort not to hire them to replace American workers. The law exempts companies whose visa holders earn at least $60,000 a year or have a master’s degree. To tighten the exemption, Rep. Darryl Issa (R-CA) and Scott Peters (D-CA) introduced a bill in Congress that would raise the base salary to $110,000, but the House Judiciary Committee rejected it.
- SHRM says Trump also might escalate workplace raids that target and remove workers from job sites for being unauthorized.
If Trump carries out his immigration policies, employers can expect some immigrant workers to be stripped of their work permits. Employers aren’t required to re-verify workers’ eligibility for employment, but they’ll likely have to fire employees whose work permits are rescinded.
Companies could be criminally charged with “harboring” unauthorized workers during workplace raids. Therefore, following employment eligibility and authorization procedures is critical. Also, Trump will need Congress’ support to carry out his immigration reforms, so employers shouldn’t expect immediate changes in the H-1B visa or immigration laws just yet.