Trump's vow to revamp H-1B visa program on hold
- The H-1B visa program continues selecting skilled foreign workers for jobs in the U.S. by lottery, despite Pres. Donald Trump’s presidential campaign pledge to revise the system, the Wall Street Journal reports.
- Tech firms lobbied unsuccessfully to get the 85,000 cap on the annual number of visas raised, says the Journal.
- Trump vowed to revise the H-1B program, which he said strips American workers of jobs. Republican lawmakers want to remake parts of the program through proposed legislation, including a jobs petition system.
For now, the H-1B visa program operates as it has for years. But look for Trump and GOP lawmakers to end the lottery system at some point. As a senator, Jeff Sessions, now U.S. attorney general, introduced a bill that would raise visa wages to make hiring foreign workers more expensive and therefore less appealing to employers.
Last year, Senators Dick Durban (D-IL) and Chuck Grassley (R-IA) were working on reintroducing a bipartisan bill to replace the lottery system. The bill would give foreign nationals educated in the U.S. preference in obtaining visas.
Small companies looking to hire skilled workers say they’re undermined by outsourcing firms, which reportedly amass a large portion of H-1B visas. That could eventually change, too, as lawmakers work on revising the program.