As a Miami immigration lawyer, I read with interest that President Trump is expected to sign an executive order this week targeting the H1-B visa, which has been blamed for technology companies to recruiting low-wage workers from foreign countries and undercutting Americans looking for jobs. Below are some frequently asked questions.
What is the H1-B Visa?
The H-1B is a non-immigrant visa in the United States under the Immigration and Nationality Act, section 101(a)(17)(H). It allows U.S. employers to temporarily employ foreign workers in specialty occupations. If a foreign worker in H-1B status quits or is dismissed from the sponsoring employer, the worker must either apply for and be granted a change of status to another non-immigrant status, find another employer (subject to application for adjustment of status and/or change of visa), or leave the United States. Effective January 17, 2017, USCIS modified the rules to allow a grace period of up to 60 days. If you have any questions in regard to this, you may want to speak with a Miami immigration lawyer.
How do the regulations define “specialty occupation?”
The regulations define a “specialty occupation” as requiring theoretical and practical application of a body of highly specialized knowledge in a field of human endeavor including but not limited to biotechnology, chemistry, architecture, engineering, mathematics, physical sciences, social sciences, medicine and health, education, law, accounting, business specialties, theology, and the arts, and requiring the attainment of a bachelor’s degree or its equivalent as a minimum (with the exception of fashion models, who must be “of distinguished merit and ability”). Likewise, the foreign worker must possess at least a bachelor’s degree or its equivalent and state licensure, if required to practice in that field. H-1B work-authorization is strictly limited to employment by the sponsoring employer. If you have any questions in regard to this, you may want to speak with a Miami immigration lawyer.
How will Trump’s executive order affect the H1-B visa program?
The order looks to bolster protections for certain American-made goods and calls for a review of the H-1B visa program for skilled workers, with the goal of reforming the program, senior administration officials said. The president’s order seeks changes to the program that would require applicants and their potential employers to demonstrate that the visas are going only to “the most highly skilled workers” in their fields. As a result, the officials said, the H-1B visa would no longer be a cheap way for companies to replace American workers. If you have any questions in regard to the H1-B visa, you may want to speak with a Miami immigration attorney.
How have technology companies reacted to news of Trump’s impending executive order?The reaction has largely been negative. Technology executives have argued that the program is vital to their ability to recruit talent, and are likely to be frustrated by the change. Furthermore, some tech executives have argued that the effect would end up being exactly the opposite of what Trump purportedly wants, with companies would going offshore to seek talent. If you have any questions in regard to this, you may want to speak with a Miami immigration lawyer.
When will the changes outlined in the executive order take effect?
The changes Mr. Trump is seeking will take some time to carry out. The order will call for a 220-day review of waivers and exceptions made to decades-old “Buy American” rules. Again, if you have any questions in regard to the H1-B visa, you should contact a Miami immigration attorney.
If you would like more information on getting your H1-B visa, deportation defense, obtaining U.S. citizenship, or obtaining a green card, please contact Miami immigration lawyer Michael G. Murray, Esq. at (305) 895-2500 or visit our website at murraysilva.com.