back to article President Trump to slap fresh restrictions on H-1B work visas, refuses to hear public comment on changes

The Trump administration has announced it will place new restrictions on the H-1B work visa program, such as narrowing eligibility for foreign workers and recomputing minimum salary levels. The incoming rules – devised by the US Department of Homeland Security and Department of Labor, and published this week – were framed as “ …

  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Good and bad

    Good to keep well paid tech jobs on shore, bad as they will use the acceptable onshore wage reference to low ball candidates.

    Would be good to see initiatives on the right side of the “pond” to keep well paid jobs onshore too.

    Nothing against our offshore brethren but we’ve all got to pay our bills and I can’t live here on their wages.

    1. NeilPost Silver badge

      Re: Good and bad

      As much as Trump is a sociopath and serially incompetent racist/misogynist this is spot on.

      Brexit UK however is heading the other way and will be awash with minimum Visa wage Indian IT fodder... instead of nurturing home grown talent or using what n the CV19 redundancy bin.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Holy moly

        > racist

        How many times does the guy have to say "I disavow racism" and/or white supremacists to make it stick? 'Cause I've seen a dozen+ video clips dating back to before the 2016 election where he does just that, but I keep hearing people call him racist even as (pre-COVID) unemployment of minorities was at record lows due to policies his administration enacted.

        Disagree with him all you want, but the racism claim is incorrect, and it makes you sound either uninformed or willfully ignorant.

        1. Throatwarbler Mangrove Silver badge
          Thumb Down

          Re: Holy moly

          "Cause I've seen a dozen+ video clips dating back to before the 2016 election where he does just that"

          [citation needed]

          I'll stand back and stand by while you find them.

        2. X5-332960073452

          Re: Holy moly

          Actions speak louder than words

  2. tekHedd

    Not a big fan of Trump but...

    I'm OK with this.

    The program's really corrupt beyond the bounds of decency really.

    1. nohomo

      Re: Not a big fan of Trump but...

      I'm not fond of Trump either, I only sleep on a bed sheet with his portrait on it.

      1. My-Handle Silver badge

        Re: Not a big fan of Trump but...

        I hate to break it to you, but it is possible to approve of someone's action without approving of that person as a whole.

        1. NeilPost Silver badge

          Re: Not a big fan of Trump but...

          Even Hitler/Stalin/Cromwell got some shit right... though much of their history/legacy was abhorrent.

  3. G Mac
    WTF?

    This has been abused in the past, but guess who it leaves out...

    "In response, we must do everything we can within the bounds of the law to make sure the American worker is put first."

    No word on H-2A visas, AKA agricultural workers (https://www.dol.gov/agencies/whd/agriculture/h2a). Funny about that... A couple of recent news items:

    https://www.nbcnews.com/specials/h2a-visa-program-for-farmworkers-surging-under-trump-and-labor-violations/

    https://www.epi.org/blog/trump-administration-reportedly-looking-to-cut-the-already-low-wages-of-h-2a-migrant-farmworkers-while-giving-their-bosses-a-multibillion-dollar-bailout/

    1. NeilPost Silver badge

      Re: This has been abused in the past, but guess who it leaves out...

      There will be a pile of Poles/Hungarian/Slovak/Bulgarian etc available post Brexit Transition finishing 31-Dec-2020.

      1. JohnSheeran

        Re: This has been abused in the past, but guess who it leaves out...

        You do realize that this conversation is related to what is happening across the pond, right? It has nothing to do with Brexit.

  4. -tim
    Facepalm

    Another abused system

    I live in Australia and I have been contacted a number of times for jobs in the USA. Once they find out I don't need a visa to work in the USA they aren't interested in me anymore. I've heard the same for a number of ex-pats. The strangest request needed someone that was a citizen for a security clearance but they were trying to find a way to fill the job with an H-1B.

    1. G Mac

      Re: Another abused system

      Hmm. As an Australian, you definitely DO need a US visa to work in the US, and the E-3 is a visa for Australians. It lasts 2 years and can be renewed after that. Unlike the H-1B, there is no quota that I know of.

      You might not need a visa if you are a US citizen, or married to a US citizen, or otherwise have a Greencard...?

      Note: I am Australian on an E-3 work visa living in the US.

      1. FILE_ID.DIZ
        Thumb Up

        Re: Another abused system

        They probably weren't interested in you because the employer couldn't keep you under their thumb with an E-3 visa as opposed to a H-1B.

        Looking USCIS materials, the process of acquiring each visa is markedly different, mostly by the fact that the H-1B's first step is for the Employer/Agent to take steps. The third step is for the applicant to apply for a visa.

        The first step for the E-3, you need to have a legitimate offer of employment and the position that "will fill a position that qualifies as a specialty occupation". Hell, you can apply for an E-3 while in the country on a different visa.

      2. Jeffrey Nonken

        Re: Another abused system

        I don't claim to know his situation, but I note that he said "I live in Australia" and not "I'm an Australian citizen."

  5. This post has been deleted by its author

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Just for show

    Since Chad Wolf isn't legally in that office, the court already blocks Chad Wolf's rule changes, so he can do any number of electioneering rule changes that won't actually come into force.

    Chad Wolf's latest rule change, will be blocked immediately, just like the last rule change. But that's not necessarily a bad thing for Chad. He's a lobbyist. Do you attack your corporate sponsors just before an election? No, but you can pretend to for party votes! After the election he can drop the rule changes which were blocked anyway.

    He should not be receiving salary, and salary he did receive should be reclaimed, checks cannot be legally authorized by him, spending cannot be legally approved by him. Did you get paid, due to approval from Chad? Bad news...

    If you give him access to security details that only his position allows for, then you've committed a crime, because he's not legally in that position. Day to day decision making has no authority. You do not have the legal cover of "I was following orders" when the court says his orders are illegitimate. I'm surprised IT is allowed to allocate him an email address or account on the server too.

    Most importantly, he cannot order a "challenge voters at polling stations" order, the way he sent troops into Portland.

    So he's not usable as a Trump militia to challenge voters at the polls. (+Proud Boys march was a disaster, tiny numbers of people showed up, outnumbered by journalist, not enough to intimidate people beyond a few polling stations).

    US might be a shit show right now, but the shovels are out.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Just for show

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chad_Wolf

      "From October 2005 to 2016, he was Vice President and Senior Director at Wexler & Walker,[9][10] a now defunct lobbying firm."

      https://nearshoreamericas.com/nasscom-lobbies-hard-protect-us-business-indian-firms/

      "India’s IT industry body, Nasscom, is reportedly spending a fortune on lobbyists in its bid to dissuade the US administration from scrapping the H1B visa program....The money went to lobbying firms Lande-Group and Wexler & Walker,....Wexler & Walker provides services on immigration issues, including H1B and L1 visas, according to Work Permit, which reported the payment, citing company documents."

      Duh!

  7. Pascal Monett Silver badge
    Big Brother

    "economic security is homeland security"

    So, um, does that mean that economic insecurity is . . war ? How does that work ?

    I am absolutely not surprised that Homeland Security is spreading its wings once more ; the USA is well on its way to becoming a dictatorship, especially if it continues on its current path. Trump has his cronies in all the right positions, so obviously people are doing his bidding without even blinking, much less thinking.

    But declaring that the economy is under Homeland Security purview ? What tools do you have when it goes wrong ? You can't magically make a law that sets the economy right.

    This is just another excuse to expand the Big Brother state that the USA has become.

    1. EnviableOne Silver badge
      Big Brother

      Re: "economic security is homeland security"

      DHS = MiniTrue

      “WAR IS PEACE”, “FREEDOM IS SLAVERY” “IGNORANCE IS STRENGTH”.

  8. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

    "with the added benefit that US companies pay them less. Last month ... plug the skills gap ... if that works it will still take years for the results to take effect."

    Same problem in US and UK. Over the long term, neither country has wanted to take on the cost of training a sufficiently large skilled labour force. Neither country's employers want to pay the going rate for such a labour force. Both countries have, in consequence, an unemployment problem with people with few or no skills and their only solution is to periodically make noises about training people up to fill the skills gap as if that could be done with some short course. The fact is that the effort needed to repair the damage would take much longer than the life of a government in either country; it isn't going to happen.

    1. Blank Reg Silver badge

      That is why governments so often fail to do the obvious. If it can't be seen as a success during their time in office then it's not worth doing as it will just benefit whoever is in office when it finally does succeed, and it may not be them.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      > plug the skills gap

      While there's some truth to that, the bigger problem isn't skills, it's wages.

      As in, companies prefer not to pay skilled workers according to market rates, presumably in the name of maximizing profits (read: executive bonuses).

      The rationale for hiring (sometimes un-skilled) H1B workers appears to be, 1) they're cheaper, 2) they're usually under stronger corporate control in order to stay in country, and 3) see #1.

      And not to thread-drift too much, but outfits like IBM trying to cull their older (read: more expensive) workers contributes to the problem.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Trump is a bigoted, hateful stain on the face of the earth and the timing of this is obviously an anti-immigrant electoral ploy...

    But they're not wrong. H-1B abuse is absolutely, positively rife. Particularly in the big, tech-heavy coastal cities. H-1B staff are entrapped on much-lower-than-market salaries, lowering the wage conditions for everyone involved and keeping that individual visa holder effectively indentured. Likewise H-1B staff are effectively precluded from unionisation and are typically offered significantly lower benefits. The practice of outsourcing companies using H-1B resources to fill day-rate contracts and other contingent posts is (despite the article's protest) still incredibly widespread. This again results in a lowering of the overall wage conditions and effectively eliminates the potential market for freelance work that would otherwise exist, and does exist in comparable markets like London.

    The technology industry needs immigrants to thrive. The best companies should be able to acquire the best talent from around the world to compete on a global stage. We should celebrate the contributions of those immigrants to the nations they choose to migrate to. But let's not pretend this is fair to anyone involved. H-1Bs at this point mostly serve the interests of a small number of abusive, corporate employers who (by coincidence) contribute little-or-nothing back to their communities by refusing to pay any tax.

    1. naive

      If companies refuse to hire Americans

      So the board members can increase their 8 digit salaries, they should buzz off to those countries where they get their people from and sell their crap there.

      We don't need those leeches here.

  10. a_yank_lurker Silver badge

    Silly Valley Idiots

    Silly Valley brought closer scrutiny of H-1B visas on themselves by massively abusing the system and their abusive behavior towards employees. At some point a US politico would notice Silly Valley sleaziness and try to do something about it. The fact it is The Orange Man is really irrelevant. But Silly Valley is notorious for various forms of toxic work environments so their only hope to find a sucker to work for them is to abuse the H-1B visa system. Most citizens and green card holders will either walk or sue (see the numerous employment/discrimination lawsuits against Silly Valley).

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Silly Valley Idiots

      I got my H1-B in the 70's, and discovered after I had been working here for a year that the company had fiddled everything to get me the visa. So they faked things to get me in, but them I ended up running the department and hiring and training a dozen Americans to get the jobs done. So there were some benefits in the end - but this was over 40 years ago, I've seen so much change since then.

  11. handle handle

    Fund skills training with H-1B surcharge

    Require companies using H-1B labor to pay an annual fee of 5X the workers' salaries into a training fund for the displaced American workers.

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