It’s nearly impossible to have missed political discourse regarding the Trump administration’s temporary travel ban and proposed changes to work visas in the United States. These changes could have broad implications and impact many people in various industries.
In January, President Trump and his team hinted at changing the H-1B work visa program, which allows skilled foreigners to enter the United States by working for companies, particularly in the tech industry.
Currently, the H-1B work visa program allows 65,000 skilled workers — with an additional 20,000 holding Master’s degrees — into the United States to fill specialty occupations including sciences, engineering, mathematics, medicine, technology, and other positions. Applicants must hold a bachelor’s degree at minimum.
Applicants can stay in the United States, if they’re working, for a maximum of six years. Many use this as a pathway to citizenship by applying for green cards at the end of their H-1B stays, allowing them to eventually apply for citizenship. However, this all might change: Recently introduced but not yet ratified immigration legislation and executive order drafts may impact H-1B workers.
According to the NPR article, these proposed changes are making tech industry leaders nervous: Hundreds of thousands of applicants already compete for the limited number of visa spots, and many industry leaders rely on this talented workforce segment to operate. Opponents argue the H-1B disproportionately favors foreign workers and does not put America first. However, many in the tech industry feel we need valuable employees and relationships with those from countries all over the globe to compete and remain relevant on a worldwide scale.
According to the CNN article, one introduced bipartisan H-1B reform bill may provide work visa program solutions while still allowing for tech and other STEM company leaders to hire on an international basis.
At Value Global, we’re committed to all our employees and clients around the world. We’ll be paying close attention to how the H-1B situation plays out in Congress and the court system as the conclusion will undoubtedly impact us all.