Immigration experts opine that the unfavorable view toward the H-1B visa classification is likely to affect businesses from next year.
Although the Trump administration has not passed new laws or made changes in the H-1B program, its unfavorable view of the popular nonimmigrant work visa program has led to enhanced scrutiny and experts view that more foreign workers will be denied the work visa this year.
“In the last two months there’s been a seismic shift in how visas are being approved,” said Seattle immigration attorney Tahmina Watson, Geekwire reported. “Businesses are going to be impacted quite drastically and if it’s not apparent yet, it will be apparent next year.” She added that there might be “about 40 percent denials in this year’s H-1B cap and that’s going to have a big shape in how next year’s visa activities happen.”
The report said Watson is not alone in anticipating a tougher time for the H-1B visa beneficiaries. Another immigration attorney, Lola Zakharova, expressed that “the USCIS started challenging H-1Bs which would have no problem being approved in the past.”
Zakharova added that these developments are the direct impact of Trump’s executive order ‘Buy American, Hire American’.
“The challenges are equally frustrating for employees and employers who are anxious about the uncertainty of the outcome,” she said. “The employees fear having to leave the country and lives they have built in the U.S., and employers losing their valuable talent which may stall projects and contracts. This is not a healthy environment.”
However, not everyone in the tech industry is unhappy with the changes. In an interview with Marketplace, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella had said that the H-1B program’s review would ensure that the category is not misused.
“I think the H-1B review is … a good thing because I think every country should look at their immigration policy and in this case, it’s about American competitiveness,” he said. “Ultimately, it’s about high-skill labor and a review that says there is the right use of [the H-1B] and misuses of it and we promote more the right uses of it, all the better for American competitiveness. At least at Microsoft, when we think about H-1B, it’s mostly about high-skilled labor that allows us, an American company, to be globally competitive.”