White House considering suspending H-1B through fall: report

The Wall Street Journal reports that L-1, H4 EAD and OPT are also likely to be affected.

The White House is considering suspending the H-1B visa through fall, the Wall Street Journal has reported.

The suspension could extend into the next fiscal year, which begins October 1, the beginning of the new H-1B season, the paper said, quoting “administration officials familiar with the talks.”

The report said while that “could bar any new H-1B holder outside the country from coming to work until the suspension is lifted,” visa holders already in the United States “are unlikely to be affected.”

Apart from the H-1B program, L-1 and J-1 visas will also be affected, the Journal said. However, health-care professionals treating coronavirus patients and workers in the food supply chain will be spared.

These are “among several possible measures” the administration is considering “amid the economic fallout of the pandemic,” the paper said, adding that “a series of legal immigration limits” might be unveiled “as part of an executive action he is set to unveil in the coming weeks.”

Other changes under consideration, according to the report, include:

  • Scaling back the Optional Practical Training program by reducing the OPT for STEM students from the current three years to one year.
  • Eliminating work permits for H4 visa holders, which might affect as many as 100,000 spouses of H-1B employees who are currently working on EAD.
  • The administration is also considering increasing the H-1B visa fee to $20,000.
  • Narrowing the definition of specialty occupations and shortening the length of the visas “for workers paid at the lowest pay tier and require pay increases for them upon renewal.”

The sources also told the Journal that Trump “hasn’t yet signed off on the plan” and “it could change as senior aides continue to discuss the matter.”

In an on-the-record statement, a White House spokesperson told the paper that, “The administration is currently evaluating a wide range of options, formulated by career experts, to protect American workers and job seekers, especially disadvantaged and underserved citizens—but no decisions of any kind have been made.”

A presidential proclamation that came into effect at 11:59 pm on April 23, 2020, had temporarily banned certain non-immigrants from entering the country for 60 days.

That executive action had spared H-1B visas, even though there was speculation that the visa program would also be included.

The New York Times reported that the president “backed away from plans to suspend guest worker programs after business groups exploded in anger at the threat of losing access to foreign labor.”

However, in the proclamation, Trump had instructed the Secretary of Homeland Security, in consultation with the Secretary of State and the Secretary of Labor, to recommend to him further actions on all types of immigration and visa programs, if they are necessary, within 60 days.

That 60-day window is fast approaching now.

ALSO READ:

Is Trump mulling new limits on H-1B visa? (May 27, 2020)

Little hope for unstamped H-1B, other visa holders stranded in India (May 24, 2020)

More than 1,000 unstamped H-1B, other nonimmigrant visa holders stranded in India (May 19, 2020)

5 Comments

  1. When i did my masters in IT 13 yrs ago 28 out of 30 students in my class were indians who are all waiting for their green cards now and are still on H1B and their spouses on H4 ead . So if you lose these 28 resources putting restrictions on H1B how do you think all those positions can be replaced within USA without sufficient graduates ?? You think companies just keep those positions open knowing they cant find suitable resources here ?? That is just being naive , these positions will eventually be outsourced to india. So if you really want more americans getting these jobs you should really be concentrating on graduating from colleges rather than backpacking across europe trying to find yourselves …..

  2. The notion that companies hire H1Bs for cheap labor is completely wrong. The US Department of Labor Statistics shows that 4 out of 5 H1Bs get paid a higher salary than the market average. If H1Bs were truly hired because they are “cheap labor” who the companies can pay lower wages, and not because they are highly qualified, 80% of them wouldn’t be paid higher than average salaries. These people fill a huge skill gap in the market where there just truly aren’t enough qualified Americans. Removing H1Bs would result in hundreds of thousands of jobs vacated with nobody to fill them, reducing innovations made by American tech companies and putting America in the back seat with China driving tech. China has surpased the US in the number of startups values over $1 billion anyway, the day isn’t far when American tech companies get outcompeted by Asian companies just like they did for the manufacturing sector.

  3. lets hope trump implement this rule and opens up job opportunies for us citizens .I am one of those 20millions who lost jobs and stuggling to feed my family as this IT jobs are taken aways by H1B/H4 EADs .This people are ready to take pay cuts and work for less just to stay in America & US employers are ready to hire them for less money while they make profit using cheap labor and we have to suffer.

    • Selfish prick.

    • IT/Computer-related jobs saw a DECREASE in unemployment during the pandemic, down to 2.8%, i.e. these companies are growing, expanding and HIRING people. If you work in this industry and lost your job, that’s a you problem. Losing your job when companies are aggressively hiring people means you weren’t a good employee, especially since they aren’t hiring H1Bs right now since USCIS is shut down. Your argument that companies are laying off Americans to hire H1Bs right now is incorrect since new visas aren’t issued until October. Don’t blame your incompetence on other people. Upskill yourself and try to be an indispensable employee. Don’t be a sucker who gets fired while companies are expanding.

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