‘Current lottery system helps replace American workers with low paid less qualified foreign workers.’
The Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR) has opposed the Biden administration’s decision to postpone implementation of a Trump administration rule for wage based H-1B selection instead of the current lottery system.
The Trump rule “would reduce abuse of the H-1B program by unscrupulous employers while also protecting American workers,” it said in a public comment on March 10 to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS).
On Feb. 4, the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced its decision to delay implementation of the Trump rule from March 9 to Dec. 31 ostensibly to “give USCIS more time to develop, test, and implement the modifications” to the selection process.
It has since opened a March 9-25 window for initial registration for H-1B cap visa lottery for the fiscal year (FY) 2022.
Indian tech professionals are the biggest beneficiaries of the current lottery system getting about two thirds of the 85,000 H-1B visas issued annually.
The Trump final rule announced on Jan 7 prioritized the higher-paid and higher-skilled foreign workers for H-1B cap-subject visas, FAIR, the country’s largest immigration reform organization noted.
It thus ensured “US businesses have access to the best pool of foreign workers, while also discouraging wage suppression and creating unfair competition to American workers.”
“FAIR strongly supports the substance of the final rule and urges DHS to implement the rule without delay,” it said.
“As DHS has reiterated throughout the rulemaking process, prioritizing wage levels in the registration selection process incentivizes employers to offer higher wages, or to petition for positions requiring higher skills and higher-skilled aliens that are commensurate with higher wage levels, to increase the likelihood of selection for an eventual petition,” FAIR noted.
“President Biden often portrays himself as a man from the ‘working class’ who is a tireless defender of the American worker,” said FAIR President Dan Stein.
“Yet his administration is set to postpone, by at least a year, an important rule change that prevents unscrupulous employers from using the H-1B program to undercut American wages while ensuring that companies that truly need skilled foreign workers have access to the best and the brightest.”
“Current DHS policies require USCIS to select registrations on a purely random basis, utilizing a lottery system, when demand for H-1B visas exceeds the numerical limit set by statute,” the comments noted.
“This random lottery selection process places no weight on wage or skill levels and fails to ensure businesses actually have access to the best and brightest workers possible.”
“Worse, the lottery creates a scenario where American workers could be replaced by foreign workers who can be paid significantly less or who possess considerably lower skills,” said Stein.
Strongly urging DHS “to implement these critical reforms without undue delay,” FAIR said, “This final rule will allow DHS to more effectively protect US workers against competition from foreign labor at a time when US workers need protection more than ever.”
“The acute fiscal harm that US workers are facing as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic will only be exacerbated if employers are encouraged to continue to underpay H-1B beneficiaries because of an outdated and illogical current wage structure.”
“The final rules will mitigate the harmful impact the current wage level structure has on the domestic labor market, will likely increase productivity, development, and innovation within the US economy, and will benefit higher-skilled H-1B beneficiaries from wage suppression,” it said.