Trump Admin Cracks Down On Visas For Coders
As Nasdaq reaches ever record-er, record highs, it seems the ability to create a “Hello World” app is no longer enough to warrant an H1-B visa according to new guidelines from the Trump administration.
As The Hill reports, the new policy guidance that would make it harder for companies to use the H-1B visa program to bring foreign computer programmers into the U.S. A policy memo from the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services changes the way the agency will process visa applications for computer programming positions, making companies jump through extra hoops to fill those jobs with foreign workers…
The memorandum also does not properly explain or distinguish an entry-level position from one that is, for example, more senior, complex, specialized, or unique.
Furthermore, the memorandum also did not accurately portray essential information from the Handbook that recognized that some computer programmers qualify for these jobs with only “2-year degrees.” While the memorandum did mention beneficiaries with “2-year” degrees, it incorrectly described them as “strictly involving the entering or review of code for an employer whose business is not computer related.”
Based on the current version of the Handbook, the fact that a person may be employed as a computer programmer and may use information technology skills and knowledge to help an enterprise achieve its goals in the course of his or her job is not sufficient to establish the position as a specialty occupation. Thus, a petitioner may not rely solely on the Handbook to meet its burden when seeking to sponsor a beneficiary for a computer programmer position. Instead, a petitioner must provide other evidence to establish that the particular position is one in a specialty occupation…
Companies use the H-1B program to import workers for highly skilled positions that are difficult to fill. The Trump administration, however, has alleged that tech companies and IT outsourcing firms have abused the program to the detriment of American workers.
The lottery for companies to apply for 2018 visas opened on Monday. Interestngly, as livemint reports, a feature film about the difficulties facing an Indian temporary work-visa holder waiting for permanent residency will be screened in 25 US cinemas on Friday, with backing from Silicon Valley investors, fuelling an already heated immigration debate.
Advocates of immigration often cite H1B success stories like Sundar Pichai of Google and Satya Nadella of Microsoft. But the work visas are controversial and critics say companies that use them the most — information technology services companies with the bulk of their operations in India — are hurting American workers by undercutting salaries and taking away jobs.
Workers who want to gain permanent residence are treated like indentured labor, said Vivek Wadhwa, Distinguished Fellow at Carnegie Mellon University’s College of Engineering. If they change jobs or take a promotion, they lose their turn in line, so they end up doing menial jobs during the most productive years of their lives, he said.
“I call this one of Silicon Valley’s darkest secrets,” said Wadhwa, who is also a director of research at Duke University’s Pratt School of Engineering.