While campaigning for president last year, Donald J. Trump promised changes to the H-1B visa program that brings skilled foreign workers to the United States. A critique of the program is that it can be used to replace American workers with cheaper foreign labor. Critics say that Indian outsourcing firms, in particular, use it as a shortcut to make low bids on contracts.
President Trump has yet to unveil a significant revamp of H-1Bs, but over the last few days, his administration has started to make changes.
The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services announced on Friday that entry-level computer programming jobs would no longer automatically qualify as a “specialty occupation,” which is a basic requirement for receiving an H-1B work visa. And on Monday, the Justice Department warned that it would look closely at any employer that showed a preference for hiring H-1B workers instead of Americans.
The changes came just before the government started accepting applications for next year’s H-1B visas.
These steps will most likely fall short of dramatically affecting big tech companies like Google and Facebook. But the industry is still anticipating an executive order from Mr. Trump that could create additional changes to how H-1Bs and other work visas are issued.
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