Department of Homeland Security Drastically Changes H-1B Program

Yesterday, October 6, 2020, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security announced that it would be making significant changes to the H-1B program to “protect U.S. workers” and restore “integrity to the H-1B program.” Of course, this does not come as welcome news to foreign workers who are looking to obtain employment here in the United States through the use of this program. The program essentially sets out to ensure that H-1B petitions are only approved for a far narrower group of potential beneficiaries and petitioners. Please continue reading and reach out to our experienced Wisconsin immigration attorney to learn more about the move to modify the H-1B program and how it may affect you.

Why is DHS modifying the H-1B program?

The DHS’s reasoning for modifying the H-1B visa program is that, according to the DHS, the program has allowed more than a half-million H-1B nonimmigrants to displace workers here in the United States. The DHS also states that because of this, workers here in the United States now face lower or stagnated wages.

Of the recent move to modify the program, Acting Secretary Chad Wolf said, “We have entered an era in which economic security is an integral part of homeland security. Put simply, economic security is homeland security. In response, we must do everything we can within the bounds of the law to make sure the American worker is put first. He went on to say that “The Department of Homeland Security is honored to take this important step toward putting Americans first and to continue to implement President Trump’s agenda to keep our economy secure.”

Essentially, the Trump Administration and others believe that many employers are exploiting the H-1B program to displace otherwise qualified, albeit more costly American workers. Under the new rule, the phrase “specialty occupation” will be narrowed, companies will have to close certain loopholes that allow them to hire nonimmigrants over otherwise qualified Americans, and the new rules will allow DHS to crack down stronger on companies by ensuring their compliance through worksite inspections and more.

Of course, this action was not met without opposition, as Sarah Pierce, a policy analyst at the non-partisan Migration Policy Institute, among others, has said, “There are many problems with the H-1B program, including that there are instances where H-1B workers are replacing U.S. workers. And that’s a problem that needs to be dealt with. But the Trump administration is dealing with it by punishing all H-1B workers, and especially those that are working in third-party worksites.”

The new law is set to take effect 60 days after its publication in the Federal Register. If you have any additional questions, give us a call today.

Contact our experienced Wisconsin immigration firm

John Sesini is an experienced immigration attorney with offices in Green Bay and Milwaukee Wisconsin. Our firm understands what is at stake when it comes to immigration law matters, which is why If you have any questions, you should not hesitate to contact the Sesini Law Group, S.C. and schedule your initial consultation with our firm today.

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