Trump, by executive action, could have made changes to the H-1B program prior to the annual lottery application process for 85,000 H-1B visas, which begins 1 April. However, White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer on Wednesday said the president will continue reviewing all immigration issues.
“… obviously, whether it’s H-1B visas or the other one — spousal visas — other areas of student visas, I think there is a natural desire to have a full look at — a comprehensive look at that,” Spicer said. “He discussed the RAISE Act yesterday with Senators Perdue and Cotton. We’ll have more on that coming forward.”
While campaigning, Trump repeatedly criticized the H-1B program.
“I remain totally committed to eliminating rampant, widespread H-1B abuse and ending outrageous practices such as those that occurred at Disney in Florida when Americans were forced to train their foreign replacements,” Trump said in March 2016. “I will end forever the use of the H-1B as a cheap labor program, and institute an absolute requirement to hire American workers first for every visa and immigration program. No exceptions.”
IEEE-USA, in letters to Trump in December and January, proposed that he put H-1B-dependent firms at the back of the line in the application process. By not doing so, the 2017 H-1B allocation will be the same as in previous years. More than half will go to outsourcing companies whose business model is replacing American workers.
“By Trump not yet keeping his promise, American tech workers will continue to lose their jobs and their ability to take care of their families,” Pedersen said. “This is in direct contrast to what he told us all last year.”
As a consequence of Trump’s decision not to act, outsourcing companies will be free to participate in the upcoming lottery on equal terms with other businesses. For the past several years, these companies have collectively received around 50,000 of the 85,000 visas. Rather than using H-1B workers themselves, outsourcing companies rent their workers to third-parties at below-market rates. American workers, after training many of these new employees, will lose their jobs.
IEEE-USA serves the public good and promotes the careers and public policy interests of nearly 190,000 engineering, computing and technology professionals who are U.S. members of IEEE.