Trump ordered a review of the program for bringing foreign skilled workers to the U.S. What’s he likely to find in Minnesota?
Greta Kaul at Minn Post interviewed Matt and others about the H-1B program, particularly in light of the new Executive Order requiring a review of the program.
Greta did a great job of articulating many of the issues and criticisms surrounding H-1B status. This article is a great reference for getting a detailed primer on the program and the current political issues surrounding it.
Great work Greta!!
As a quick note, the "Buy American, Hire American" Executive Order signed last month does not make any immediate changes to the program. It only states that the H-1B program should be reviewed. It is unlikely that an Executive Order would cause any noticeable changes outside some generally procedural aspects: most significant changes to H-1B program would require action by Congress.
Most likely, the most significant Executive change that would affect the H-1B program is the possible change to F-1 students' eligibility for post-completion Optional Practical Training (OPT). It is possible the administration may, without the need for congressional action, shorten the length of OPT, or possibly even eliminate the general eligibility for OPT. As OPT is often a bridge for foreign graduates of U.S. institutions to seek H-1B status, it could have a significant impact on the program, particularly for those seeking to obtain first-time H-1B.
At this point, though, it does not appear that there are any firm plans to alter OPT or make any specific changes to the H-1B regime. Hopefully, a review of the program will show that it is actually very effective in its current form in protecting U.S. jobs. The current program has many protections, including prevailing wage requirements, labor condition requirements, requirements for involvement with collective bargaining, and the very strict requirement that employers pay substantial fees for use of the program.
The hope is that increased pressure from stakeholders such as employers and labor will encourage the business-attuned elements of Congress to increase the annual cap on H-1B positions. This year, over 199,000 applications were filed for only 85,000 positions, meaning many employers and employees were unable to place much needed skills in U.S. positions. The need is great, and, as Greta's article explains well, the overall impact of the program is a healthy, job-fostering economy.