29 October 2018
Ever since Trump has started picking on H1B visa during campaign, later followed by executive action on H1B - the Immigrant community has been on edge.
Shifting through the events of past year, below is a summary of how Trump's administration is executing his plans.
1. There is no change in US Immigration laws (1986 & 1999 was the last major changes to legal/employment based immigration)
2. Trump team is making use of levels within the existing law to tighten the screw on immigrants who are in the US via legal immigration system
3. Things that USCIS has done till date
· Increase the rate of RFE for each new or renewal petitions for legal work permit - H1B or L1
· Instances where new H1B petitions (that were selected in lottery) getting upto 3 to 4 RFE before rejection are the norm
· PERM applications are extending beyond 9 months
· The attempt at stopping premium processing was one such move
· I-485 applicants now be mandated to attend an interview when AoS is filed is a new wrinkle in the road
· The mandatory interview will affect both family based petitions and employment based petitions
· The threat of site visits for work based petitions adds a new area of concern for applicants
What does it mean for Companies?
1. Companies that have real need for specialized skill and are willing to invest money and administrative resources will benefit
2. Body shop companies with business model relying on H1B alone and work price arbitrage for survival will suffer. All filing fees submitted to USCIS is for a lost cause. They will no longer have a viable business model
3. Big companies who rely on manpower from Big IT Service companies will see a disruption in service
What does it mean for Individuals aspiring to work in US/ enter US on immigration petitions?
1. The road looks bleak for now
2. Unless a candidate possesses specialized skills and a company is willing to bat for them at USCIS.
3. Any attempt at filing a GC for you is a dream. Indian IT outsourcers have sent back loads of employees who finished their 6 year terms with this reason
Who benefits most from these actions?
1. With scarcity of resources comes the potential for rise in wages. This is the primary argument from Trump all along. American citizens or GC holders who are skilled to pick up these jobs will have more leverage in salary negotiations.
2. Immigration Attorneys represented by AILA are in a sweat spot to benefit from this administrative quagmire. Every interaction with USCIS or DoL results in Fees. Each RFE response results in fees.
3. Companies who have employees on H1B would see their risk of losing an employee on a legal work permit diminish. With reduced mobility folks on H1B or L1A/B petitions are indentured laborers.