The Donald Trump administration has announced reforms to the H-1B visa programme, one of his many campaign promises. The government on Monday announced modifications to the programme to stop H-1B visa frauds, reported Reuters on Monday. The new policy may make it difficult for entry-level computer programmers to get the work permit.
However, a United States Citizenship and Immigration spokesperson said the administration had not changed the policy, but had clarified the existing system.
The government has issued a Justice Department warning to employers and announced plans to increase transparency on applicants. “The Justice Department will not tolerate employers misusing the H-1B visa process to discriminate against US workers,” said Thomas Wheeler, head of the department’s civil rights division.
US authorities will also conduct site visits to check on employers who hire H-1B visa holders over Americans. Checks will be carried out in cases where the immigration department cannot validate the employer’s basic business information through available data. Employers petitioning for H-1B workers who work off-site will also be under the lens, according to the new rules.
Trump may make more changes to the visa programme in the future, said a White House official. “These are important first steps to bring more accountability and transparency to the H1B system,” an unidentified White House official told Reuters. “The administration is considering several additional options for the president to use his existing authority to ensure federal agencies more rigorously enforce all aspects of the program.”
In March, the US had suspended the premium processing option for H-1B visas, which allowed companies to bring in highly skilled workers in a few weeks, rather than several months, if they paid an additional amount. A large number of technology companies, among other industries, relied on premium processing to bring in skilled engineers to the US.
Trump had promised his voters that he would overhaul the H-1B visa system to provide more jobs to Americans, whom he said were losing employment opportunities to “foreigners”. His stance poses particular problems for India, which sends the maximum H-1B workers to the US. The Indian government has been attempting to lobby with the White House to reconsider its stance on tightening H-1B rules.