The Trump Administration is proposing changes to the H-1B visa lottery process. The administration is proposing to preference the H-1B visas to terminal degree holders, preferably those who obtained their degrees from colleges/universities in the United States. This is said to be a part of Trump’s “Buy American, Hire American” agenda. Currently, the U.S. H-1B visa awards are capped at 85,000 per year. Out of those 85,000 slots, applicants with terminal degrees apply for one of 20,000 advanced degree H-1B visas. Thereafter, those terminal degree holders who are not awarded are placed in the pool with other applicants (degree and non-degree having applicants) for the remaining 65,000 slots. The administration is proposing to reverse this process. Under the new changes all applicants would compete for the first 65,000 slots; terminal degree holders who were not selected will compete for the remaining 20,000 slots. According to, Michael Bars, a U. S Citizenship and Immigration Services spokesman, the proposed changes are said to increase the number of H-1B recipients with a terminal degree from U.S. institutions by 16%. He stated, “These proposed regulatory changes would help ensure that more of the best and brightest workers from around the world come to America under the H-1B program”. Trump is fighting to eliminate or significantly reduce access to H-1B visas because he believes they are taking technical jobs away from American citizens. I believe it is worth mentioning that Trump gained many followers/supporters by promising to bring [back] jobs to Americans; however, those jobs require individuals to have degrees. The “working class” or “labor” citizens he appealed to are still suffering.
If the proposed changes are accepted, they will be implemented in 2020, yet effects are already being felt. Additional effects that can come out of this are:
Leaves foreign nationals that are not degree holders at a disadvantage. Meaning, individuals that have acquired professional skills without being professionally trained, may not be considered.
Advanced degree applicants may dominate the system. Since the new changes will begin processing terminal degree applicants first, they may also receive preference once placed in the general pool.
This could preference certain ethnic groups. It is reported that Indians and Asians make up roughly 80% of the H-1B recipients. That leaves a lot to be assumed. For example, Indians and Chinese are more likely to apply and/or seek higher degrees in the U.S. Yet, with the limited number of slots and expected changes, it can increase that percentage and leave little room for others.
Increased competition for U.S tech companies abroad. Tech companies such as: Apple, Amazon, EBay, PayPal, and Cisco utilize the system to hire tens of thousands of employees each year. The current suspension of the premium process has already affected these companies. If the proposed changes are implemented, they will continue to feel the effects.
Sabah’s Global Enterprise, LLC will keep you abreast of the proposed changes. WE ARE HERE TO HELP!!
** H-1B Program = The H-1B program allows companies in the United States to temporarily employ foreign workers in occupations that require the theoretical and practical application of a body of highly specialized knowledge and a bachelor’s degree or higher in the specific specialty, or its equivalent. H-1B specialty occupations may include fields such as science, engineering and information technology. For more information about the H-1B program, visit the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services H-1B Specialty Occupations Web page.