H-1B Visa Change Is Good News for American Workers

Though his administration has been marked by setbacks and subversion, President Trump is looking to add a policy notch to his belt and, more importantly, a win for beleaguered American workers. 

On October 6, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security announced reforms of the H-1B nonimmigrant visa program. The H-1B allows foreign nationals to enter the country to work in “specialty occupations”but that term, like the program itself, is riddled with problems. These visa workers are commonly used to replace Americans, doing the same job for less pay and often without the same level of skill. Americans are often compelled to train their foreign replacements. 

The changes will narrow the definition of “specialty occupation,” and close loopholes exploited by companies to displace American workers. It will also enhance DHS’s ability to enforce H1-B worksite compliance, and limit the validity of an H-1B visa to one year for a worker placed at a third-party worksite. 

“The changes that go into effect immediately will ensure that U.S. companies will use H-1B workers to augment our domestic labor force, not replace it, as had been the case for far too long,” the Federation for American Immigration Reform said in a press statement.

Not everyone was pleased at this good news. 

This will not only hurt companies that employer [sic] H-1B workers,” complained immigration attorney Sarah Pierce, “but also the hundreds of thousands of companies that benefit from their work.” If Pierce is agonizing, then this is truly cause for applause because it is guaranteed to nudge the balance of power toward everyday Americans over corporations. And that nudge couldn’t come soon enough.  In the third quarter of the current fiscal year, the federal government approved 95.5 percent of all H-1B visa applications filed—the highest ever since Trump took office. 

Trump’s campaign triumphed in 2016, in part, because of his promise to end job offshoring, a promise that resonated profoundly with voters in industrial swing states. A report published October 5 by advocacy group Public Citizen, however, found that 200,000 American jobs have been offshored during his presidency. The Trump Administration “awarded on average 2.5 times the amount, or $10 billion more, in contracts to firms that offshored during his term than to those that did not,” according to the study. 

Labor outsourcing via programs like the H1-B is often connected to offshoring. The issues both relate to labor, and have both been killers of American livelihoods. 

The top ten worst offshoring offenders listed in the Public Citizen report are Boeing, General Electric, United Technologies, Accenture, Securitas, AT&T, Honeywell, Hewlett Packard, AECOM, and IBM. These are all companies that have ruthlessly outsourced jobs with programs like the H-1B. 

In late 2019, AT&T put thousands of American workers on the chopping block, after assigning them to train their foreign replacements. After a pair of deadly crashes, it was revealed Boeing outsourced 737 Max software development to foreign engineers earning just $9 an hour. Accenture and IBM were among the top 10 companies to request H-1B high-skilled worker visas in 2019. 

Some have complained that the timing of this announcement indicates that it is politically motivated, intended to shore up last minute support. And? 

“I wish it had come sooner, and there were more, but I’m happy with whatever we can do to make the system better,” Florida labor attorney Sarah Blackwell remarked. Blackwell is right. Moreover, these regulations, however late they’ve come, cannot be easily undone after Trump is no longer president.

We are the legacy we leave behind. Our successes and failures weigh upon this and the next generation. Here, we hope, is a change to the immigration system that will be a lasting achievement of which the Trump Administration can be proud.

About Pedro Gonzalez

Pedro Gonzalez is associate editor of Chronicles: A Magazine of American Culture and an adjunct fellow of the Center for American Greatness. He publishes the weekly Contra newsletter. Follow him on Twitter @emeriticus.

Photo: Evgenia Parajanian/Getty Images

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11 responses to “H-1B Visa Change Is Good News for American Workers”

  1. It is important to keep pressure on McConnell. Trump hasn’t gotten a single cabinet official of his choosing and it shows at the corruption in the DHS, FBI, CIA, and DOJ in particular.

    • And the ATF, State Dept, etc.
      PT needed a chief of staff who would of prioritize and lined up officials loyal to PT but it appears picking were at best very slim, too many #NeverTrumpers in D.C.

  2. I was the last American citizen in my department at a major bank to be replaced by an H-1B worker from India. All the major banks do this, heck, the second floor of my bank building was 99% H-1B workers with the flag of India hanging in their cubes. The bank hides them on upper floors so non bank employees entering on the main floor won’t notice. The banks don’t support American citizens so much so that I used to call my work place “little India”. We, the American middle class, must stand together and vote for Trump or we will all end up out sourced, jobless, and poor. The elite scum will drive past us on the way to their gated and walled off homes without notice. They dont care about us. If they ever get back in power they will grind us out of existence leaving america with only 2 classes: rich and poor. United, the middle class MUST stand. If divided, we will all fall. Elites want to rule us and make themselves richer. Just ask Joe and Hunter Biden.

  3. We need an investigative journalist to find out how many H-1B workers are employees at America biggest companies. All the articles concerning these topics never hold these companies accountable.

  4. Wonder who recommended DHS’s for Secretary?
    — President Trump’s short list for acting DHS Secretary includes Chad Wolf, who used to lobby for companies that placed H-1B foreign workers. (10-2019)

  5. H1B IS A SCAM :https://perfecth1bvisascam.blogspot.com/p/sp.html
    If s386 passes – all indian’s will use fake resume and flood tech jobs.. https://h1b-abuse.weebly.com/fake-resume.html
    currently no accountability for visa holders using fake resume
    it’s a old article but its worth reading it !
    From falsifying documents and setting up fake websites to pretending to be “religious leaders”, Indians are resorting to a variety of tactics in the hope of getting a U.S. visa, according to cables from US diplomatic missions in India published on the whistleblowing website WikiLeaks.

    In the leaked cable dated Oct 2009 and released by WikiLeaks on 24 April 2011, the U.S. Consul in Chennai said in the India Biannual Fraud Update, “Fraudulent civil documentation is common in India, both in terms of documents that have been fabricated outright, and documents issued improperly. (U.S. diplomatic) posts see a myriad of fraudulent documents, including fake civil registry documents, counterfeit entry/exit stamps and third-country visas, employment letters, sponsorship and financial documents, bogus degrees and entrance examination scores, and altered marriage and site photographs.

    read #23

  6. As someone who is mid-30s, in software engineering, not in Silicon Valley, and who has been self-employed for last 4 years, I can tell you first hand that I’ve seen an uptick in interest via Linkedin and job applications since June/July. I’m actually about to accept an offer that provides market rate compensation.

  7. I wish Blackwell and others would take several different tacks on this issue. As Boeing, IBM and other companies (Amazon government biz is what has made Bezos the wealthiest man in the world, NOT retail) have gotten fat off the backs of American taxpayers via federal contracts, it is only fitting to use whatever leverage exists to deny them this lifeline for outsourcing. Federal contracts are intended to provide opportunities to citizens’ small businesses, yet those are typically a facade behind which stand the very companies outsourcing the jobs and importing the unskilled and lesser skilled Chinese & Indians who steal secrets for their government or their own personal enrichment. Public challenges to contract awards ought to clog the courts until every single one of these companies is either bankrupt or changes its ways.

    When was the last time ANYONE asked ANY president, senator or representative about their voting record on immigration and visa workers?

  8. My company and many others are bypassing the need to use any visa program by just sending the work offshore. It’s all digital, so we just transmit it to India instead of having local people do it. We’re laying people off every week, while the office in India is hiring. No immigration policy will save a job involving digital work.

  9. Yupp, people who think getting rid of H1B will protect their jobs are just dreaming ( and playing into politics) . Jobs will be outsourced H1B or not. With H1B at least the job stays in the country and can collect taxes and the employees from other countries spend on other things helping the economy. Just like manufacturing went to China, software work will go to India and other countries, banning visas can’t stop it, market always wins , unless they realize they can’t demand the salaries that are not justifiable for a business