Even before President Trump officially took office last year, the prospect of H-1B reform was real. Now it seems that the Trump administration is pushing through some visa reforms, but not the huge overhaul that Trump promised on the campaign trail. For recruiters and hiring managers, that uncertainty is potentially nerve-wracking. For those who are unclear about current H-1B policy, keep this in mind: there have been some changes, but nothing sweeping. While Trump’s promised reforms haven’t taken place overnight, as some expected, the President has ordered the departments of Homeland Security, Justice, Labor, and State to review H-1B policy. Here are the changes that have taken place:
- The White House is trying to prevent spouses of H-1B visa holders from obtaining H-4 visas, which would allow them to work while they’re in the United States. (In California, six members of Congress have already signed a letter asking the Department of Homeland Security to revisit that decision.)
- The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) is implementing a policy that companies seeking H-1B employees must prove they are filling specialty roles.
- H-1B visa holders will face the same scrutiny in renewing as they did in gaining a visa in the first place; this constitutes a change to the renewal process, which wasn’t subjected to the same stringency before.
- Meanwhile, there hasn’t been a lot of movement on the Congressional side: Variousbills meant to reframe H-1B are mired in political red tape.