The Donald Trump – Jeff Sessions Policy Shift: What Could Really Happen to the H1B Visa Program?

The problem with predicting how the H1B visa program may change in a Trump administration is that there are a lot of political and economic variables in play.  One important development that is getting news coverage is the possible appointment of Senator Jeff Sessions as US Attorney General.  

Senator Sessions has been an outspoken critic of the H1B visa program due to some of the abuses by either outsourcing firms, or companies that hire foreign workers and displace US citizen job holders.  So, how will the appointment of Sessions influence the future of the program?  Here are the possibilities:

Issue 1: Overuse of the H1B Program by Large Consulting Firms

Consulting/outsourcing firms such as Infosys and Tata Consultancy (both based in India, a hub for IT workers) have been at the top of the list of number of H1B visas secured each year.  Further, the top 10 recipients (sponsors) in 2015 were all outsourcing firms.

This issue is a priority for Senator Sessions, since he introduced legislation last year to restrict outsourcing companies from using the program to sub-contract foreign labor.  

It is highly likely that this is one change we can expect: either limited or complete denial of outsourcing firms to sponsor H1B visas.

Issue 2: Offering Lower Pay to Foreign Workers Than a US Worker

A related issue is the rate of pay offered to foreign workers compared to US workers with similar qualifications.  One proposed idea that could appeal to the Trump administration is to only award H1B visas to the companies that offer the highest salaries.  This could allow elimination of the lottery, since firms simply looking for cheap labor would find themselves shut out of the program by simple economics.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerburg, also founder of Fwd.us, is calling for an H1B minimum wage that is higher, and also suggests giving companies that help workers obtain green cards priority to obtain the work visa.  

This is the type of direct and supportive work relationship that could be the highlight of a future H1B visa program, and we can expect tech jobs will still be available for qualified applicants being sponsored directly by companies such as Apple, Microsoft and Amazon.

Issue 3:  H1B Visa Fraud

There are a few well publicized convictions of H1B visa fraud, but less known is the fact that Infosys, one of the chief outsourcing sponsors, settled a visa fraud case in 2013 for $34 million.  Any Indian IT workers that feel they may be unfairly singled out with the new Trump policies, have to consider the fact that one of the largest sponsors of H1B visas also actively defrauded the USCIS and violated program requirements.

The Trump administration will not be a friend to the IT outsourcing industry’s attempt to circumvent H1B visa laws.  We can expect cases like this to prosecuted aggressively if Senator Sessions becomes Attorney General, no matter what new program restrictions are in place.

The Bottom Line:  Apply to Sponsors Offering Full, Direct Employment and Avoid Outsourcing Firms

It appears the days are numbered for outsourcing firms that hire H1B workers and then contract them out.  This is the kind of abusive practice that the Trump-Sessions partnership would probably curtail completely.  But that should be good news for IT workers in particular, who will no longer have to worry about being ‘benched’ or denied the full pay promised for their H1B positions.

In the future, an H1B visa could only be offered at high rates of pay with committed sponsors, and could be a well-established path to obtaining a green card.

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  • November 28th, 2016
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15 thoughts on “The Donald Trump – Jeff Sessions Policy Shift: What Could Really Happen to the H1B Visa Program?”

      1. Hello ..
        I’m Mohammad Abdul gafoor .from India .. I’m working in a company (software) from last 2 years .i to wanted to apply for h1b visa program. Plz help me !

    1. Bangladesh citizens are easy for apply for lottery GC and get with less or no wait time. Google the process and get started. All the best.

  1. It is about time someone noticed this abuse that is laying off thousands of American workers. Americans have been a victim of this H1b abuse since 2006. If Trump follows thru, this should accelerate the growth of technology innovation 10 fold. US have been the leader of technology before H1b started. Silicon Valley being in the US is proof. If H1b Visa was the source of advance technology, then Silicon Valley would have been in India. Lets get the real US IT workers employed instead of them training lower cost H1b Visa workers. I hope Pres. Trump follows thru and make swift actions.

    1. Yo dumb ass JD immigrants make Silicon Valley great. You should seriously come here and stay. We have people from all over the world contributing to making the world a better place.

  2. I am a US Citizen have 2 STEM masters degrees (GPA 3.93/4.0) and had been working for a large company in the US for 17 years when I was laid off because an Indian IT company took over the entire IT department. I was then hired by the Indian company ‘temporarily’ to virtually train my replacements who are located at their Indian office. I took the job because I had no other opportunities. Abolishing the H1 visa would not have done me any good because, my replacement in India. Any advice for me?

  3. I am a US Citizen have 2 STEM masters degrees (GPA 3.93/4.0) and had been working for a large company in the US for 17 years when I was laid off because an Indian IT company took over the entire IT department. I was then hired by the Indian company ‘temporarily’ to virtually train my replacements who are located at their Indian office. I took the job because I had no other opportunities. Abolishing the H1 visa would not have done me any good because, my replacement is in India. Any advice for me?

  4. More than half the comments to this article are demonstrating poor written communication skills. Being a person that works with quite a few H1B Visa holders, I need to stress to you all that being able to communicate in the predominate language(s) clearly and concisely will take you very far in H1B visa work. If you cannot clearly communicate in English, both spoken and written, your concentration should be in learning those skills, not looking for a visa yet. Learn how to speak and write English clearly. It will endear you to those who you work for and with. Knowing full well how undereducated these IT professionals(!?) are when they come out of Indian Universities, I seriously doubt they can do anything the degree they have claims they can do. I have only met 1 H1B visa holder that was a pleasure to work with, and he graduated from the University of Colorado. He knows his business and he can communicate very well, sometimes better than some Americans.

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