Obama Defends H1B Workers Against Trump’s Visa Plans

The H1B non-immigrant work visa program is once again on the political stage, as presidential leadership in the US is about to change.  As noted in other articles, President-elect Trump has stated he wants to impose restrictions on the H1B program to limit its use as a “cheap labor program.”  He has committed to putting the H1B visa issue on the agenda for his first day in office, signaling his intention to make reform a priority.

IT companies that are primarily located in Silicon Valley would be affected the most by program reform by Trump, and they have been vocal in opposing any restrictions on foreign IT workers.  The majority of H1B work visas are given to Indian IT workers, primarily through outsourcing companies.  President-elect Trump’s H1B visa plan could eliminate this avenue for granting work visas.

Obama’s Last Minute Move to Expand H1B Visa Availability

Meanwhile, President Obama is getting ready to step aside January 20th, but he is pushing forward some new regulations for the H1B program that would take effect January 17th 2017.  This will affect the new Trump H1B visa policy in some important ways.

Among the changes is an expansion of the ‘cap exempt’ category for H1B visas, which includes non-profit hospitals, as well as educational and research institutions.  Those institutions and their for-profit partners can hire an unlimited number of H1B visa workers, as long as some relationship to the non-profit is in place.

In essence, the rule change will make it easier for companies to partner with non-profits, allowing more employees to be included in the cap-exempt category.

This is significant rule change because one of the challenges of obtaining an H1B visa is making it through the annual lottery each year, where only 85,000 visas are issued to more than 230,000 applicants.  Now, a company could circumvent the lottery for H1B workers by partnering with a non-profit, and placing the position in the cap-exempt category.

The Obama-Trump H1B Visa Chess Game

For those watching the transition of power in the US, the H1B program is part of a larger chess game to preserve as much of Obama’s legacy as possible, and resist widespread changes by Trump.  Because the Obama H1B visa rule changes are administrative (not subject to Congressional approval), to reverse the new rules is a time consuming and difficult process.  It is unlikely that will be a priority for the new Trump administration, which will be focused on reforms that directly affect companies that abuse the program.

What Does This Mean for Foreign Workers Seeking H1B Visas?

As we have repeated on this blog, the best way to obtain an H1B visa is to find a cap-exempt position, since you will not have to endure the lottery or abide by the fixed annual calendar.  Now, this route is going to be easier than ever, as more for-profit companies will be permitted to use partnerships with non-profits to hire the full range of specialty occupations.  

For example, an IT worker could be hired to fulfill a role in a company that works closely with a non-profit hospital, so the job does not have to be healthcare related.  In other words, support and administrative services that qualify as ‘specialty occupations’ could be supplied by a company to their non-profit partner, but the H1B visa sponsor is the for-profit company.

We can expect companies to begin taking actions to utilize this rule change and hire more H1B visa workers under the cap-exempt category.  If you have questions about how to locate cap-exempt positions, please contact us at any time.

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  • December 6th, 2016
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18 thoughts on “Obama Defends H1B Workers Against Trump’s Visa Plans”

  1. I have the same question, how can we locate the cap- exempt positions.
    Please provide your contact information, if in case for more queries.

  2. I voted for Obama and Demicrats both times. Never again! Every year thousands of US citizen STEM graduates are unable to find work. Body shoppers like TCS, Cognizant, Wipro, Tata, InfoSys and a plethora of small so called ‘Consultancies’ that are mini versions of these behemoths like TCS etc in the USA itself that basically feed off the H1-B. All it takes to replace 10 American IT workers is one person on H-1B visa in US on $60K salary without benefits plus 9 off-shore personnel making $15K each. It’s not just about those on H-1B visa in US – the problem is that each of them is a “gateway drug” to 9 more offshore people to replace other Americans. We’re not talking about Ph.D’s – those are a small minority of the temp work force. Also, as visas are renewed after 6 years, there is estimated 800,000 H-1B and other temp work force personnel in this country replacing Americans in high quality and high paying jobs. Multiply that by 9 people off-shore, and we get over 7 million of replaced American IT, accounting, etc. workers. Congress, close the temp workers program loopholes!

    1. @Cooler ..I am holding director position in one of the best USA company (no Indian based) but with my hard work, I got selected and promoted in USA company from Manager to Director..I came on H1B (with Indian IT company) and I worked almost 60 Hours a week to make my USA employer successful.

      When I join this new USA based employer..USA citizen with same experience not ready to work that hard but I took lead to put extra efforts and smart work to get what I want.

      So temporary workers are not replacing you but you guys don;t know how to learn new technology, how to hard work..even I am now holding USA citizen..I will eventually go back to Indian to give my child good education because USA education system is just BROKEN..

      1. Just look at you Vikram: You’re definitely part of the problem. You speak in broken English, yet you are promoted to Director. Then, to add insult to injury you taunt other posters with your broken English.

        “I am holding director position in one of the best USA company (no Indian based) but with my hard work, I got selected and promoted in USA company from Manager to Director..I came on H1B (with Indian IT company) and I worked almost 60 Hours a week to make my USA employer successful.
        Let’s see – I think that you meant to say “I am a director at one of the best companies in the United States.”
        The rest of the sentence is a run on and could probably be broken up into 3 or 4 more sentences.

        I also disagree with your racist/nationalist thought that American citizens are unable or unwilling to put in the hours to be successful. I’ve spent the past 30 years in IT in America and have worked all over North America for businesses large and small. There are plenty of qualified Americans ready and willing to work hard. There are many instances where Indian hiring managers are unable or unwilling to hire someone that didn’t come from India.

        Be sure and have your facts straight before you reply. Also, make sure thatyou have someone proofread your post for grammar.

  3. Obama is only allowing the mass exploitation and racism present in the program to grow and worsen. We need smart changes that mandate and enforce full market wages for guest workers, regardless of nationality. A centralized website needs to exist for postings of jobs before any visa can be granted with at least a month allowance. The greater wage of a similarly skilled worker in the same area or company in the last few years needs to be required. A well documented effort needs to be shown to find local citizen resources at full market rates. The main reason the program gets used currently is to pay workers far less and boost executive compensation a lot. Why is anyone okay with this?

  4. @american it engineer

    Dude get ur facts straight before u comment
    1st of all our spoken English is much better than what u speak and to add to that we are more skilful , hardworking and sincere towards are work.
    We do not have any laid back attitude like u guys.

    We work hard to earn our bread not sit idle without any skill to mint money or wait to get job by replacing skilled officials.

    Talking about facts so get it straight if H1b is restricted it harms the US economy to great extent and certainly nobody wants that , hope including you. Only your edge over spoken English don’t run an economy you need to have brains to do that.

    Be a global player rather than hatching eggs and waiting for US govt to do something.

    1. MOst H1b folks use fake resumes and proxy interviews. I know of H1bs without engineering degrees getting jobs as software engineers. Also news minted graduate students stating 5-6 years of fake experience on their resume. The sad part is that they do not think they are doing anything wrong. I came here as student 35 years ago and got my entry into workforce without faking anything. It appeals me that Indians bring shame the way they behave with fraud

  5. HEllo All,

    I can speak to this as I live it everyday for years. I got hired 5 years ago by one of these companies, not because of my skill that they liked but because God placed an american black guy in the interview room with all the indians and he told them he wanted me. Thru the years i have delivered massive projects alone and earn the respect of everyone as I am a logical thinker and can learn fast. I am able to tell qell educated Indians how their own stuff works and solve their issues which they should know. I have met few smart thinking indians and a load of educated uncapable ones. The way they work once one. recently my director from israel shipped another director from India and in a matter of months he wants to get rid of me but he cant cause none of them can do what I do. They refuse to get more folks and they assigned me an indian offshore out of college and it is over a year and he still clueless and cant speak english period. I have learned that been a book geek and memorize things like indians dont help in all aspects of IT cause they are not logical thinkers. Some are capable and majority are not. I have seen how manangers and directors have used their influence to have their wives which never worked in their lives get high paying IT jobs and have to be baby sit and training by experienced americans or hide them among indians. I met one that never used a computer did even know how to use excel and now is working on a Telecom Network testing lab. under more Indians to protect. I have see Indians been promoted to managers from testers to be over experienced Americans with tenure and wanting to enforce Indian style of slavery. Working 60 hours dont make you a hard worker. There are labor laws in this country which Indians dont know and daily they violate them and company policies. By law as an example you can not make a salary employee work outside of his schedule hours unless you ask and he agrees. Indians tend to work long hours because they are intimidated and afraid of their Indian managers sending them back to india or loosing the job. Another issue is the staffing agencies ran by indians where they have an arrangement with the Indian hiring manager at an IT company and give the jobs to Indians on H1B for was lower rate and get a cut every paycheck from the staffing agency or they own the agency under someone else name and hire people thru there. I have seen it over and over in the same company even an American telecom taking over in some areas by indians. Americans that have been there for ever performing a great job see it where they know there are no more openings in their department and next day some indian get hired without no posting or interview sessions.

    So Indians please dont get mad it is a fact that you all are abusing and discriminating and taking over. Their are plenty had working people in this country that cannot get the higher jobs because Indians are giving them to Indians period. You cannot tell me their are not highly qualified managers, directors, VP’s and technical people here already. It is just an excuse and it is costing this country more. If you are capable and want to come to US and work by all means, but not under an excuse. And again 80% of the once I have come across cant think for nothing and I have to be telling them they wrong and dont listen until higher up americans tell them so. Also you all are all over them place and can think straight and are not problem solvers. You all have the advantage that all these IT companies have offices in India and when you out of college you get a job into this companies doing what we do here we have to walk you and babisit you for years so you can say you have experience then when you get the visa you are supposedly experienced. Here is not the case. you give americans the same access that you have and you would have nothing to stand on.

    I am a panamanian born that worked for years for the US Gvmt. was transfered and because a resident. Born in the Canal Zone. Educated from high school in Accounting, training in COBOL programming and Basic. Experienced with multiple positions in the government. Studies 4 years of International Finance in University and didnt finish due to my job conflicts.

    Self thought IT Engineering.

    So please dont rely on your education but how you can think. And working around the clock is not a hard worker but a slave to a system. that jumps and move from state to state because they have no live and build no community.

    Learn what life is about first then you will know what work is for your life.

    1. FYI. there is a lots of typo as my computer changed words. Dont care really as I dont do this but this has been an issue that has been disturbing me for years and must speak about it. I am to a point that want the labor department to do an Audit in the telecom I work and they IT companies serving them.

  6. I am a 30 years IT person with many hands on experience. When the startup fail, I spend more than a year in high tech to find a job. Sometimes I have to go through 3 layers H1 or Indian layers to get a job. I sometimes think I am just one went to interview for the government statistics reason. The decision is not on the skills, they can easily find some question you never met in work but some theory to humiliate you. The open H1b cause the racial in employment market unbalanced, It’s another racism. A lot of company they have 80 percent Indian employees, the pressure is Mount on others. The standard of treatment is umequal. It’s truly unfair.

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