Crucial Silicon Valley H-1B visa issue unclear under Trump

Of the many questions around a Donald Trump presidency, one of the most important to Silicon Valley is whether he’ll take action on the H-1B visa program that tech firms use to secure foreign talent.

A statement by the President-elect on Monday put a spotlight on  the issue, but didn’t provide any clarity as to what Trump intends to do about the controversial visa program.

“On immigration, I will direct the Department of Labor to investigate all abuses of visa programs that undercut the American worker,” Trump said in a video message.

The tech industry has lobbied for expansion of the H-1B program, which provides visas for 85,000 workers annually.

Although Trump has emphasized the need for Silicon Valley to have access to the world’s best employees, he has also strongly criticized the H-1B program, saying it was operating “for the explicit purpose of substituting for American workers at lower pay.”

Jeff Sessions, the President-elect’s choice for Attorney General, has slammed the H-1B program, saying in February that “thousands of U.S. workers are being replaced by foreign labor,” Reuters reported.

But Sessions took issue in particular with foreign outsourcing companies such as India’s Infosys which “provide foreign contractors to U.S. companies looking to slash information technology costs,” according to Reuters.

It is among the outsourcers that the most high-profile and controversial cases of purported H-1B abuse have occurred. Disney and Southern California Edison have been accused of using the visas to replace American workers with cheaper foreign labor.

In October, San Jose Congresswoman Rep. Zoe Lofgren wrote UC president Janet Napolitano, after IT workers at UC San Francisco were reportedly replaced by Indians. Lofgren said the move appeared to be a misuse of the H-1B system.

 

Photo:   President-elect Donald Trump, accompanied by New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, left, took questions during the election campaign from members of the media during a news conference on Super Tuesday primary election night in the White and Gold Ballroom at The Mar-A-Lago Club in Palm Beach, Fla. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik) 

 

 

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  • RegularGuy55

    The largest single H1-B visa user in IL is the State University system. Not only are IL jobs going to foreign workers, those workers are being paid by IL tax dollars. THAT is the kind of abuse that needs to end.

    • Mark

      Not only that, but such is disrespectful to the graduates of the State Universities who are unemployed. And there’s lots of them.

  • noh1bvisas

    Trump ran on the platform “America FIrst”. He meant it. Check out Trump’s new video outlining his plan: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7xX_KaStFT8

  • Kit Katts

    If they want foreign labor let them work in their own country. We have something called VPN these days. The H-1B and L1 visa need to go along with the 400k Indian job thieves using them.

  • Enlighten

    The remedy for the h1b abuse, is to
    1. Make H-1b minimum salary of 110k US$ per year. This should not have any loopholes like saying bonus counts towards the 110k salary. Bonus is not guaranteed by law, so these fake body shops for example can give an offer letter saying 110k salary with 50K bonus, but they will not pay bonus. such loopholes should be avaoided and a base pay of 110k should be applied.
    2. H-1b applicants should not be allowed to work as consultants, they can only work as Full time employees to the company that applied for the h-1b visa, h-1b applicants cannot go and work at other customers or in any other location other than the company address.
    3. If the h-1b visa is oversubscribed, instead of using a lottery to pick h-1b applications, any company paying higher than the minimum 110k salary should be given the h-1b visa first. Any company paying less than 110k will be automatically disqualified.
    4. the above reforms should also be applied to F1 Visa EAD, OPT
    5. Revoke the executive action by Obama which granted spouses of h-1b EAD to work in US. This is another sneaky move to import cheap labor. They claim only 85,000 H-1b are issued each year but with Obamas 2015 executive action, the total number of potential foreign workers allowed in through h-1b is 85,000 X 2 = 170,000.

    The above rules should not be a problem since the US corporations claim that they are highly skilled people coming on h-1b. If they are indeed highly skilled the above rules should be enthusiastically embraced by US corporations.

    • Mark

      Why not just cancel H-1B and OPT. And allow the few rare top talented people to use the O-1 visa?

    • Kungaloosh

      The remedy for the H1-B and OPT visas is to eliminate them entirely. Everyone holding those visas goes home.

  • Euro2000

    One chemical [Abbotts Labs] company replaced all its IT workers – they had to train their less qualified foreign replacements for 6 months – then they got only a week’s severance pay for each year they were employed.

    This is why Silicon Valley was behind Hillary. As SoS she even found new loopholes to bring in cheap labor. [Coincidently remember the gold-star father at the DNC convention – as an immigration lawyer he was involved in obtaining EB-5 visa mainly for wealthy Arab / Muslim clients. And of course Trump’s saying – we are going to have extreme vetting! Part of the unspoken dialogue + likely reason for Khan’s hostility.]

    ::

    “”Hillary Clinton’s State Department Enacted Policies That Benefit Foreign Labor””
    http://dailycaller.com/2016/09/27/hillary-clintons-state-department-enacted-policies-that-benefit-foreign-labor/

    Article shows how Hillary was literally worked for the benefit of tech giants to help develop or train a cheaper foreign labor pool with US taxpayers’ money. And also notes how she exploited loopholes in tourist B1 visas to get around H-1B visa restrictions.

    ::

    So while you guys are sitting there accepting being called ‘racist’ and other silly make believe names – they are sectioning off your jobs. Remember msm media – speaks for corporate interests – and the total amount of money they make, not paying US workers the full wage, by hiring cheap foreign labor replacements – is $500 billion/year [National Academies’ Study]

    The media has everyone on an emotional ride – when what you need to do is look at the facts. You’re being ripped off – big time!

  • UMUT

    Other peoples in need of Visa (eg. Indian) to work in America or are smarter than Americans or maybe study better and more than the Americans. Question: “The really shaped American schools better and more of other schools in the world?” Except for the excellent American private universities, which cost a lot of money (few person can afford it), public schools – in my opinion – does not offer sufficient preparation! It sees the average level of the population that voted Trump! We too have our skeletons in the closet, of course, but more out of laziness, to leave it to the politicians, to a sort of indifference Italian. Worse for Americans if they hunt the brains from the USA! They will have a secure economic damage!

    • Mother of Dragons

      I’m sorry but if Indian education is so superior, why can they not figutre out how to prevent their citizens from pooping in the street? American companies hire Joe from Mumbai purely to cut costs.

    • Mother of Dragons

      Are the Sri Lankans that are cheaper and taking the Indian jobs less lazy / superior?

  • David

    This will be a big test to see if Trump is just a blowhard. The H1B programs are massively fraudulent. We have many American STEM graduates withe underpaid, out of work, or in non-STEM jobs as they were displaced by cheap foreign labor. If Trump does not scuttle this program than we know that industry has bought him off.

  • Linda

    Mr. President Donald Trump .. Please abolish the H1B-Visa Program. It’s been abused for so many years. We don’t need too many low pay workers .. there are still lots of Americans who are willing to work at the moment. When the Companies said that they couldn’t find good skill in America .. They are LIARS !! They just want to abuse the system. So, Cut it Off Altogether !!

  • Mark

    Nearly all H-1B use is abuse. Top tech firms receive literally hundreds of resumes per position they recruit, discarding nearly all of them without considering the local talent pool. There are hundreds of thousands of US citizens unemployed, many very talented individuals, who aren’t able to contribute to society because of this horrifically bad visa program. The H-1B can and should be cancelled, its holders sent home. A small number of truly best and brightest foreign nationals can be imported on the O-1 visa which is intended for top talent.

 
 
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