During the U.S. presidential campaign, Donald Trump promised to make changes to the United States high-skilled-worker visa program. However, two months into his term, the president has yet to make any changes.
The H-1B visa, which allows international talent to work in the United States, was supposed to have stricter restrictions that would make it more difficult for companies to bring in foreign talent, who the president claim to be undermining American talent.
When the plan to put restrictions on the H-1B visa was announced, tech leaders, who have been some of the president’s biggest critics, were against the move because it meant they would be forced to hire more American workers instead of the person best qualified for the job.
Trump’s decision to postpone the changes to the H-1B visa has been met with relief from the tech industry. Despite their criticism of Trump’s attempt to make changes to the H-1B visa, some feel that the president has a compelling case.
As president, Trump has a point when he says that American jobs should go to American workers first, which is what he said during the election campaign. However, there is a flaw in the theory because the United States has been systematically failing to produce tech talent, which is something Trump has failed to acknowledge or come up with a plan to fix.
If there aren’t enough home grown tech talent in the country, are tech companies supposed to hire unqualified workers because they are American?
Tech leaders feel that until the president can address the decline in American tech workers, the H-1B visa is a very necessary program that shouldn’t be tampered with.
Even people that are trying to develop home grown tech talent in America, who should be against the H-1B visa, feel it is necessary until the president can come up with a plan to build up the local workforce to meet the demand of employers in the industry.
Making changes to the H-1B visa program at this point will be dangerous to the growth and profitability of the tech industry.
While the points made by the tech leaders are valid, there is some part of the visa program that needs to be addressed, such as abuse.
According to a report, investigators found that some IT outsourcing firms abuse the system by flooding the government with a lot of visa applications for their employees, guaranteeing that they get a bulk of the visas that are awarded.
The report stated that in 2014, only 20 companies received the 32,000 visas that were given out, despite the fact that over 10,000 companies applied. Loopholes like this will need to be closed in order to give deserving people a better chance of obtaining a visa.