The Labor Department and the Department of Homeland Security announced on Tuesday, Oct. 6, a change in the rule governing H-1B visas, substantially raising minimum wages for qualified foreign workers by local businesses. The rule seeks to prioritize U.S. jobs amid the economic crisis caused by the CCP virus pandemic.
The new regulations will significantly increase the minimum wage that businesses must pay to workers hired through the H-1B visa program. It will also limit the definition of “specialty occupations” eligible for these types of visas. As reported by the U.S. Employment and Training Administration, the ultimate goal is to help American workers remain competitive in the labor market by encouraging foreigners to be hired for their skills on this type of visa and not simply to reduce the employer’s costs.
After a significant review of the Permanent Employment Certification visa programs, Labor found that the existing wage structure facilitates abuses by contractors, while at the same time creating wage deflation and stagnation for U.S. workers.
The review seeks to restructure existing wages and eliminate any incentive or economic advantage in hiring foreign workers permanently or temporarily in the United States.
The changes will be effective Oct. 8 and for a period of 30 days and Labor will accept comments and the possibility of generating certain modifications to the regulation.
It is expected that Labor will receive some criticism from business sectors that by abusing this program, they were strongly benefiting in their labor costs.
According to Breitbart, since the emergence of the H-1B type of visas, a large business has developed around which foreign labor contractors obtain tens of thousands of H-1B visas and then subcontract those workers to U.S. employers.
Under the new rules, U.S. employers when using H-1B employees will have to employ the workers directly and demonstrate that there is an actual job that uniquely requires a qualified foreign worker. This will eliminate this large foreign labor contractor business.
Companies in the United States employ approximately 1.3 million foreign graduates. Many of these jobs could be filled by new American graduates and experienced American professionals. The problem would not be serious if the work was being done by a foreigner because of his or her skills, but what is worrying and what is being remedied is that these jobs are being done by foreigners simply to lower the costs to employers.
More than two-thirds of H-1B visa holders are from India and are employed mainly by technology companies, according to government statistics reported by Breitbart.
Many of the foreign workers are compliant and inexpensive, in part, because they hope to obtain permanent visas in the United States.
One of the points to be modified when granting visas, will be that H-1B workers who are admitted must possess unique skills and qualifications that American workers cannot easily replicate.
President Trump has always disagreed with the abuse of the foreign worker visa system by certain sectors for their own gain.
By March 2016, Trump had already “committed to the elimination of widespread and unchecked abuse” in the program. During subsequent years that the economy grew and unemployment was low, the abuses were not as noticeable. But in the current situation where the CCP Virus pandemic has caused an economic recession on a global scale, the measure is once again making absolute sense.