CFGI quoted – “A Presidential Puzzle”

Human Resource Executive Online

“Chief HR officers usually have a pretty good idea how to plan for the result of a presidential election. The two major political parties have well-defined policies. And by this late stage of the campaign, candidates typically have laid out their intentions in excruciating detail.

“Not this year. Experts and business lobbyists say it's hard to strategize…Those in HR are no exception.

“…Of all the federal policy areas important to HR, immigration may be the most highly charged in this election. 

“As part of the America-first theme of his campaign, Trump's signature pledge has been for strict enforcement of immigration laws…He also supports a broader mandate for employers to use E-Verify.

“Clinton's campaign has focused on concerns of immigrant families, pledging to renew efforts toward comprehensive immigration policy reform that would include a path toward citizenship for millions of people in the country illegally. 

“Employment-based immigration programs such as H-1B visas and company-sponsored green cards have attracted less attention from the campaigns. But Michael Aitken, vice president for government affairs at the Society for Human Resource Management, thinks the outlook is not good for employers that need more visas to recruit or keep talented immigrant workers.

“‘Regardless of who's president, there is a general tougher look at the employment-based visa programs, particularly H-1Bs,’ Aitken says.

“…Indeed, Trump favors higher bars for companies to sponsor immigrants, including an increased minimum wage for workers recruited from abroad.

“…Over the course of the campaign, however, Trump has shifted positions on employment-based visas. ‘I'm changing. I'm changing. We need highly skilled people in this country . . . we absolutely have to be able to keep the brain power in this country,’ he told Fox News anchor Megyn Kelly in March. 

“…One expert says Trump's evolution on the issue may not be over. The key question on employment-based immigration is ‘where he's going to be as we move toward the general election,’ says Rebecca Peters, director of government affairs for the Council for Global Immigration, a SHRM affiliate. It's still unclear ‘if his positions are going to change,’ she says. ‘We don't know that.’

“As for Clinton, Peters sees some reason to hope the Democrat would at least help employers get more green cards to keep top foreign graduates of U.S. universities who already are in the country on student visas. 

“If Clinton bases her promised immigration-reform legislation on a bill that stalled in the Senate in 2013, ‘that would be an excellent starting point for the green-card debate,’ Peters says. Clinton also has recognized the problem in a campaign policy statement that includes ‘stapling’ a green card to graduate degrees obtained by talented immigrant students. ‘She wants to help retain those folks,’ Peters says. ‘That's a very positive thing.’”

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