CFGI Quoted – “H-1B visas: How the Trump administration is ‘freaking people out’”

The Mercury News

“The Trump administration is bringing a new level of scrutiny to a temporary work visa popular among technology firms, costing employers more time and money as they seek to bring foreign workers to the United States.

“From January to August 2017, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services sent 85,265 requests for evidence in response to H-1B visa applications, a 45 percent increase compared to the same period a year earlier… Immigration lawyers say these requests…could even discourage companies and individuals from seeking an H-1B visa in the first place.

“…[A]dministration officials say the scrutiny is needed to ensure the integrity of the controversial visa program, which critics say has cost American jobs.

“Overall, about 27 percent of all H-1B visa applications USCIS received in the first eight months of 2017 got a request for evidence.

“For the same eight-month period of the prior year…about 19 percent of all H-1B visa applications USCIS received got a request for evidence.

“Answering requests for evidence increases the time employers spend on H-1B applications and legal costs for attorneys’ guidance in obtaining and submitting the additional information.

“The increased scrutiny of H-1B visa applications could make some companies…think twice about hiring foreign workers. 

“…While bills to overhaul the visa program haven’t become law yet, USCIS is asking employers for more proof to determine if a worker is eligible for an H-1B visa.

“‘Everybody that uses a lot of visa workers knew that this was coming,’ said Leon Rodriguez, the former director of USCIS. ‘The handwriting was on the wall…before President Trump took office.’

“…‘In the eyes of some employers, there appears to be a perception that there is a political motivation behind this wave of RFEs,’ said Justin Storch, the Council for Global Immigration’s manager of agency liaison, who has talked to the group’s members about dealing with requests for evidence.

“…[San Jose immigration lawyer Arjun] Verma said some of his clients are thinking about whether hiring skilled foreign workers through H-1B visas this year is even worth the financial risk.

 “‘For a lot of these employers,’ he said, ‘it’s just money down the drain.’”

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