CFGI Quoted – “Nonprofits Using H-1B Visa Program Face Uncertainty”

The Nonprofit Times

“…Immigration reform was a key campaign issue in the election of Donald J. Trump as the 45th President of the United States. Along with a wall along the border with Mexico to keep out undocumented people, visas for those attempting to enter the country legally also is a hot button issue.

“Trump characterized the H-1B visa during the campaign as ‘very, very bad for workers. We shouldn’t have it.’

“…There is widespread consensus in the tax-exempt world that the H-1B program greatly benefits nonprofits, especially those involved in research and education.

“…Lynn Shotwell, executive director of the Alexandria, Va.-based Council for Global Immigration (CFGI), said most H-1B visa holders hired by nonprofits have earned master’s degrees and Ph.Ds, often from U.S. universities. ‘They’re hiring people who have a lot of talent, often in areas where there are no Americans available to do the job,’ Shotwell said.

“…‘My members are watching all of this very closely,’ Shotwell said. ‘One of the things we’re watching is who is going to be appointed to key positions within the administration.’

“…Shotwell said she believes U.S. employers would prefer to hire U.S. citizens if they could find qualified Americans to fill all of their needs. For example, she said it’s more expensive for employers to hire H-1B visa holders. On top of prevailing wage rules connected with H-1Bs there are ‘significant filing fees and legal fees’ connected with the program, she said.

“Thomas Barnett, a consultant and former CFGI board member, said the best way to move more Americans into STEM jobs is not to clamp down on the H-1B program, but rather to improve the U.S. education system to the point where more Americans earn advanced degrees in STEM fields.

“‘We need to improve the curriculum, and that starts at grade one,’ Barnett said. ‘This is not going to be a quick fix, and it’s not going to be a cheap fix, to help our educational system compete globally.’ 

“…Jacobs said she would advise nonprofit executives to not panic over the prospects of the H-1B program under Trump, noting that it would take an act of Congress to get rid of the H-1B cap-exempt provision for qualified nonprofits.”

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