US suspends fast-track processing for highly skilled H-1B visa

US authorities are temporarily suspending the speedy, premium processing of a visa which is often used by tech firms to recruit foreign skilled workers.

Although the move comes as President Donald Trump pledges to prioritize jobs for Americans, US Citizenship and Immigration Services said the suspension was only meant to help the agency reduce overall processing time.

The H-1B visa is issued to tens of thousands of highly skilled foreign nationals each year, but as of April 3, applicants will no longer be able to use a costly shortcut to rush the processing of their visas.

On Friday, USCIS announced that the "premium processing" of H-1B visas—which saw reduced from several months to 15 days for the price of $1,225—would be temporarily suspended for up to six months.

The visa has drawn particular attention since Trump's election, with White House spokesman Sean Spicer suggesting that presidential and congressional action could be taken on H-1B visas as "part of a larger immigration reform effort."

According to USCIS, the visas go to scientists, engineers, computer programmers or anyone "in specialty occupations that require the theoretical or practical application of a body of highly specialized knowledge."

The United States offers 85,000 H-1B every year, most of which are snapped up by Indian outsourcers whose employees fill a skill gap in US engineering. Applications are vastly oversubscribed and are allocated via a lottery system.


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Mar 05, 2017
This is great! Make America Great Again by using Americans! :-)
That is original. :-) And in the spirit of the thing.
The rest of the world can eat their hearts out. Along with all of you that wants to see a global economy.
At the expense of our children's national inheritance.

Mar 12, 2017
There is one point that has not been raised by all the comments I've seen on the 7 feb article dealing with the same issue and that is exploitation.
The contracting houses are exploiting the workers in paying them less than what they're really worth. The reason is simply that the workers are keen to get to the USA to earn dollars in amounts that far exceed that which they'll get paid in India.
BUT:
The contracting houses are only too aware of this and exploit the fact that there is such a demand [ by the workers ] for positions in the US. Thus their negotiations are aimed directly at making a huge killing in fees.
I know, I was a contracting worker once and it was only when the employer wanted to get rid of the contractors that I discovered how badly I was paid. It really makes little difference how well-informed you are about contracting rates - you either take it or get passed by.

That's why it's interesting to ask just who is making the most of the claimed $60B annually.

Mar 12, 2017
And how many Einsteins and Teslas will we reject?

This was done by the ignorant and fearful.

Mar 12, 2017
The "Einsteins and Teslas" will just have to wait several months, like the rest of them.

Your post sounds ignorant and fearful. Read the article first, gkam.

Mar 13, 2017
The H-1B visa program is a huge con perpetrated by corporations on US workers. The intention of the program is supposedly to allow foreign workers to take up jobs in the US when there are no equivalently skilled local workers available. In practice it is being used to replace US workers with cheaper foreign labor. Both Walt Disney Company and Toys R Us used this visa program to bring foreign workers into the US, had those foreign workers trained by the existing US workers to do the US workers jobs, and then dismissed the US workers. The US workers were required to sign an agreement not to criticize their former employers as a condition of receiving severance pay. Other employers who abused H-1B to similarly outsource and retrench American workers include Abbott Laboratories, Southern California Edison, and New York Life. The NYT ran an editorial about this shameful practice last June: https://www.nytim...rs.html.

Mar 13, 2017
It's a shame that redstate Trumpoid whiners can't get over the fact that crippling the school system with their Babble bullsxxt results in people from other countries being smarter.

Or that voting against reality doesn't work.

Teh stupid. It burrnz.

Mar 13, 2017
The intention of the program is supposedly to allow foreign workers to take up jobs in the US when there are no equivalently skilled local workers available.

If you'd spent any time in a US school system you'd know that it doesn't produce skilled people. Where are tech companies going to find skilled engineers? Just because a certificate from a US college/university says 'engineer' on it doesn't mean that this is someone of use in the current tech environment.
To compete at the top you need people who have top skills - and these skills are being taught elsewhere.

Mar 13, 2017
That is too often the case, AA, and I made my living by teaching electrical engineers how electricity works through the field effects, and how to think about those in relation to distribution systems and facility wiring.

Maybe they just remember where to look things up, but many do not have the ability to "run" the system in their minds.

Mar 13, 2017
I can attest to the program being used to displace existing higher-paid workers in IT with cheaper off-shore workers, with the employees being required to train their replacements. In the company for which I work, about the only IT workers retained are a few architects and project managers. All others are either H-1B or off-shore workers. Nothing much new in terms of skill sets (and that could have been remediated with training) and 20-30 years of institutional knowledge and the history of the development and modification of the existing applications walked out the door with each person replaced.

Mar 13, 2017
Just because a certificate from a US college/university says 'engineer' on it doesn't mean that this is someone of use in the current tech environment
@antialias_physorg
and that isn't necessarily true - https://ocw.mit.edu/index.htm

whereas i can relate to your disgust of the US school system... my disgust only applies to the grades K-12

you're generalizing and making the argument that because primary school is crap then undergrad and grad degree's are crap too, and that doesn't make sense

you might as well be saying "because Germans were once lead by Hitler then they're all so stupid they require babysitting"

perhaps you should clarify your argument?
I mean, if the undergrad/grad programs are all so much crap, why are people clamoring to get into them?

Mar 13, 2017
and that isn't necessarily true

Yes, there are some excellent universities in the US (CalTech, MIT, ...) but you can count those on one hand. They don't produce the numbers of high skilled engineers required (and scientists. Let's not forget scientists). The vast majority of colleges/universities in the US are...meh. Try getting into any kind of high tech job with a run-of-the-mill US college degree over here. That's going to be hard as hell. Compared to its population the US should have 15 to 20 times more of those top-notch institutes.

Trump is doing the US a huge disservice by making it hard for highly skilled people to work there. If this kind of policy continues then tech companies will leave - and that's certainly not in the interest of the US economy.

"because Germans were once lead by Hitler then they're all so stupid they require babysitting"

If primary school is crap how do you expect to get quality pupils in secondary schools?

Mar 13, 2017
We used to have the best infrastructure and schools, with free education up to PhD, if dsired.

Then, we got Reagan,. who shut down mental hospitals, failed to invest in infrastructure, and cut budgets to our schools.

His Dumbing-Down of America started here, and then he spread it, along with his deficit spending, to the rest of the country. It is paying off with the Tea-Baggers and Trumpistas.

Mar 13, 2017
The vast majority of colleges/universities in the US are...meh
@AA_P
that is true of any country, really...
Try getting into any kind of high tech job with a run-of-the-mill US college degree over here. That's going to be hard as hell
not really - IMHO you're biased in that regard
i've seen some very mediocre students in some very excellent uni's overseas- and some very inept ones too
Compared to its population the US should have
correlation issue here: no people like to throw money at a gov't... not even the ones who are taxed high for socialised stuff, like medicine and education
so that argument doesn't make sense to me
Trump is doing the US a huge disservice
this part is true, but you should just stop there
he isn't representative of everyone - there are vast crowds of people who are not trump or even trump-like, so...

2Bcont'd

Mar 13, 2017
@AA_P cont'd
If primary school is crap how do you expect to get quality pupils in secondary schools?
now this is a problem
however, because the requirements for higher education aren't the same for primary schools, then it's also why you can't argue the point...

it may prove out that we have less graduates ... but it doesn't mean that those graduates are inept or even less qualified when they graduate

the schools might not be perfect, but the higher education requires there to be a minimum standard for graduation
this is driven by the economy and by companies seeking qualified people to work in certain jobs
as such, if a university produced inept pupils, then there would never be any students hired from those programs... that means the programs usually go away as they're not commercially viable and no one will hire from them, so no pupils will take the course
(unless they're liberal arts students - jk intended)


Mar 13, 2017
@STOLEN VALOR LIAR-kam
We used to have the best infrastructure and schools, with free education up to PhD, if dsired
please produce links and/or references that support this claim

i've never known higher education to have been "free" in the US

i know that an individual can, if they apply for the proper programs and financial assistance, get an education for "free" as they don't have to pay out of their pockets (this is called a scholarship or grant)

methinks you should put the chronic away and try to focus

Mar 13, 2017
correlation issue here: no people like to throw money at a gov't...

I dunno. University attendance are free here - and they're, comparatively, excellent (about 10% of the top 500 universities worldwide are in germany). No taxpayer grumbles about the 1.8% of their taxes invested in this. The ROI of this is huge.
An advantage is: Everyone can afford to go to university given aptitude. Which is really the key difference: It levels the playing field so that not only the rich can afford to send their children (people don't leave these institutions with any debt).
By making good secondary education expensive and concentrating it in a handful of elite universities the US weeds out a lot of potentially promising people.

Mar 13, 2017
@AA_P
I dunno. University attendance are free here - and they're, comparatively, excellent (about 10% of the top 500 universities worldwide are in germany)
i see this like i see some other issues we've talked about... this is more of a culture issue than anything, IMHO
you can't compare German culture with any other culture because it's so subjective... it's like saying "Japan has a higher number of better primary school graduates so Germany is doing something wrong"

it makes no sense - on this or any other issue
It levels the playing field so that not only the rich can afford to send their children
i can see this... but anyone with drive and a basic ability to use a search engine can do the same in the US too with grants and scholarships, don't you think? especially if they've the aptitude?
i will admit i rather like the "free" thing in GE though...

agree with your last line, too...

Mar 13, 2017
can do the same in the US too with grants and scholarships, don't you think?

When the average student exits with over 35k in debt - are they all not trying to get grants and scholarships? I'd think that that amount of money would be some serious incentive to fill out a form or two.

The point I'm making though is that if a nation doesn't have good primary education then it's not surprising when the number of people that go into secondary education (and leave with a *quality* degree) are low - especially if it's made financially hard to boot. Such a nation does well to either
a) fix their education system or
b) attract talent from elsewhere.

The current policy seems to be to defund a) and to make b) harder. Doesn't look like a winning proposition to me - short term or long term..

Mar 13, 2017
For the record, I was laid off so my company could keep an H1B worker doing the same work as me employed. He was cheaper to employ. No, I was not a farm worker. I do computer communications work and have an MS in computer science hardware. Crap about unskilled Americans is just that "crap". Follow the money and it is easy to see that H1B tech workers are cheap, and equivalent American workers cost more. I had medical, he did not. I had prospects of long term employment, he did not.

Also, complaints about education in America above are valid.

Mar 13, 2017
Focusing on the H1B workers distracts one from focusing on the businesses who are making these wage wars happen.

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