04/18/2017 - H-1Bs and the New Executive Order

Today President Trump signed a new Executive Order entitled “Buy American, Hire American.”  In addition to setting out the administration’s preference to have all federal agencies review their policies to maximize purchasing goods, products, and materials produced in the United States, this Executive Order specifically calls for a review of the current H-1B program.  The stated purpose is “to create higher wages and employment rates for workers in the United States, and to protect their economic interests.”

The current H-1B program requires there to be (1) a U.S. employer; (2) a specialty occupation position, which is defined as a job that has duties that are so complex that normally a bachelor’s or higher degree in a specific field is required for the position; (3) a qualified beneficiary; and (4) a required wage, which is the higher of what the U.S. Department of Labor deems as the prevailing wage for the occupation in that area of employment or what the employer is actually paying similarly situated employees, including U.S. workers.

The Executive Order has asked the Secretary of State, the Attorney General, the Secretary of Labor, and the Secretary of Homeland Security to “as soon as practicable, and consistent with applicable law, propose new rules and issue new guidance, to supersede or revise previous rules and guidance if appropriate, to protect the interests of United States workers in the administration of our immigration system, including through the prevention of fraud or abuse.” Moreover, the Executive Order asks for reforms “to help ensure that H-1B visas are awarded to the most-skilled or highest-paid petition beneficiaries.”

The Executive Order does not go further nor does it set forth a timeframe for any H-1B reforms.  The Executive Order only requires that action be taken “as soon as practicable.”  

The above has been provided for educational purposes only.  Please stay tuned and we will keep you up to date.  Please also contact your Clark Lau LLC attorneys if you have any questions regarding how this may apply to your particular situation.

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