On April 4, 2018, Francis Cissna, the Director of United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (hereafter “USCIS”)  proposed a series of measures designed to reduce employment-based immigration into the US, in a letter to Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Charles Grassley.

In the letter, Cissna proposed three radical measures which, if implemented, would significantly reduce eligibility for the H-1B Specialty Occupation Visa, limit its viability as an option to many US visa applicants and reverse the new International Entrepreneur Rule. The proposals, an apparent attempt to further a “Buy American, Hire American” Executive Order executed by President Trump on April 18, 2017, come only months after the USCIS removed the phrase “a nation of immigrants” from the agency’s Mission Statement.

What Are the Measures Being Proposed?

In his letter, Cissna proposed the following:

  1. Reducing Eligibility for the coveted H-1B Specialty Occupation Visa, by (a) revising the definition of a “Specialty Occupation” to limit eligibility and (b) revising the definition of “employment” and “employer-employee relationship”, in a bid to allegedly protect US workers and ensure employers pay appropriate wages to H-1B Visa holders.
  2. Eliminating the ability of spouses of H-1B Visa holders to work in the United States, by removing the right of H-4 Visa holders to apply for Employment Authorization.
  3. Removal of the International Entrepreneur Rule. Although in effect, the USCIS state that they have not approved any parole requests under the International Entrepreneur Final Rule at this time.

The USCIS has proposed the above measures, because it perceives the H-1B Specialty Occupation visa to be a major gateway through which highly skilled foreign nationals can work in the United States and compete in the U.S labor market.

However, in reality, the proposals are a false economy and are likely to damage the U.S economy, by making it harder for U.S employers to recruit the foreign talent they require to fill skill-shortages in their workforce. Indeed, according to a recent report, based on U.S Labor Department data, if every person in the Midwest was placed in an open job, there would still be over 180,000 unfilled vacancies on the labor market. Sadly, it would appear that the above measures are driven by the Trump Administration’s ideological desire to reduce U.S immigration, rather than a need to facilitate and support the U.S job market. We will endeavor to keep you updated.

Davies Legal Immigration

At Davies Legal Immigration, we provide advice and representation in connection with all aspects of family, employment and business immigration to the US. We tailor our service to the unique needs of our clients and offer a comprehensive, efficient service at a competitive fixed fee. Call now to discuss your US immigration enquiry with a licensed US immigration attorney and take the first step towards achieving your own “American Dream”.

Published: 28th April 2018