Oct 6, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Trump administration announces new H-1B visa restrictions

Kenneth Cuccinelli, senior official performing the duties of the deputy secretary for the DHS testifies during Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee hearing

Ken Cuccinelli, senior official performing the duties of the deputy secretary for DHS. Photo: Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images/Pool

The Trump administration announced new, long-anticipated restrictions for the H-1B high-skilled visa program on Tuesday, some of which will go into effect this week.

Why it matters: The rules are "far and away, one of the most significant reforms made to the H-1B program in the past 20 years," deputy secretary of Labor Patrick Pizzella told reporters on a call.

Between the lines: The rule from the Department of Labor, which will go into effect Thursday morning, will change how much employers will be required to pay foreign workers they hire on H-1B visas, forcing them to pay workers more.

  • The DHS rule will narrow the kinds of jobs or "specialty occupations" H-1B visa holders can be hired for and increase scrutiny for third-party outsourcing companies that rely on hiring H-1B workers.
  • DHS said in a release that its rule will require "companies to make 'real' offers to 'real employees,' by closing loopholes and preventing the displacement of the American worker." This rule will go into effect 60 days after it is published in the Federal Register.

What they're saying: "The DHS rule will affect over one-third of the H-1B petitions," acting deputy secretary of Homeland Security Ken Cuccinelli told reporters. "I cannot overstate how big a deal this is."

What to watch: The administration is likely to face lawsuits over the way they're rolling out these new regulations. "Given the benefit to Americans, we're willing to live with that risk. Obviously, the president is," a senior administration official said.

Go deeper: Axios' Deep Dive: Skilled Immigration

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