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Aijaz Rahi / AP File Photo

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services today announced new measures to rein in abuse of the H-1B program.

The agency will take "a more targeted approach" when making site visits to focus on employers who "are evading their obligation to make a good faith effort to recruit U.S. workers."

Starting Monday, USCIS will focus site visits on:

  • Cases where USCIS cannot validate the employer's basic business information through commercially available data
  • H-1B-dependent employers — or employers who have a high ratio of H-1B workers as compared to U.S. workers
  • Employers petitioning for H-1B workers who work off-site at another company or organization's location

Why it matters: The Trump administration is making good on its promise to address fraud and abuse of the H-1B program by trying to weed out the employer applicants that rely heavily on temporary visas to fill their staffs. The newly-announced measures will hit hardest the India-based outsourcing companies that apply for large numbers of visas to help supplement IT departments at major U.S. corporations. These kinds of outsourcing firms caught Trump's ire on the campaign trail when companies such as Disney and Southern California Edison laid off workers and were said to replace them with foreign workers.

"The H-1B visa program should help U.S. companies recruit highly-skilled foreign nationals when there is a shortage of qualified workers in the country," said USCIS in a press release on Monday, when the lottery for H-1B visas was already underway. "Yet, too many American workers who are as qualified, willing, and deserving to work in these fields have been ignored or unfairly disadvantaged."

One-two punch: Over the weekend, USCIS quietly announced changes to the eligibility of some lower-level computer professionals, giving the agency more discretion to require additional proof that "computer programmers" are high-skilled and high-paid enough to qualify for the sought-after visas.

Go deeper

NRA declares bankruptcy, says it will reincorporate in Texas

Wayne LaPierre of the National Rifle Association (NRA) speaks during CPAC in 2016. Photo: Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty Images

The National Rifle Association said Friday it has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy and will seek to reincorporate in Texas, calling New York, where it is currently registered, a "toxic political environment."

The big picture: The move comes just months after New York Attorney General Letitia James filed a lawsuit to dissolve the NRA, alleging the group committed fraud by diverting roughly $64 million in charitable donations over three years to support reckless spending by its executives.

2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Biden: "We will manage the hell out of" vaccine distribution

Joe Biden. Photo: Chip Somodevilla / Getty Images

President-elect Joe Biden promised to invoke the Defense Production Act to increase vaccine manufacturing, as he outlined a five-point plan to administer 100 million COVID-19 vaccinations in the first months of his presidency.

Why it matters: With the Center for Disease Control and Prevention warning of a more contagious variant of the coronavirus, Biden is trying to establish how he’ll approach the pandemic differently than President Trump.

A new Washington

Photo: Stefani Reynolds/Getty Image

D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser said Friday that the city should expect a "new normal" for security — even after President-elect Biden's inauguration.

The state of play: Inaugurations are usually a point of celebration in D.C., but over 20,000 troops are now patrolling Washington streets in an unprecedented preparation for Biden's swearing-in on Jan. 20.