Even though the Trump administration punted on major H-1B visa reform, it's taken a number of steps this week to show it is rooting out fraud and abuse of the program that allows U.S. companies to hire foreign high-skilled workers, and possibly cracking down on some kinds of applicants.
Specifically, the move to restrict eligibility for jobs in the "computer programmer" job category — the third-largest classification of workers on employers' H-1B filings — will shake up IT consulting companies' ability to hire lower-level computer professionals typically used to staff corporate IT departments. But it is mostly good news for Silicon Valley tech giants.
What it means: The guidance released just before this year's H-1B filing period got underway suggested companies wanting to sponsor H-1B workers as computer programmers would be subject to more scrutiny, especially if those jobs are promised low wages. It was a relatively small step, one the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services insists is simply reiterating an existing policy. But it sends the message, according to immigration attorneys, that application reviewers can — and should — weed out visa applications for jobs that are lower-level, lower-paying and do not meet the education bar of the specialized technical jobs H-1B visas are meant for.