One of the cornerstones of the new president’s immigration policy, going back to the campaign trail, is to regulate the country’s H1B visa program more effectively, ostensibly to weed out those who abuse the system. However, the proverbial jury remains out as to the most effective way to do this, or even as to whether such reforms are truly necessary. Either way, those who hold H1B visas or seek to obtain them in the next fiscal year should be aware of the potential changes to the program.
Current Program Regulations
For the last few decades, at least, the H1B program has been used to allow U.S. employers to hire foreign workers, seemingly to fill gaps in their workforce that cannot be filled by U.S. citizens. The requirements are fairly simple, but important to prove. They are: (1) that one has a bachelor’s degree or equivalent, in a field related to the one he or she intends to work in; (2) that one will be earning a wage (as opposed to volunteering or being paid in another manner); and (3) and that he or she will be engaged in a “specialty occupation.”