H-1b and H-2b visa

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The H-1B is a visa in the United States under the Immigration and Nationality Act, section 101(a)(15)(H) which allows U.S. employers to employ foreign workers in specialty occupations.

The H-2B visa nonimmigrant program permits employers to hire foreign workers to come temporarily to the United States and perform temporary nonagricultural services or labor on a one-time, seasonal, peakload or intermittent basis

-- 2016 --

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November 23:
Donald Trump made clear Monday that he's focused on immigrant visa programs -- and immigration advocates and tech leaders are paying close attention.

In a short video address this week, Trump listed the issue as a priority for his first 100 days in office: He said he will "direct the Department of Labor to investigate all abuses of visa programs that undercut the American worker."

December 26: Trump swears his administration will only 'buy American and hire American'

What he didn't explain in his Instagram vow, however, is why his businesses haven't yet followed those rules that he claims to be so "simple." In the last 15 years, Trump's businesses have hired "at least 1,256 foreign guest workers," CNN reported. Since Trump launched his presidential campaign in 2015, his companies have requested "at least 190 foreign visa workers."

Most recently, it was reported that the Trump Winery vineyard is looking to hire six foreign workers to start just days after Trump is sworn in as president. Trump also reportedly got approval from the U.S. Labor Department in October to hire 64 foreign workers to fill temporary jobs over the winter at his Mar-a-Lago Club in Florida.

-- 2017 --

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January 20: Two powerful US Senators [Chuck Grassley and Dick Durban] have announced they will introduce a legislation which, if passed by the Congress, would give preference to foreigners studying in American universities, a move that will tighten the noose around the H-1B visa programme and could hurt Indian IT firms.

"Congress created these programmes to complement America's high-skilled workforce, not replace it. Unfortunately, some companies are trying to exploit the programmes by cutting American workers for cheaper labour," Grassley said.     

"We need programmes dedicated to putting American workers first. When skilled foreign workers are needed to meet the demands of our labour market, we must also ensure that visa applicants who honed their skills at American colleges and universities are a priority over the importation of more foreign workers," he said.

January 22: As of July, it will be easier for foreign entrepreneurs to build startups in the U.S.  ... That's because the so-called "International Entrepreneurs Rule," will allow immigrants to apply for what's known as "parole status." This status is typically only granted to people who need a visa do humanitarian or medical relief work

January 31: Major Indian tech shares took a nosedive on Tuesday on reports that Trump is planning to make changes to the H-1B visa program that allows skilled foreigners to work in the U.S.

April 18:
Buy American and Hire American: Putting American Workers First

On April 18, 2017, President Trump signed the Buy American and Hire American Executive Order, which seeks to create higher wages and employment rates for U.S. workers and to protect their economic interests by rigorously enforcing and administering our immigration laws. It also directs DHS, in coordination with other agencies, to advance policies to help ensure H-1B visas are awarded to the most-skilled or highest-paid beneficiaries.

USCIS is working on a combination of rulemaking, policy memoranda, and operational changes to implement the Buy American and Hire American Executive Order. We are creating and carrying out these initiatives to protect the economic interests of U.S. workers and prevent fraud and abuse within the immigration system.

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April 18: Trump’s ‘Hire American’ overhaul could damage pro-business agenda

April 20: [Regarding H-1B Visas, Trump said]: " ... it's something that I frankly use [in his own businesses] and I shouldn't be allowed to use it. We shouldn't have it. Very, very bad for workers. And second of all, I think it's very important to say, well, I'm a businessman and I have to do what I have to do."

October 25: Trump tightens H-1B visa rules: What you need to know ... New rules from Trump Administration will make it harder for visa holders to extend their stay in the U.S.

November 5: Trump, who urged people to 'hire American,' secures 70 foreign workers for Mar-a-Lago

December 6: The Trump administration has dramatically stepped up its scrutiny of visa applications for technology workers, forcing some Massachusetts companies and academic institutions to wait months to fill jobs designated for overseas workers.

US Citizenship and Immigration Services is challenging the work credentials of a much higher percentage of applicants this year than in previous periods, requiring more companies to provide documentation to prove the proposed employee both had special skills and will be paid at a fair rate.

December 16: US may stop spouses of H1B visa holders from working ... Trump administration is considering revoking an Obama-era rule that extends work authorisation to the spouses of H1B visa holders, a move that could affect thousands of Indian workers and their families

“DHS is proposing to remove from its regulations certain H4 spouses of H1B nonimmigrants as a class of aliens eligible for employment authorisation,” said the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) in a latest regulation.

According to the notice, the changes is being made in light of President Trump’s ‘Buy American and Hire American’ order issued earlier this year.

... while changing the rule wouldn’t prevent spouses of H-1B holders from pursuing other avenues for work authorisation, it could deter a number of high- skilled immigrants from staying in the US if their spouses can’t easily find work.

-- 2018 --

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February 13: 3 Trump properties posted 144 openings for seasonal jobs. Only one went to a US worker.

“America First” doesn’t seem to apply to the president’s own businesses.

February 23: The Trump administration is cracking down on companies that get visas for foreign workers and farm them out to employers. Some staffing agencies seek hard-to-get H-1B visas for high-skilled workers, only to contract them out to other companies. There's nothing inherently illegal about contracting out visa recipients, but the workers are supposed to maintain a relationship with their employers, among other requirements.

March 2: Plan to end rule that allows spouses of H-1B holders to work is delayed

Under a rule introduced by President Obama's administration in 2015, the spouses of H-1B holders who are waiting for green cards are eligible to work in the U.S. on H-4 dependent visas.

Late last year, the Department of Homeland Security said it intends to do away with the rule. It expected to start the formal process for rescinding it in February.

However, in a court filing this week, the agency stated that United States Citizenship and Immigration Services had determined in January that "significant revisions to the draft proposal were necessary." The revisions, the agency said, required a new economic analysis that took several more weeks to perform.

The update is in response to a legal challenge from a group called Save Jobs USA, which filed a lawsuit in April 2015 arguing the permits threaten American jobs. http://money.cnn.com/2018/03/01/technology/h4-visa-rule-delay/index.html

March 5: How are US companies coping with Trump’s H-1B visa crackdown?

The cost on companies is profound; 26pc of companies are delaying projects, 25pc say they had to increase budgets, 22pc moved work overseas and 14pc say they are unable to fulfil client projects.

Foreign nationals are more anxious and have more questions, which is leading them to delay accepting positions until their applications are approved.

This leaves companies keeping vacant positions open longer and risking not filling the position at all if a foreign national’s visa application is either not approved or called into question.

March 21: Trump administration targets H-1B visas—again ... For the second time in two years, the Donald Trump administration has ruled out expedited approvals for H-1B visas.

On March 20, the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced that it has temporarily halted the premium processing facility for the H-1B visa, which allows applicants to fast-track the visa granting process, from the usual three to six months to 15 days, for an additional fee of $1,225.

The decision comes less than two weeks before USCIS begins accepting applications for fiscal year 2019 (October 2018 to September 2019). The suspension will last until Sept. 10, it said.

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March 21: The wall does not exist yet, but Trump has already erected new barriers for foreign workers

The hurdles in employment-based immigration put in place during Trump’s first year in office have already discouraged foreign workers from seeking jobs in the United States and American companies from recruiting overseas.

The number of petitions for “high-skilled” H-1B visas received by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services has fallen for the first time in five years, from 236,000 for the 2017 fiscal year to 199,000 for 2018, the report said.

April 2: Trump says he wants skilled immigrants but raises new obstacles

The State Department has ended an Obama-era program to grant visas to foreign entrepreneurs who want to start companies in the United States. It is more aggressively scrutinizing visas to skilled workers from other countries. And it is contemplating ending a provision that allows spouses of those skilled workers to be employed in the U.S.

April 6: The government is set to again distribute scarce H-1B visas for high-skilled foreign workers by lottery, without the big changes President Donald Trumppromised to enact a year ago.

April 9: Trump's war on immigration causing Silicon Valley brain drain

Although it is important to close some of the loopholes in the H-1B visa program, these actions could also have unintended consequences. Often lost in the political rhetoric is the fact that immigration is a critical issue for the U.S. economy and our nation's competitive position. The National Foundation for American Policy found that immigrants have started more than half of the country's billion-dollar start-up companies. Some of the more prominent examples include SpaceX and Tesla founder Elon Musk, from South Africa, and Google co-founder Sergey Brin, an immigrant from the former Soviet Union.

May 3: Trump H-1B Visa Restrictions Are Illegal, Tech Companies Allege in Lawsuit Against USCIS

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May 15: Trump-voting crab town left shell-shocked by his visa changes

New restrictions on a program that allowed seasonal foreign workers to enter the U.S. are devastating Hoopers Island, Maryland.

This community voted overwhelmingly for Donald Trump. But now his immigration restrictions are killing its livelihood — legendary crabs that are a mainstay of the local economy and a regional delicacy.

May 16: Who's cheering for the H1B visa reboot on Planet Trump? The H1B worker

The H1B pack is now split into two camps, the ones who’ve already crossed over and those on the other side of the drawbridge.

“Whatever is going on will sort out the supply and demand equation. This is going to make the entry barriers stiffer so there won’t be a flood of workers who’re younger than us and who can put in crazy hours at work and pressure us into doing the same,” says Sai Kumar, an Atlanta based H1B worker.


August 1: The Impact of Trump's H-1B Visa Crackdown in 5 Charts

August 23: Many Indians studying or working in America, are now returning home due to the unstable nature of the H1B policy under Trump.

September 2: Companies Say Trump Is Hurting Business by Limiting Legal Immigration

November 30: The Department of Homeland Security released a proposal Friday that would increase the number of H-1B visa recipients who have master's degrees or higher level degrees and would move the registration process online.

The government has been working to crack down on the H-1B program — a result of President Donald Trump's direction that agencies implement a "Buy American, Hire American" strategy.

The H-1B visa is a work visa that's valid for three years and can be renewed for another three years. Many companies use H-1B visas to help fill their workforces. But tech is the sector most commonly associated with H-1Bs. Tech firms big and small say they need the H-1B program to hire trained talent that they can't find at home.

65,000 H-1B visas are granted annually, with another 20,000 reserved just for people who hold advanced degrees from US higher education institutions. Demand for the visa often exceeds the supply, triggering a lottery system.

December 6: H-1B rule change unveiled: Proposal to benefit advanced degree holders

New online application system planned

-- 2019 --

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-- 2020 --

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