March 2, 2017

White House Not Ready to Announce H1B Visa Reforms


Visa

Washington, DC – The White House on Monday said there were no announcements yet on the reforms aimed at overhauling, among other things, the H-1B work-visa program that technology companies have long relied on to bring top foreign engineering talent to their US-based locations.

At the press gaggle in the White House, Principal Deputy Press Secretary Sarah Sanders said, “I don’t have any announcements on that right now,” when asked about the H1B visa reforms.

White House press secretary Sean Spicer had recently said at his briefing that the upcoming executive order on work visas “is part of a larger immigration effort” and stems from “an overall need to look at all of these measures.”

The new executive order, which is yet to be issued, and which was first reported by Bloomberg, would reform both H-1B visas, which are capped at 65,000 a year and are set aside for so-called “specialty positions,” as well as visas used for temporary agricultural workers, summer student workers and intracompany transfers.

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi Weighs In

Last month Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi urged the US to keep an open mind on admitting skilled Indian workers, in comments that pushed back against Republican President Donald Trump’s “America First” rhetoric on jobs.

“The prime minister referred to the role of skilled Indian talent in enriching the American economy and society,” Modi’s office said in a statement after he met a bipartisan delegation of 26 members of the US Congress. “He urged developing a reflective, balanced and far-sighted perspective on movement of skilled professionals.” the statement added.

Modi’s comments reflected concern that India’s $150 billion IT services industry would suffer if the United States curbs the visas, known as H-1B, it relies on to send its software experts to the United States on project work.