Trump Administration Complicates H1B Visa Extensions

Employment-based visas, or H1B visas, play a vital role in bringing skilled foreign workers to companies across the US. As our members have explained, these employees are instrumental to businesses and their success. But the administration's approach on immigration creates volatility for qualified candidates in both obtaining and keeping employment-based visas. 

Most recently the Trump administration is flying under the radar with its latest policy memorandum released late Monday that will make extending employment visas significantly more difficult. Under current rules, US Citizenship and Immigration Services officers exercise less scrutiny for applicants seeking a visa extension compared to new visa candidates -- if you were a good candidate the first time, your initial merits are considered when extending the visa. But under the new guidelines, officers are instructed to apply the same level of scrutiny to all applications. 

Although the administration often frames foreign workers as attempting to take American jobs, the rapidly growing tech industry requires skilled labor that  businesses often find only in foreign workers. And while it would be great to have a larger talent pool stateside, companies, especially small to midsize ones, shouldn't suffer because they're not finding the right talent at home. 

Alliance members and the thousands of other tech companies across the US are the best judges of the right talent fit for their business. Making it more difficult to secure highly skilled foreign workers and challenging their ability to maintain an H1B visa will ultimately harm, not help, the US tech industry. 

RACHEL EMEIS
US INNOVATORS POLICY COUNCIL