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Trump Executive Order Calls for Reforms to H-1B Visa Rules

In a recent executive order, US President Donald Trump ordered his cabinet secretaries to suggest reforms to the H-1B visa program to help ensure that “H-1B visas are awarded to the most-skilled or highest-paid petition beneficiaries.” While the executive order does not include any specific reform proposals for the H-1B program, remarks by an administration official suggest that reform efforts will focus on preventing foreign workers from undercutting American labor at less cost, which the official characterized as “abuse” of the system.

As we noted in a recent post, US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced on April 7 that it had reached the congressionally mandated 65,000 visa H-1B cap for fiscal year 2018 (FY 2018), and had also received a sufficient number of H-1B petitions to meet the 20,000 visa cap for the US advanced degree exemption. The total number of FY 2018 petitions the agency had received was 199,000, a significant reduction from previous years. This year, as in past years, USCIS used a computer-generated random selection process, or lottery, to select enough petitions for processing to meet the visa caps.

Immigration-related developments under the Trump administration will bring challenges to technology industry employers, but could bring new opportunities as well.

Copyright © 2017 by Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP. All Rights Reserved.


About this Author

Peter M. Watt-Morse, Business and Technology Transactions Attorney, Morgan Lewis Law Firm

Peter M. Watt-Morse, a partner in Morgan Lewis's Business and Finance Practice and one of the founding partners of the firm’s Pittsburgh office, has worked on all forms of business and technology transactions for over twenty years. Mr. Watt-Morse is a member of the firm’s Global Outsourcing, Technology, and Commercial Transactions Practice and chairman of its Technology Steering Committee.

Glen W. Rectenwald, Business & Finance Attorney, Morgan Lewis Law Firm

Glen W. Rectenwald is an associate in Morgan Lewis's Business and Finance Practice. The lawyers in our Business and Finance Practice focus on mergers and acquisitions (including joint ventures, spin-offs, and strategic alliances), finance and restructuring, securities (including public and private equity and debt offerings), and tax. Clients range from Fortune 500 companies to investment banks to emerging market companies.

Mr. Rectenwald earned his J.D. from the Duke University School of Law in 2012, where he served as online editor for the Duke Journal of Comparative and International Law and received an award for Outstanding Achievement in Commercial Transactions and Bankruptcy Law. He earned his Master of Theological Studies (M.T.S.) from Harvard Divinity School in 2009 and his B.A., magna cum laude, from Baldwin-Wallace College in 2007.

Mr. Rectenwald is admitted to practice in Pennsylvania.