H-1B Filing Season Opens to Uncertainty, Trump Threats

Glen D. Wasserstein, Managing Partner of ILG, specializes in immigration law, focusing on E-2 Investor Visas, L-1 visas, H-1B visas, and federal litigation. With a background in international relations, he founded ILG in 1996 and has addressed human trafficking at the United Nations Convention on Crime.

Table of Contents

Monday, April 3 marked the first day of the 2018 H-1B filing season. The H-1B visa is the most popular work visa for highly skilled workers. 85,000 visas are issued each year, with 20,000 of those reserved for graduates of US Masters programs.

As with years past, this year we expect the H-1B program to be greatly oversubscribed. Last year, 236,000 applications were received in the first week of filing, before DHS halted accepting applications and conducted a random lottery system.

During the campaign, President Trump vowed to crack down on H-1B visa abuse. He has repeatedly promised to reform the H-1B visa category to ensure that employers favor US workers.

On Friday, March 31, USCIS issued a memorandum that rescinded previous Obama administration guidance on H-1B visas and promised more rigorous scrutiny to applications and employers. The memo called into question the H-1B eligibility of many lower level computer programmers, and threatened increased scrutiny of H-1B dependent employers and outsourcing firms.

Then, on Monday, April 3, the Department of Justice warned that it would aggressively investigate companies that favor foreign H-1B workers over American workers.

These are very uncertain times for immigration policy and law. ILG is closely monitoring any developments.