By Julia Edwards Ainsley
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. Department of Homeland Security on Monday announced measures to prevent the fraudulent use of H1B visas, used by employers to temporarily bring in skilled foreign workers, which appeared to fall short of campaign promises. of President Donald Trump to reform the program. .
A White House official said Trump could still do more on the show.
Trump had promised to end the lottery system for H1B visas, giving every applicant an equal chance to land 65,000 seats each year.
Lobbyists for companies that rely on H1B visas, commonly used by the tech sector, hoped Trump would flip the lottery in favor of a system that prioritizes highly-skilled workers who would receive high pay in the United States.
The lottery for fiscal year 2018 opened Monday without changes.
Those who looked at the issue saw the start of the lottery as the unofficial deadline for the Trump administration to enact H1B visa reform, and failure to meet that deadline indicates that Trump’s promised reform of the system may be out of the question table or delayed.
“More oversight is a good start, but employers can still use the program legally to cut wages and replace American workers. That does not deliver on the promises President Trump made to protect American workers,” said Peter Robbio , a spokesperson for Numbers USA, a Washington-based group that advocates limiting immigration to the United States.
The Trump administration has taken other steps to crack down on H1B visa abuse, such as issuing a Justice Department warning to employers and announcing plans to increase transparency for applicants.
“These are the first important steps to bring more accountability and transparency to the H1B system,” said a White House official. “The administration is considering several additional options for the president to use his existing authority to ensure that federal agencies more rigorously enforce all aspects of the program.”
Tech companies rely on the program to bring in workers with special skills and have pushed for the number of H1B visas granted to be expanded.
Proponents of limiting legal immigration, including Trump’s senior adviser Stephen Miller, have argued that the program provides jobs that Americans could fill to foreign workers at less costly cost.
The measures announced by DHS on Monday focus on visits by US authorities to employers using H1B visas.
On future visits to the site, US Citizenship and Immigration Services agents will investigate incidents where an employer’s basic business information cannot be validated; companies that have a high proportion of H1B employees compared to US workers; and employers requesting H1B workers to work off-site.
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