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Latest Trump Executive Order and H-1B Visas

April 2017

On April 18, 2017, President Trump signed an executive order titled "Buy American Hire American", laying out provisions and policies to review the H-1B visa program as well as a review of federal procurement and grant programs.

The order stipulates that the following action be taken with respect to the H-1B program:

1) The Secretaries of State, Labor and Homeland Security as well as the Attorney General, as soon as practicable, and consistent with applicable law, propose new rules and issue new guidance to protect the interests of U.S. workers in the administration of the immigration system.

2) To promote the proper functioning of the H-1B program, the Secretaries of State, Labor and Homeland Security as well as the Attorney General, as soon as practicable, suggest reforms to help ensure that H-1B visas are awarded to the most-skilled or highest-paid petition beneficiaries.

The order also stipulates that the executive branch rigorously enforce and administer the laws governing entry of foreign workers, including section 212(a)(5) of the Immigration and Nationality Act. This section of the INA focuses on Labor Certification process, specifically the provisions to ensure U.S. workers are not displaced by foreign workers and that the hiring of foreign workers does not adversely affect the wages and working conditions of U.S. workers.

While it does not detail any specific changes to the H-1B, this latest executive order is in line with the immigration priorities of the Trump administration. In late January, a draft executive order was circulated, outlining proposed action in regards to employment-based immigration. While this order was never signed, it included assessment and review of the H-1B and L-1 visa programs.

It is important to note that the President cannot change the existing immigration laws found in the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) without Congressional action, however several bills have recently been introduced in Congress proposing changes to the H-1B program.

If you have any questions on recent policies, procedures and regulations, please contact an MVA Immigration Team Member.