The US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), sometime in mid-April, celebrated the two-year anniversary of the “Buy American, Hire American” executive order, signed by President Donald Trump. The executive order introduced stricter rules for the H-1B visa program which is seen as having the best interest of US citizens.
The stricter rules has a disadvantage for Americans
But as it is, this celebration has underlying bad news. The USCIS released a press release on April 18, and a more careful perusal of the section, “Policies and Regulations Protecting US Workers,” will reveal that having fewer numbers of the visa issued could result in having a reduced opportunity for local talents to acquire skills.
According to the press release, US workers, citizens, and permanent residents benefit from the H-1B program
in that it funds their job training and enables them to receive low-income scholarships and even grants for those of them in the STEM. These training are organized by the Department Labor (DoL) and the National Science Foundation.
Employers have for the past 20 years, funded the training of US workers and students through the H-1B visa program with funds running over $5 billion. More than 87,000 students have benefitted from this program as revealed by a research conducted by the National Foundation for American Policy (NFAP).
Companies were paying $500 two decades ago when the American Competitiveness and Workforce Improvement Act was introduced in 1998. The Act designated the proceeds of the H-1B program as funding for the training of American workers.
The H-1B fee, today is even higher: $1,500 per worker for firms applying for 26 workers or more and $750 per worker for those applying for 25 full-time staff or less.
30 percent of the total funds go to the NSF for the funding of scholarships of $10,000 or less. K-22 educational reforms get about 10 — 15 percent of the funds while the rest goes to the DoL.
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