Posted on March 20, 2020

DHS to Accelerate Award of H-1B Visas Amid Disease Shutdown

Neil Munro, Breitbart, March 19, 2020

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is trying to accelerate the delivery of H-1B foreign workers to U.S. and Indian companies — despite the crashing economy and abundant evidence that many American graduates are facing discrimination and exclusion from software jobs.

The acceleration was announced March 16 when DHS’s immigration services agency announced it would limit the use of “premium processing” to “help us to reduce overall H-1B processing times.”

Under premium processing, companies can pay a premium to jump the line for roughly 100,000 H-1B work visas each year. But the line-jumping slows the routine award of H-1B visas to the corporate managers who prefer to hire blocs of compliant foreign workers instead of interviewing innovative American professionals and graduates.

Each April, 85,000 H-1B visas are awarded to U.S. companies via a rushed application and lottery process by DHS’s U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) agency. Another “cap-exempt” 15,000 H-1Bs are awarded throughout the year to non-profit employers at universities, research laboratories, and hospitals. The cap-exempt employers are allowed to hire as many H-1Bs as they wish.

The current head of DHS, Chad Wolf, formerly served as a lobbyist for the Indian-based outsourcing industry. {snip}

Breitbart News asked DHS if the agency is considering curbs on the 2020 award of H-1B visas. “No changes at this time,” a spokesman responded March 19.

Meanwhile, business groups are trying to expand the H-1B program. For example, activists are citing the coronavirus disease as an excuse for Congress to allow investors to hire an unlimited number of foreign graduates for jobs in the healthcare sector.


In February 2020, a U.S. judge struck down the token curbs set by USCIS managers since Trump’s election.

Immigration reformers are calling for the cancellation of the 2020 H-1B awards amid the economic crash. “Why should Indians be favored over Americans who can’t pay their rent?” asked Mark Krikorian, director of the Center for Immigration Studies. “It is ridiculous.”


USCIS’s statement said:

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services today announced the temporary suspension of premium processing service for fiscal year (FY) 2021 cap-subject H-1B petitions.

As USCIS has done in the past, premium processing will resume in a two-phased approach during the FY 2021 cap season so that USCIS can best manage premium processing requests. The first phase will include FY 2021 cap-subject H-1B petitions, including those eligible for the advanced degree exemption, requesting a change of status from F-1 nonimmigrant status. The second phase will include all other FY 2021 cap-subject petitions.

H-1B workers are allowed to stay for six years or longer when the employers nominate the foreign employees for green cards, regardless of the number of Americans who apply for the jobs.

This multi-year process keeps roughly 750,000 H-1B employees in the United States, many of them in technology jobs that are sought by American graduates.

The H-1B program provides the bulk of foreign visa workers in the United States. But additional visa programs help to keep roughly 1.5 million white-collar visa workers in jobs needed by U.S. graduates, mostly in software jobs along the two coasts.

Most of the visa workers are from India, partly because many Indian-born managers in U.S. companies prefer to hire fellow Indian nationals instead of young American graduates, according to many American professionals. The discriminatory preference has sparked some private lawsuits amid years of inaction by federal agencies.

The huge number of foreign visa workers in U.S. jobs is helping to minimize salary gains by Americans professionals. The resident foreign population also pushes mid-career Americans out of jobs, fuels discrimination lawsuits, and curbs innovation at the major U.S. companies who are now falling behind Chinese rivals.