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Admin Revising Visa Rules For Immigrant Workers & Their Spouses

by Countable | 1.18.18

What’s the story?

The Trump administration has visa rules changes in the works for multiple classes of immigrant workers, potentially affecting the economy on many levels.

On Thursday rule changes are expected to be published to the federal register excluding Haitians from access to the H-2A and H-2B visa programs, which allow temporary, seasonal workers to enter the country, primarily to work in agriculture and the tourism industry. The change will also exclude workers from Belize and Samoa, and add workers from Mongolia, reports the Wall Street Journal.

The exclusion of Haiti was said to be "no longer in the U.S. interest." The move follows the removal of tens of thousands of Haitian immigrants from the rolls of the TPS program and alleged comments by President Trump referring to Haiti, as well as El Salvador and unspecified African countries, as “sh*tholes”.

Reuters reports that the administration published intent in December to also undo Obama-era rules allowing for the spouses of H1-B visa holders to work legally in the U.S.

The H1-B visa program allows employers to hire workers in specialized industries. The program is used widely by the tech industry, and leaders in the industry, including Apple, Google, Amazon and Microsoft, have called on the administration to leave the rules in place. They argue that eliminating spousal rights to work disincentivizes highly skilled workers from choosing the U.S. for employment.

In a letter from the Information Technology Industry Council the companies stated that supporting the right to work for H1-B visa recipients and their spouses promotes immigration based on skills and merit, an expressed policy priority of the administration.

Administration officials maintain that the rule consideration in this case is in process, but that their goal is to support rules that "protect the interest of U.S. workers".

What do you think?

Do you support these changes to these visa rules for immigrant workers and their spouses? Do you support one but not the other? Do you think U.S. workers will step up to fill the jobs left open by these changes, or are the majority of Americans either unqualified or unwilling?

Tell us in the comments what you think, then use the Take Action button to tell your reps!

— Asha Sanaker

(Photo Credit: USDA via Flickr / Creative Commons)

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