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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)

Countable

Written by Countable

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(15)
  • Truly
    01/18/2018
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    Get ready to move the decimal one space to the right on all your prices. As usual, trump shows why a “great businessman” has declared bankruptcy 6 times and refuses to release his taxes. He has as much business sense as the republicans have conscience: absolute zero.

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  • Thelma
    01/19/2018
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    To disallow immigrants from these countries smacks of racism. That is not the kind of country America should aspire to become. Furthermore, to disallow spouses and families of H-1b recipients would be a disincentive for highly skilled people to come here and work. I work with many such recipients. They make our country great in many ways, first and foremost by exposing us to other wonderful cultures. This ridiculous backtrack of policy, in my view, is designed only to eliminate evidence of our previous Commander in Chief, Barack Obama.

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  • Chickie
    01/19/2018
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    Haitians “no longer in U. S. interest”? #45’s obvious continued dislike of people of different color and poor is almost making his racist remarks the new normal. We simply cannot allow it to be so! As Senator Booker said to U.S. Homeland Security Head, silence is complicity! Migrant workers are hard workers who earn pennies in comparison to the American worker. Their children give up their education to assist in the family income and the U.S. continues to be okay with their work situations. When will the U.S. stop taking advantage of their desperation? Does #45 believe “hard working” Norwegians would do the work of the migrant worker? Sure....

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  • S
    01/19/2018
    ···

    If there were enough highly skilled US employees to fill these tech jobs it would be occurring now, but there aren’t enough. The tech industry is growing very fast and tech workers go onto new companies or begin their own, Replacements need to pass drug tests and require advanced education and skills in math, engineering, programming, science, etc. Trump admin doesn’t believe in science so it is not a national priority which includes education. American education has been far behind Asian countries and roll back of regs is making it more difficult to obtain one. Believing there are enough American workers to fill advanced degree jobs is false. Further, Asian countries are coming into their own with technology and people don’t necessarily have to come here to find work. There aren’t sufficient doctors in rural areas. Immigrant physicians are needed. AI , automotive and robotic advances require advanced degrees. Denying admission to a spouse is a huge disincentive to attract people who are necessary to the progress of this country. Being away from family creates a morale issue and if recruitment of the employee is successful retaining him/her may not be. American companies can go overseas to obtain employees and set up work places there. An employee no longer has to be physically present in an employer’s location. There are work arounds but they negatively effect this country which is another example of this admin’s short sightedness.

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  • Dara
    01/19/2018
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    I am so incensed that trump in all of his stupidity continues to blame immigrants for American job losses. Let’s start with the national chamber of commerce and move on to corporate America that wants cheap labor. These immigrants are hard working people. Shame on ALL employers and their cheap practices. trump and many of his cabinet secretaries are also a part of this deplorable practice.

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  • Leon
    01/19/2018
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    We need merit based immigration.

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  • Jackie
    01/20/2018
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    How sad to see American s. ALL of whom were once immigrants, now talk about a desperate people like they were sub human. And most of theses hate monger think of themselves as Christians. What hypocrites.

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  • James
    01/18/2018
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    I can’t see Samoa being in there as American Samoa is a U.S Territory! Are you sure you got that right as I served with a lot of Samoans in our armed forces! Better re check your list Countable! Anyway. Traditionally in California there were guest migrant workers/ puckers working the produce fields at certain times of the year as in many states they would come up for the harvest and head back after harvest was over! This is a new one on me as to why we have Haitians working for high tech companies as gear workers or seasonal workers! What functions do they perform that our own high school kids or college interns can’t perform themselves?

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  • Donna
    01/19/2018
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    This policy change, like so many put forth by this administration lately, is nothing more than complete discrimination. The changes proposed for the H-2A and H-2B visa programs are unfortunately predictable given the racist views of DJT and his minions. Haiti and its people have supported this nation including helping it fight for independence from England. These allies are now being repaid by cruelty and indifference simply because they happen to be non-white Europeans. That is disgusting and against values this country has always held sacred, at least until the rise of DJT. The proposal for H-1B visa holders is just plain stupid and obviously an attack on those corporations and industries which have been the biggest critics of the administration. If this petty, ignorant, racist president thinks he can grow this economy without increasing the number of immigrants granted these visas, he is delusional, especially in light of the ridiculous policies put forth by the Secretary of Education. You cannot destroy the education system in this nation and expect there to be an abundance of highly-trained, highly-skilled workers to fill the jobs of the future. COAL IS NOT COMING BACK. MANUFACTURING IS MOVING TOWARD AUTOMATION. DJT IS DELUSIONAL AND, WITH THE HELP OF HIS MINIONS, IS WORKING HARD TO DESTROY THIS COUNTRY. The man is not a successful businessman - just count the bankruptcies and the scams. He is a self-promoting, lying con artist with only one goal in mind - use his new-found position to HIS best advantage. Nothing else matters.

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  • Timothy
    01/25/2018
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    Immigration absolutely must be merit based. We cannot afford to keep supporting poorly-educated, low- or no-skilled persons. Unfortunately Haiti is full of such people, and we’ve spent billions of taxpayer money in an effort to improve their situation with abysmal results. Time to cut our losses. Keep them out. And just an FYI: Haiti really is a shithole.

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  • Bluewitsend
    01/20/2018
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    Why do you continue to find ways to torment people just trying to survive.

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  • Bernadine
    01/19/2018
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    hillary stood in the way of Haiti raising their minimum wage from 32 cents to 63 cents an hour. Now trump calls them a s**t hole country. Does our country respect anyone? I would sooner want Visa workers kept out. Why should very prosperous companies like Google, Corporate Hospitals and Apple bring in Visa workers who will work for less only to discourage our best students from bettering them selves. Seasonal work should be offered to Americans first but we should continue to permit Mexicans etc to fill the need and housing inspected by the health department should be provided for all.

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  • Sheryl
    01/19/2018
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    The Haitians and other temp immigrants have a high rate of overstaying their work visas. If highly skilled immigrants come to work (which I don’t agree with) then why do we owe the less-skilled spouse a job too? If we put the unemployed Americans to work we won’t need to import workers. They just drive down wages anyway.

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  • streamstreaker
    01/19/2018
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    Well, who will then work at all the Trump properties? Guess Ding-Dong Donnie didn’t think of that while Steve Miller was whispering that racist policy in his ear while John Kelly watched with quiet accepting amusement.

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  • APavlovska
    01/19/2018
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    Im proposing Join Worker Visa act , that will insure the spouses of the workers with the temporal health benefits for the duration of the contract by the hiring company. Spouses can stay in USA and their children during the duration of the contract

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