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"The H-1B visa program should help USA companies recruit highly skilled foreign nationals when there is a shortage of qualified workers in the country", the USCIS said in a statement. The Trump administration issued a stern warning to us companies as they began applying for coveted skilled-worker visas Monday, cautioning that it would investigate and prosecute employers that overlook qualified American workers for the jobs.

The US Citizenship and Immigration Services issued a memo to offices that process H-1B applications informing them that computer programmers should not be considered eligible for visas unless they hold a bachelor's degree in that field.

The USCIS has further advised tech companies applying for H-1B visas for their prospective employees to not rely exclusively on the Handbook to meet its burden when seeking to sponsor a beneficiary for a computer programmer position.

The H-1B program has become a politically contested issue, particularly during election cycles, with opponents decrying foreign workers displacing Americans from jobs while proponents say the program is critical for accessing hard-to-find talent. And yes, the Trump Administration did recently tighten up the visa process when it said it would suspend fast-tracking of certain permits sought by overseas workers hoping to come to places like Silicon Valley for tech jobs. Some of the biggest users of these work visas are outsourcing firms, many of them based in India. Monday's USCIS announcement targets those firms, with the agency saying it will focus inspections on workplaces with the largest percentage of H-1B workers, and those with employees who do IT work for other companies. Also, of the 85,000 visas available, 20,000 are reserved for those applicants with advanced degrees.

The ruling reverses the US' more than decades and a half old guidelines, that were issued in the context of addressing the new millennium needs.

The Department of Justice Monday warned employers not to discriminate against USA workers. Several lawmakers have been trying to strike a deal on broad changes created to prevent abuse of the H-1B visa. "Protecting American workers by combating fraud in our employment-based immigration programs is a priority for the USCIS", a statement said.

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Last month, the Trump administration suspended a program that allowed employers to pay for expedited processing of H-1B petitions.

A USCIS memo states an entry level programmer applying for H-1B needs to prove that the position is "specialty occupation".

According to USCIS, "Guidance memo on H-1B computer related positions" is not an accurate articulation of current agency policy.

Every April the application period for H1-Bs opens and a deluge occurs. He said many ask him how President Trump's tough immigration stance might affect their chances.

In light of such assertions, there is very obviously no downside to restoring the H-1B guidelines to their previous form. Since no actions have been taken, the new administration is anticipated to keep these rules through the remainder of 2017."There was a window in which the White House could have made serious reforms". About half of the visas sought a year ago were for computer-related positions, she said.


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