On the heels of this administration’s heightened immigration enforcement through the inconsistent application of “prosecutorial discretion”, USCIS’ increased reliance upon unannounced H-1B audits and ICE’s I-9 audit money making machine, now comes President Obama’s recent online forum pronouncement that “the H-1B [program] should be reserved only for those companies who say they cannot find somebody in that particular field."
Is this truly the belief of our President or perhaps just a misguided attempt to placate the unemployed U.S. workforce?
To be sure, even a recently reduced 8.3% unemployment rate in the U.S. is unacceptable and must improve before the economy will respond accordingly. With that unfortunate reality, comprehensive immigration reform to address, among other things, job creation and expansion appears to be unattainable any time soon. But to completely undermine one of the few work visa categories available that can attract highly skilled foreign nationals to the U.S., is nothing but shortsighted.
For the time being, the question posed will remain unanswered as, apart from President Obama’s seemingly off-the-cuff pronouncement above, to date, the President has not offered any specifics about what changes he would like to see in the H-1B program. Perhaps we should refrain from reading too much into such ill-advised remarks as it is, of course, campaign season whether we like it or not. For example, we have yet to hear the President’s thoughts on the arbitrary cap set by Congress which currently has left U.S. employers without the option of hiring new H-1B workers for more than 8 months to come.
Perhaps most troubling is that the President’s latest pronouncement may underscore his lack of vision for true immigration reform—reform that would provide workable solutions that, when applied together, would fix the totality of our broken, outdated, and inadequate immigration system. A fix that would exponentially increase the U.S. Gross Domestic Product, increase wages for all workers, and grow the American economy for all.
Obama: Friend or foe to the H-1B program? The jury will most likely remain out for awhile.
Post Authored By: Anthony F. Siliato, Esq. and Scott R. Malyk, Esq. of Meyner and Landis LLP
Anthony F. Siliato the founder of Meyner and Landis LLP’s Immigration Law Group, has been practicing Immigration Law for more than 25 years. He is chiefly responsible for the firm's business and corporate-related immigration matters which involve the recruitment, hiring, transfer and retention of international personnel worldwide. A past chair of the New Jersey Chapter of the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA), Mr. Siliato remains an active member of AILA, serving as a mentor and frequent speaker on employment-related immigration matters. Mr. Siliato currently serves as a member of the Advisory Board of the International Institute of New Jersey, a non-profit organization whose mission statement is to help immigrants and refugees build full and productive lives in the United States and work to ensure their fair and equitable treatment. He was selected as a Super Lawyer in the area of Immigration Law by New Jersey Monthly Magazine (2008, 2009). You may reach Mr. Siliato at email@example.com.
Scott R. Malyk is an associate with Meyner and Landis LLP’s Immigration Law Group, specializing in all aspects of corporate and business-related immigration law. He works with businesses of all sizes, from Fortune 500 companies to international startups. Mr. Malyk also represents self-petitioning foreign nationals seeking investment opportunities in the U.S., as well as those seeking National Interest Waiver approval. Additionally, Mr. Malyk represents outstanding scientific researchers, medical professionals, attorneys, foreign legal consultants and a variety of others with extraordinary abilities in the sciences, arts, education, business, and athletics, who wish to come to the U.S. to work in their area of expertise. Such efforts include obtaining temporary and permanent visas for artists, fashion models, musicians, chefs, professional athletes and other entertainers. You may reach Mr. Malyk at firstname.lastname@example.org