You might not know what an H-1B visa is but, you are affected by it in many different ways. The H-1B visa is a government program that allows immigrants to enter the United States to work “temporarily.”
Earlier this year, President Trump announced a plan to stop the processing of H-1B visas, which could disrupt the plans of thousands of immigrant workers that serve in industries ranging from healthcare to technology.
One of the industries that take “advantage” of this program is the hospitality industry. This would include hotel chains, like Trump Hotels, Disney, Cruise Ships and many more hospitality companies. People under the H-1B visas in the hospitality industry are those men and women who change the sheets, wash the laundry, clean the bathrooms and prepare meals for a hotel, cruise, or other hospitality business.
Meanwhile, the healthcare industry also utilizes this program to cut costs. In fact, this program is also one of the most popular programs for Islands in the Caribbean Sea to find jobs for their people here in the United States. For example, some rural areas in America rely on immigrant medical professionals, according to a report by CNN Money. The H-1B visas allow Doctors to remain in the United States after their J-1 visas expire. J-1 visas permitted them to complete a residency program here. Moreover, the American Association of Medical Colleges reported that about 6000 medical trainees from foreign countries are in the United States. In the last 15 years, approximately 15,000 foreign doctors came here to serve underserved communities in America by using the H-1B program.
This year alone the United States will give out approximately 85,000 H-1B visas. They are currently offered by a lottery system and can take six months or longer just for the application to be reviewed.
It is planned that on April 3rd, 2017, President Trump will stop accepting premium payments of $1,225, which has in the past expedited the visa process to 15 days.
Also, Trump has accused companies of abusing the H-1B program as a way to hire foreign workers resulting in the loss of American jobs.
The slowing down of the process will allow officials to sort through the backlog of applications. One suggestion is to reform the programs in such a way that visas not be awarded by lottery but, by merit. At this point, we can only assume that means some government agency will pick the best of the best and base that on what we believe we need more of to best serve the United States. The STEM (science, technology, science, and engineering) program comes to mind.