Making its announcement via one of its infamous Friday night news dumps, the Biden administration just revealed plans to broaden the H-1B visa program, potentially pulling well-paying white-collar jobs away from the very citizens who are most in need of them, as Breitbart reports.
The program has long faced claims that Big Tech firms take advantage of the program's terms to undercut Americans by getting away with paying lower wages or imposing onerous job requirements on the visa holders.
As Fox Business explains, the proposed rulemaking announced on Friday is purportedly designed to streamline eligibility criteria for the visa, offer enhanced flexibility both employers and employees, and fight fraud and abuse within the program.
The H-1B program permits temporary employment of foreign nationals in certain categories of specialized occupations.
However, most participants work within the tech industries and hail from India and China, with firms such as Amazon, IBM, Google, and Microsoft among the most prolific corporate petitioners.
The rule proposed by the administration is meant to clarify that educational requirements for the visa may be fulfilled with “a range of degrees,” but that there needs to be a close correlation to the field in which the applicant will work.
It would also facilitate greater flexibility for students hoping to move into H-1B visa status, formalize the government's prerogative to conduct site visits, and more.
A statement issued by Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas said, “DHS continues to develop and implement regulations that increase efficiency and improve processes for employers and workers navigating the immigration system.”
He added that “The Biden-Harris administration's policy is to attract global talent, reduce undue burdens on employers, and prevent fraud and abuse in the immigration system.”
However, a number of prominent Republicans have voiced displeasure with the program, with former Vice President Mike Pence previously seeking a ban on the issuance of such visas to Chinese nationals working in tech companies.
GOP presidential candidate Vivek Ramaswamy has opined that the program requires a full overhaul in which the lottery system would be dropped in favor of a process based in meritocracy.
Jessica Vaughan of the Center for Immigration Studies put things rather more bluntly, saying, “This rule stretches definitions to get around numerical limits and dumbs down the eligibility criteria. The program is already a scam, and this rule will make matters worse.”