U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) issued guidance late last week making it more difficult for companies to use the H-1B visa program to hire foreign workers to fill “computer related positions.”
“The fact that a person may be employed as a computer programmer and may use information technology skills and knowledge to help an enterprise achieve its goals in the course of his or her job is not sufficient to establish the position as a specialty occupation,” the memo, dated Friday, read.
The memo cited varying educational requirements for different positions in the overall “computer programming occupation” and mandated that applicants “must provide other evidence to establish that the particular position is one in a specialty occupation.”
Former Democratic congressman and immigration lobbyist Bruce Morrison downplayed the memo’s importance, calling it a “routine” statement of policy.
“I think the fact that it was put out when it was put out, it may be part of a PR campaign to make people think that something is being done to change the H-1B situation,” Morrison told TPM. “Which is not the case.”
USCIS released a statement Monday announcing that it will make “targeted site visits” and an email tipline to “further deter and detect H-1B visa fraud and abuse.”
During the 2016 primary, Trump railed against “rampant, widespread H-1B abuse.”
“I will end forever the use of the H-1B as a cheap labor program, and institute an absolute requirement to hire American workers first for every visa and immigration program,” he said in a statement in March 2016. “No exceptions.”
Read the memo:
This post has been updated.