An industry group Compete America, whose members include many of Silicon Valley’s largest technology firms said that President Donald Trump’s crackdown on the controversial H-1B visa is wreaking havoc on U.S. employers. In a letter to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) and the Homeland Security Department (DHS), Compete America stated that Citizenship and Immigration’s approach to deciding who gets an H-1B was leaving employers with a disruptive lack of clarity about the agency’s practices, policies, and procedures.
The group said that their members reporting a dramatic increase over the past 18 months in the number of H-1B applications denied or held up by demands for more information, and a sharp increase in notices of intent to deny or revoke H-1B visas. The H-1B visa aimed for requiring specialized knowledge and a bachelor’s or higher degree, has become a flashpoint in America’s immigration debate, as well as tech firms pushing for an expansion of the annual 85,000 caps on new visas, and critics charging that U.S. firms use it to supersede American workers with cheaper, foreign labor.
Compete America that represents companies including Facebook, Google, Hewlett-Packard Enterprise, Cisco, Oracle, Amazon, Microsoft, Salesforce, Walmart, and IBM along with outsourcing and consulting firms Accenture and Deloitte, recommended in its Nov. 1 letter that federal authorities were denying and obstructing H-1B applications for inappropriate reasons.
Compete America also pushed back against what it said were denials by USCIS based on the idea that H-1Bs should be used only for jobs requiring a bachelor’s degree or higher. Such a degree should not always be essential for granting an H-1B. The group wants USCIS and DHS to assess current H-1B adjudications and practices, and provide any required clarification internally or with the regulated community.