Trump Signs “Buy American, Hire American” Executive Order

On Tuesday, April 18, 2017, President Trump signed a new Executive Order that will likely impact the H-1B process in the coming months and years. The language of the Order instructs the Secretary of Homeland Security, Secretary of State, Secretary of Labor and the Attorney General to propose new rules and guidance in regards to the H-1B program to:  

  1. Protect the interests of U.S. workers and 
  2. Suggest reforms to ensure that H-1Bs are awarded to individuals who are the most skilled or highest paid. 

What does this mean for our clients? For now, there will not be an immediate impact. There was no specific time frame put on these proposed changes, so it is hard to anticipate how quickly the government will move on this. Further, for many U.S. based employers, this could result in an increase in availability of H-1Bs and the elimination of the H-1B lottery. It is not clear what would replace the lottery or how they would deal with demand for H-1Bs that exceeded the congressionally mandated numerical limits on the H-1B program. If reforms are aimed at the large Indian outsourcing businesses it could result in a significant reduction in demand for H-1B visas on an annualized basis. 

From what has been telegraphed by the administration, it seems they’ll be targeting low wage and entry level positions. There will be no immediate impact as any changes will have to go through an administrative rule making process at a minimum, and some changes would likely have to go through Congress. We anticipate that the intent of the Executive Order is really directed at the large IT outsourcing companies that use significant numbers of H-1Bs every year. 

Graham Adair is closely monitoring any new developments, and we will release information as it becomes available. Please reach out to the attorney overseeing your case or Sam Adair for advice on next steps, check back here for further updates and follow us on twitter for real-time updates as they become available.