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Trump's ban becomes an H-1B fight

Patrick Thibodeau, Sharon Machlis | Feb. 7, 2017
It's not the number of H-1B visa holders from banned countries that is driving this challenge

Trump appears interested in changing the system to something that distributes these visas to the "best and brightest." How he would do that is not clear. He could broadly change the system to give preference to "non-dependent" firms, which are companies that have less than 15 percent of their employees on H-1B visas. This would be a disadvantage to large offshore outsourcing companies, especially in India, which rely heavily on visa workers.

Trump may also try distributing H-1B visas on the basis of salary, skills and other criteria.

Rosanna Berardi, an immigration attorney in Buffalo, New York, whose clients include Canadians, said that Trump's H-1B proposal may make it easier for people from Canada to get a visa. Right now, because of the lottery, her clients have less than a 35 percent chance of obtaining a visa.

Many of the H-1B visas are taken by large IT offshore outsourcing firms, which cuts down on the number of visas available to companies that use far fewer, Berardi said.

"If President Trump removes the lottery system, it would provide all foreign nationals, including Canadian citizens, a better opportunity to obtain H-1B status," Berardi said.


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