Trump moves toward signing Executive Order on high-skilled workers, students

31 Jan 17

UNITED STATES

President Donald Trump is expected to sign an Executive Order on high-skilled workers and foreign students in a matter of days.

Unlike the Executive Order signed Friday that imposed an immediate travel ban on nationals from seven countries of concern, this order will not immediately suspend or terminate any individual’s work authorization or visa status. Instead, it is expected that the order will put in motion changes to the work and student visa categories that will unfold over the weeks and months ahead.

The text of the final order is not yet available, but after reviewing a draft version and through conversations with government officials, BAL expects that the order will direct the relevant government agencies to:

  • Review all regulations that allow foreign nationals to work in the United States.
  • Assess the process for H-1B via allocation to ensure that the beneficiaries are the “best and the brightest,” which could mean prioritizing applications for those with higher wages or more education. The order does not propose any changes to this year’s lottery process.
  • Change the Visa Bulletin in a way that could lead to the return of a single Visa Bulletin model and a retrogression of priority dates.
  • Expand L-1 site visits within 180 days to include all places where L-1 visa holders work, including third-party worksites.
  • Plan to further expand the site-visit program to cover all visa categories within two years.
  • Investigate the extent to which American workers have been harmed by the employment of foreign workers or by the recipient of services performed by foreign workers.
  • Incentivize the increased use of the E-Verify program.
  • Clarify permissible activities on a B-1/B-2 short-term business visa.

BAL Analysis: For additional information on each of these proposals and their impact, please read a two-page analysis BAL has prepared on the Executive Order. The final text of any Executive Order will not be made available until after the president signs it. The information above is advisory in nature and will be updated once BAL reviews the final version.

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