The H1-B Visa’s purpose is to allow smart people with specialized skills to come to the USA. Unfortunately the program has been abused to allow people with ordinary, common skills to be brought into the country at market-skewing low wages.
The Trump administration announced today that computer programmers would not get automatic entry into H1-B program, possibly curbing those abuses.
The US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) policy does not bar firms from hiring computer programmers under H1-B Visas. However it simply says that computer programmers are not, as a rule, a position exotic and specialized enough to gain automatic entry into the program.
The H1-B program is meant for unusual skills. It’s meant to bring in high-powered models like Melania Trump, along with expert scientists and engineers, into the country to use talents that are hard to find.
Back in 1990 – when the program was founded – the ability to program a computer fell into that category. It was an unusual talent. But thanks to the Internet boom, countless Americans have gone to school and learned how to program, such that we have plenty of homegrown talent. Even President Obama suggested that all Americans should learn how to code.
This is why the Trump administration ruling makes sense. Just being a programmer is not specialized enough to qualify for H1-B anymore. You have to be a programmer in something specialized now. This will stop Silicon Valley firms from importing cheap Indian programmers to do jobs that could be filled easily with home-grown talent, assuming the salaries were raised to a sufficient level.
And that’s why you’re going to see a fit raised: H1-B has been subsidizing people, and now government is taking the binky away.