Most of Silicon Valley rely on the H-1B program to find skilled foreign workers to fill their vacancies. It has been a great source of quality talent for skills that can be challenging to find, like software developers and engineers. But the current administration, led by President Donald Trump, have begun taking a different stance on the program, looking to make sure that employers aren’t favoring H-1B visa holders over qualified US workers.
The H-1B program was designed to help companies grow and succeed when suitable American workers weren’t available. However, not every company has used the program in that matter, leading to concerns that businesses are being discriminatory in their hiring and may be favoring foreign workers who have the necessary skills but are willing to work for lower wages.
Part of this shift in policy involves the Department of Homeland Security scrutinizing the program. And the immigration enforcers are poised to increase the use of site visits to evaluate how companies are hiring.
But what do these changes truly mean to Silicon Valley employers? Here’s what you need to know.
Defining Required Job Skills
The new policies put in place will require companies to clearly demonstrate a need to look outside of the US for candidates, especially for computer programming positions. This involves showing that specialized skills are needed for the jobs and that they are somewhat unattainable when examining available job seekers from the US.
Companies will need to carefully examine how they define must-have skills and whether they are available within the current pool of candidates before looking for H-1B job seekers for potential employment.
Individuals are now being encouraged to file H-1B abuse complaints, with specific information regarding how to use the process being released by both the Department of Justice and the Department of Labor. This step may impact a US workers likelihood of stepping forward if they believe they were inappropriately displaced by an H-1B employee. This could increase the level of scrutiny some companies will experience, especially if a complaint is filed against them.
While a complaint isn’t a guarantee anything was done incorrectly according to the law, it does mean a great level of involvement from the government agencies tasked with investigating such complaints.
The Bottom Line
While many companies with H-1B employees have little to fear, as they are using the program in the manner it was intended, any company with foreign workers obtained through the program may be subject to increased scrutiny. It is important to prepare accordingly and to make sure that all hiring through the H-1B program follows the letter of the law.
It is also critical to look for local talent when filling technology positions. If you are interested in finding top talent in the Silicon Valley area, The Armada Group has the industry expertise you need to select ideal candidates. Contact us to discuss your hiring needs and see how our services can work for you.