America has been the land of immigrants, but as of late, an anti-immigrant sentiment has mushroomed in the country. Trump’s rise as the president of the country has been bad news for both legal and illegal immigrants.
While not favored by most liberals, Trump’s reforms would actually create jobs for the unemployed American youth, since the new policies would discourage skilled foreign workers from working in the country. Let us consider these cases for instance:
1] The removal of Master’s degree exemption: Usually, American companies are not allowed to remove any American employee and hire a foreign worker for the same position.
However, there’s an exemption. If the foreign worker has a Master’s degree and the American employee doesn’t, this could be used as a reason for the replacement. Since America is a capitalist country, companies prefer whatever benefits them the most and the Master’s degree was one of the main reasons for preferring foreign workers earlier.
2] Increasing the salary limit for H1B visa from $60,000 to $100,000: Foreign students needed to secure a job which would pay at least $60,000 to apply for an H1B visa. That limit was high considering the fact that the average income of normal salaried employees in the US is much less. However, now the salary threshold to apply for an H1B visa has been increased to $100,000 per annum. Very few employees are offered such a package and those who are offered it are the cream of the talent pool. The relevant bill was named Protect and Grow American Jobs Act.
3] It has been proposed to revoke the work permits of spouses of H1B holders: When in a foreign country, it is obvious that a spouse and children would stay with the principal. In the US, to help with shared expenses, the government allowed work permits to the spouses of H1B holders, popularly known as H4 EAD. Trump’s government is pushing to ban the same. This would mean only one person in the family would be allowed to earn, unless the spouse scores his/her own H1B visa.
4] H1B extensions to be treated with the same scrutiny as fresh Visa applications: Earlier, H1B extensions were easy because the government knew the person was eligible and worth it. However, now the extension requests would be considered the same as fresh applications. Even more, prior to the new legislation, if any application was denied, the applicant was sent an RFE (Request for Evidence). After the changes, the USCIS can reject any application without sending an RFE. As brutal as it sounds, we know there is no reason behind this besides deterring foreign workers from practicing in the US.
5] More approvals of H1B visas applied by American firms in comparison to other firms: Since Trump took office, the number of H1B applications approved for employees of American IT firms like Apple, Microsoft, etc. Has been much higher than similar requests by employees working with the American branches of non-American IT firms like HCL, Cognizant, Infosys, etc. The clear reason behind this shift is that Trump is trying to encourage American firms and sideline non-American firms. He wants the more talented labor to work for American firms.
A large fraction of employees working with the technology sector and other than them, a significant percentage of doctors in the US are Indian. Interestingly, it isn’t Indians but the Chinese who form the largest majority of immigrants in the US.
The rumor around immigration
A rumor haunting the job market is that the conservative government in the US is kicking out legal immigrants from the US, just like it did with illegal immigrants. That isn’t exactly true for no person working in the firm would be asked to leave for home simply because he/she is not an American citizen. However, we would have to agree that the sentiment is anti-immigrant and that matters a lot.
How are companies managing the new plan?
Many employees who were hired by giants like Google have been waiting for their H1B Visa for more than 2 years. The new policies have made the companies insecure about the future of the application process, however, they clearly do not wish to lose these employees they have trained. Thus, the bigger companies are sending their employees to their branches in either Europe or Canada as mitigation for the new changes.
What are the chances of securing a job in the US for foreign immigrants after the changes?
In short, I would answer the question with “it’s not worth it.” Should you be a graduate from a top university having studied a course well in demand (like machine learning), you could get a job in the US at the end of the day. However, the options would be much better in Germany, France, Australia, or Canada with the same degree. Even more, other countries offer better job security.
On the other hand, if the degree is from a mid-level or lesser university, it would be of little use. The minimum salary cap of $100,000 would be hard to secure and the struggle wouldn’t be worth the outcome.
Considering the taxes, high medical expenditure, and other liabilities in the US, it makes quite some sense to check other countries for further education.