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Business and Policy Areas
Business and Policy Areas

Trump Executive Order Takes Aim at H-1B Visa Program

April 28, 2017

President Donald Trump issued an executive order on April 18 intended to end the "theft of American prosperity"—allegedly the result of low-wage immigrant labor. In addition to directing federal agencies to propose new rules related to protecting the interest of American workers, the order singles out the H-1B visa program for reform, so that H-1B visas are only awarded to individuals who are highly skilled and highly paid.

During his speech, the president stated, "Right now, H-1B visas are awarded in a totally random lottery, and that’s wrong. Instead, they should be given to the most skilled and highest-paid applicants, and they should never, ever be used to replace Americans."

H-1B visas enable a foreign national to work in the U.S. for a temporary period and generally are available to employees in specialty occupations that require a minimum of a bachelor’s degree or equivalent experience. A person may hold H-1B status for a maximum of six years, issued in increments of up to three years.

The order, titled Buy American and Hire American, does not impose any new requirements on employers at this time. NACUBO will continue to monitor this issue and will publish regulatory developments as new information becomes available.


Mary Bachinger
Director, Tax Policy