The H-1B is a nonimmigrant visa that allows the holder to work in the United States for three to six years. The visa is available for degreed workers in specialty occupations, certain Defense Department R&D workers and fashion models of distinguished ability.
H-1B visas are nonimmigrant visas that allow people from three categories to live and work in the U.S. for between three and six years:
The Trump administration has telegraphed since early 2017 its intention to remove a path for early employment eligibility for spouses of H-1B visa holders.
In August, the director of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services spoke at a Center for Immigration Studies event. The controversial think tank advocates for far less immigration being allowed in the U.S. At the event, the director said that a plan to end work authorizations for H-4 visa holders is still being worked on. Previously, the Department of Homeland Security had estimated it would stop offering the work authorizations in June.
Dozens of U.S. business leaders, including CEOs at top American companies, recently signed a joint letter to Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen. They expressed "serious concern" over several Trump administration immigration policies, focusing on those surrounding H-1B visas. The signatories of the joint letter included the heads of Apple, IBM, Salesforce, BlackRock, PepsiCo, JPMorgan Chase and others.
Although the Trump administration has stated a preference for employment-based rather than family-based immigration, it appears to be taking steps to limit some employment- and investment-based immigration programs. This includes additional scrutiny of H-1B applications and the virtual elimination of several other programs for skilled immigrants.
The H-1B visa allows certain highly skilled people to work in the U.S. for several years. It also allows fashion models and specific workers on Department of Defense projects to work temporarily in the United States. What H-1B visas are most noted for, however, is bringing in foreign talent when high-tech industries can't fill their jobs with home-grown workers.