In a recent executive order, US President Donald Trump ordered his cabinet secretaries to suggest reforms to the H-1B visa program to help ensure that “H-1B visas are awarded to the most-skilled or highest-paid petition beneficiaries.” While the executive order does not include any specific reform proposals for the H-1B program, remarks by an administration official suggest that reform efforts will focus on preventing foreign workers from undercutting American labor at less cost, which the official characterized as “abuse” of the system.

As we noted in a recent LawFlash, US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced on April 7 that it had reached the congressionally mandated 65,000 visa H-1B cap for fiscal year 2018 (FY 2018), and had also received a sufficient number of H-1B petitions to meet the 20,000 visa cap for the US advanced degree exemption. The total number of FY 2018 petitions the agency had received was 199,000, a significant reduction from previous years. This year, as in past years, USCIS used a computer-generated random selection process, or lottery, to select enough petitions for processing to meet the visa caps.