Trump administration cracks down on visas for computer programmers

Trump administration cracks down on visas for computer programmers
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The Trump administration has quietly issued new policy guidance that would make it harder for companies to use the H-1B visa program to bring foreign computer programmers into the U.S.

A policy memo from the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services changes the way the agency will process visa applications for computer programming positions, making companies jump through extra hoops to fill those jobs with foreign workers.

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"Based on the current version of the Handbook, the fact that a person may be employed as a computer programmer and may use information technology skills and knowledge to help an enterprise achieve its goals in the course of his or her job is not sufficient to establish the position as a specialty occupation," the memo reads.

The memo, which was issued on Friday, was first reported by Axios on Monday.

Companies use the H-1B program to import workers for highly skilled positions that are difficult to fill. The Trump administration, however, has alleged that tech companies and IT outsourcing firms have abused the program to the detriment of American workers.

The lottery for companies to apply for 2018 visas opened on Monday.