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H-1B roundup: Scrutiny on federal usage; Fees to rise

An executive order signed increases scrutiny on federal agencies’ temporary foreign worker usage, including H-1B visa holders; DHS increases H-1B visa fees.

Executive order. President Trump signed an executive order [1] on Monday to increase scrutiny on temporary foreign worker usage, including H-1B visa holders, by federal agencies.

It calls for heads of executive departments and agencies to review the use of foreign workers in contracts awarded during the federal fiscal years 2018 and 2019. It ordered them to look into whether the use of temporary foreign workers impacted the hiring of US workers. It also called for them to send a report on the usage to the director of the Office of Management and Budget. The order also said the secretaries of Labor and Homeland Security will take action to make sure that employment of H-1B visa holders adheres to specific laws.

Livemint reported [2] the action was prompted by the federally owned Tennessee Valley Authority’s plan announced in June to lay off 62 IT workers as the agency outsources data and programming work. The Hill reported [3] that Monday’s executive order is the latest in a series of unilateral actions Trump has taken on immigration.

Fee increase. H-1B visa application fees will rise Oct. 2 to $555 from the present $460, according to a final rule published [4] by the US Department of Homeland Security. It also extends special fees for employers that have at least 50 workers and 50% or more of their workforce on H-1B visas. Those fees for H-1B visas are $4,000.

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