The Trump administration has announced a final rule that will significantly raise the minimum wages the employers in the US must pay to foreign workers on visa programs like the H-1B as part of the efforts to protect American workers from being undercut by cheaper labor from abroad. Days before the exit of the administration of President Donald Trump, the US Department of Labor said that the final rule would help protect the wages and job opportunities of American workers by reforming the wage methodology it uses to set prevailing wage rates to prevent potential abuses of its Permanent Employment Certification, H-1B, H-1B1 and E-3 Visa foreign worker programs.
The H-1B visa is a non-immigrant visa that allows US companies to employ foreign workers in speciality occupations that require theoretical or technical expertise.
The technology companies depend on it to hire tens of thousands of employees each year from countries like India and China.
The final rule will improve the accuracy of prevailing wages paid to foreign workers by bringing them in line with the wages paid to similarly employed US workers, the Department of Labor said in a news release on Tuesday.
The final rule will ensure the Department more effectively protects the job opportunities and wages of American workers by removing the economic incentive to hire foreign workers on a permanent or temporary basis in the US over American workers, it said.
Restricting immigration has been a focus of the Trump administration since its first days when it issued the travel ban on seven Muslim-majority countries, and it has continued into Trump’s final year in office as the White House uses the coronavirus pandemic as cover.
The Trump administration recently extended the freeze on H-1B visas along with other types of work visas and green cards until March 31.
Last week it modified the selection process for H-1B visa, giving priority to salary and skills instead of the current lottery procedures.
Democratic leader Joe Biden, who will be sworn in as the 46th US President on January 20, has promised to lift the suspension on H-1B visas, saying Trump’s immigration policies are cruel.