May 5, 2017 | Atlanta, GA
Buy American and Hire American Executive Order (EO) 13788
This EO enacted on April 18, 2017 does not enact any immediate changes. It reinforces the commitment from the executive branch to enforce and administer laws associated with entry of non-U.S. workers to the U.S., pushes the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), Department of State (DOS), Department of Labor (DOL), and Department of Justice (DOJ) to suggest reforms, propose new rules, and issue new guidance which “protect the interests of U.S. workers”, award work visas to the “most skilled or highest paid petition beneficiaries”, and “address fraud and abuse” in their administration of the U.S. immigration system. U.S. employers who hire non-U.S. workers have likely begun to prepare for possible:
- Expansion of site visits which exist to monitor fraud and misuse of work visas
- Changes to the Labor Condition Application (LCA)
- Changes in hiring certain positions, such as Computer Programmers which are no longer considered a “specialty occupation”.
- Changes to free trade agreements, including the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA)
- Increased fees for H-1B visas, changes in the Department of Labor’s wage determinations, Department of Justice enforcement of “gross and egregious violations of the H-1B program”.
- Adjustments to the lottery system to give master's degree holders a better chance of getting H-1Bs relative to bachelor's degree holders.
The OIE does not have any specific guidance to those who are concerned about the future of work visas in the U.S. We want to reaffirm that this order has no immediate impact on employers or students considering Optional Practical Training (OPT) options. Keep in mind that statutory changes that are made by Congress take the longest to achieve, regulatory changes which the agencies lead take less time but still require a period of public comment, and policy changes done by the agencies can occur rapidly. The OIE will continue to monitor and report new information as it becomes available. We will also continue to advocate for the needs of the international students and scholars through our professional associations and the Georgia Tech government relations team.