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As White House Loses House Majority, what is Next for H-1B Visa Program?

Image of the US Capitol at night, with the words - As White House Loses House Majority, what is Next for H-1B Visa Program?

The H-1B is a popular and highly-sought-after visa category for skilled foreign workers seeking to work in the United States. It has been the subject of much debate and controversy over the years, and recent changes in the political landscape have added new uncertainties and challenges to the H-1B visa process. This blog post explores the impact of the Biden administration on changes to the H-1B visa, as well as the role of the new Republican majority in the House of Representatives in shaping the future of the H-1B visa program.

What is the H-1B Visa?

The H-1B is a temporary, nonimmigrant visa category that allows employers to petition on behalf of highly-educated foreign professionals who work in specialty occupations that require at least a bachelor’s degree. These jobs are generally in the fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (“STEM”), enhancing American competitiveness in the global economy. In fact, in an effort to be even more competitive, the Biden administration recently expanded eligible fields of study that qualify under the program, as described in greater detail on this blog.

The H-1B visa allows U.S. employers to fill critically important jobs in the United States with foreign workers.  While many critics of the H-1B argue that it potentially limits job opportunities for U.S. workers, many others suggest that H-1B workers offer critical support to the U.S. economy. In fact, according to the American Immigration Counsel, H-1B recipients provided critical assistance during the COVID-19 pandemic, with many doctors, scientists, and nurses present in the U.S. on the H-1B visa, including individuals who assisted with the development of vaccines.

Biden Administration and its Relationship with Immigration Reform

One of the key priorities of the Biden administration has been to modernize and improve the U.S. immigration system, including the H-1B visa program. To this end, the Biden administration has taken steps to make the H-1B visa process more accessible and efficient for skilled foreign workers, including increasing the number of visas available, increasing transparency and consistency in the lottery process, and streamlining the application process.

According to a recent article by Forbes, Senator Richard Durbin (D-IL) and Senator Alex Padilla (D-CA) are expected to return as Senate Judiciary Committee chair and immigration subcommittee chair, respectively. It is expected that Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) will no longer be ranking member on the Senate Judiciary; Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) likely will hold that position. Just last year, Senator Grassley blocked an exemption from green card limits for certain foreign nationals with PhDs in STEM fields – a move that frustrated employers and universities alike. 

Although Democrats hold the majority in the Senate, the House now features a Republican majority, which may complicate immigration reform efforts on Capitol Hill.

Republicans on Capitol Hill Seek to Counter Democratic Efforts on Immigration

The new Republican majority in the House of Representatives may pose a challenge to the Biden administration’s efforts to reform the H-1B visa program. Republicans have traditionally been more critical program and have pushed for reforms that would restrict the number of visas available and make it more difficult for foreign workers to come to the United States.

Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AR) has been a vocal critic of the H-1B program, stating that it is used to hire cheap foreign labor at the expense of American workers. Similarly, Sen. Grassley has expressed concerns about the impact of the program on American workers, claiming that while the visa was intended to help American businesses recruit the best and brightest talent from around the world, it’s too often been used to import cheaper foreign labor and displace American workers.

Given these differing perspectives, the future of the H-1B visa program will likely continue to be a source of political debate and controversy in the United States. However, it is clear that both sides of the political aisle agree that it needs to be reformed in some way, whether to make it more accessible and efficient for skilled foreign workers, or to better protect the interests of American workers.

Currently, the H-1B process in the United States is in a state of flux, with the Biden administration taking steps to modernize and improve the program, while the new Republican majority in the House of Representatives raises concerns about its impact on American workers. Whether the program will ultimately be reformed to better serve the interests of foreign workers, American workers, or both remains to be seen, but clearly this issue will continue to be a major source of political debate and controversy in the United States for the foreseeable future.

To learn more about this blog post, or if you have any other immigration concerns, please feel free to contact me at or (484) 544-0022.