On Monday, President Trump issued a new Executive Order addressing federal contractors’ and subcontractors’ use of H-1B Workers. Many believe the new Executive Order lays the groundwork for substantially limiting the ability of federal contractors and subcontractors to use H-1B workers to perform work on federal contracts, either by further limiting the number of visas available OR make the visa application process stricter, using a merit-based approach. Recall that earlier in June, the administration issued a temporary ban on new work visas through December 2020. This ban, combined with the extension of restrictions in issuing new green cards, effectively keeps as many as 525,000 foreign workers out of the country for the rest of the year.
Here are the salient points of this Executive Order:
- It orders all federal agencies to audit their FY2018 and FY2019 contracts and the utilization of H-1B workers and offshoring by employers holding federal government contracts and subcontracts, and determine whether US workers were displaced or adversely impacted.
- Within 120 days of the date of the EO, each federal agency shall submit a report of the audit to OMB and recommend necessary corrective action to be taken by the agency to remedy adverse impact to US workers, to the economy, and to national security, including “proposing any Presidential actions that may be appropriate.”
- Each agency is also required to take action within 45 days of the EO, to protect US workers from adverse impact on wages and work conditions caused by the use of H-1B workers and ensure that federal contractors and subcontractors who employ H-1B visa holders comply with the Immigration and Nationality Act.
What does this mean?
Many employers using H-1B workers happen to be larger employers who have federal contracts, many of them in the technology industry. As we await more development in this area, federal contractors and subcontractors should consider the following:
- How would current and further restrictions impact your company’s diversity make up? How will this affect talent acquisition for your specialty occupations that are hard to fill? What steps should you be taking now to start building your diversity talent network?
- Verify if they have foreign national workers working on government contracts that specifically state that only US citizens and US permanent residents can perform work on the contract.
- Confirm that you have proper documentation to prove that your H-1B workers are provided similar wages and work conditions as other US workers in the same occupations.
To view the full Executive Order: https://www.whitehouse.gov/presidential-actions/executive-order-aligning-federal-contracting-hiring-practices-interests-american-workers/
You can also learn more by reading the Fact Sheet the White House issued on the EO: https://www.whitehouse.gov/briefings-statements/president-donald-j-trump-ensuring-americans-not-displaced-foreign-workers-using-federal-dollars/
Roselle Rogers, SPHR, SHRM-SCP,
Vice President Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion