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This April marks two years since President Trump signed the Buy American and Hire American executive order in 2017. Since then, the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has implemented the executive order through rules, policy memoranda, and operational changes.

The Buy American and Hire American executive order was signed with the goal of creating higher wages and employment rates for U.S. employees and protecting their economic interests by rigorously enforcing and administering U.S. immigration laws.

Below is a summary of all of the changes to rules, policy memoranda, and operational changes that USCIS has implemented since the signing of the executive order:

Protection of U.S. Workers:

  • Policy guidance related to fees that certain H-1B petitioners must pay that ultimately help to train U.S. workers.
  • Policy guidance instructing officers to apply the same level of scrutiny to both initial and extension requests for certain employment-based visa programs, emphasizing that the burden of proof for an immigration benefit request lies with the petitioner.
  • Policy guidance related to petitions for H-1B workers who will work at third-party worksites.
  • Policy guidance clarifying that a proxy vote must be irrevocable to establish the requisite control of a company in an L-1 visa petition.
  • Clarified calculation guidelines in a policy memorandum for the L-1 one-year foreign employment requirement to ensure beneficiaries spend at least one year overseas.
  • Finalized a rule making simple and smart changes to the H-1B cap selection process to increase the chances of selection for beneficiaries who have earned a master’s or higher degree from a U.S. institution of higher education.

Fraud Detection and Prevention in Employment-Based Visa Programs:

  • Announced that USCIS and the Department of Justice signed a Memorandum of Understanding that expanded their collaboration to better detect and eliminate fraud, abuse and discrimination by employers bringing foreign workers to the United States.
  • Created H-1B and H-2B fraud reporting tip lines and strengthened information sharing with the Departments of State, Labor, and Justice to streamline and improve new and existing processes in the immigration system.
  • Enhanced the targeted site visit program to ensure that H-1B and L-1 employers and nonimmigrant workers comply with the terms of their approved petitions.

Transparency of Employment-Based Visa Programs:

  • Created a webpage devoted to the Buy American and Hire American executive order providing additional data on various employment-based immigration programs and statistics on employment authorization documents provided to foreign nationals by classification and statutory eligibility.
  • Created the H-1B Employer Data Hub to provide information to the public on employers petitioning for H-1B workers.

Please do not hesitate to contact us with any questions about this matter.