WASHINGTON—The Trump administration announced an overhaul of the H-1B visa program for high-skilled foreign workers that will require employers to pay H-1B workers significantly higher wages, narrow the types of degrees that could qualify an applicant and shorten the length of visas for certain contract workers.
The changes, introduced by the Departments of Labor and Homeland Security on Tuesday, will likely make it tougher to qualify for one of the coveted visas.
Ken Cuccinelli, the No. 2 official at DHS, said on a news conference call Tuesday that he expects about one-third of H-1B visa applications would be rejected under the new set of rules.
Mr. Cuccinelli and Patrick Pizzella, the deputy secretary of labor, said the changes were necessary to protect American workers, whom the administration believes are being undercut by foreign workers on H-1B visas who are paid lower wages to perform similar jobs.
“America’s immigration laws should put American workers first,” Mr. Pizzella said, pointing to what he described as insufficiently stringent wage requirements on foreign workers in the H-1B visa program. “The result is U.S. workers are being ousted from good-paying, middle-class jobs and being replaced by foreign workers,” he said.
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