This being the first newsletter of 2021, allow me to wish you a very Happy New Year! All indications are after a full week into it, if you thought 2020 was chaotic, we haven’t seen anything yet.
As dramatic as it was to watch the Capitol being stormed and elected officials and staffers forced to flee while counting and debating electoral votes, a few other events occurred this week that will directly impact tech workers.
First and foremost, Joe Biden will be the 46th President of the United States. He will be inaugurated on January 20 and will have a very different stance on nonimmigrant worker visa programs and immigration policy than President Trump. Biden’s VP pick, former U.S. California Sen. Kamala Harris, was a sponsor of S. 386, the misnamed Fairness for High-Skilled Immigrants Act, which U.S. Tech Workers strongly opposed. In addition, Biden’s rhetoric informs us that he will focus on immigration issues and undoing many of Trump’s reforms in his first 100 days.
One of those reforms could be amending, or throwing out altogether, a rule change entitled, Modification of Registration Requirement for Petitioners Seeking to File Cap-Subject H-1B Petitions. At its core, the reform prioritizes registrations based on which employer is offering the higher wage.
According to Joseph Edlow, Deputy Director for Policy at U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, “The current H-1B random selection process makes it difficult for businesses to plan their hiring, fails to leverage the program to compete for the best and brightest international workforce, and has predominately resulted in the annual influx of foreign labor placed in low-wage positions at the expense of U.S. workers.” Rebecca Rainey of Politico reports that “the rule is not scheduled to go into effect until March 9, meaning the Biden administration could delay its implementation or abandon it.”
Lastly, the Georgia senatorial election results left neither party with a majority. In instances of a tie, it will be Vice President Harris who will vote to break it. It is hard for me to lose a lot of sleep over the results of the Perdue/Ossoff race. Perdue was always bad on our issue and bought into the myth that America doesn’t produce enough tech workers. Jon Ossof appears to hold moderate views when it comes to labor and jobs. Perhaps our Georgia tech workers can reach out to him. Loeffler is a different story. She was good on our issue, getting better, and now she is gone.
In closing, 2021 will see U.S. Tech Workers repositioning and focusing on reaching a broader audience in order to create a groundswell of support for our issues. It is going to require us to be creative and gutsy. Fortunately, with the help of our base, I know we are up for the task!