Replace H1-B Visa Program: US Labor Department Unveils Its Own H1B One Workforce Training Program

In an attempt to boost the skilled labor market within the United States of America, the US Department of Labor has invested $150 million in a skill-training program for US job seekers and retirees. Called H1B One Workforce Training Program, this initiative is meant to prepare Americans for high skill jobs and reduce dependence on foreign high-skilled workers. 

After the Coronavirus pandemic destabilized the US economy and led to over 40 million unemployed, the US government wants to bring the labor force back on its feet by training them in middle- to high-skilled H-1B occupations within key sectors in the US economy. They intend to cover industries like information technology and cyber security, advanced manufacturing and transportation.

This comes is response to the demand of the tech industry that there isn’t enough local talent to fulfil the needs of the market demand.  According to the data from the Office of Foreign Labor Certification, this year, Indian tech companies – Qualcomm, Infosys and Cognizant – submitted the highest number of visa applications during the first three quarters of FY 2020. Tata Consultancy Services & Zensar are other Indian companies that are part of the top 10 employers who applied for an H1-B visa in the first 3 quarters of 2020.

Replace H1-B Visa Program: US Labor Department Unveils Its Own H1B One Workforce Training Program

Who Can Qualify To Apply For The H1-B One Workforce Training Program?

This program is to counter the incoming non-immigrant work force and reduce dependence on foreign skilled labor. Open only to US citizens – job seekers and retirees looking to upskill in areas of technology and improve their chances for profitable employment.

Are You Applying For US Citizenship?

Process, Document list & Interview Questions – Everything You Need

To access this skilled training, employment services and supportive services to maximize local employment opportunities, the following eligibility requirements have to be followed:

  • Priority given to US veterans, US military spouses and transitioning service members;
  • Participants must be at least 17 years of age;
  • Participants shouldn’t be enrolled in secondary school within a local educational agency;
  • Participants should be unemployed and underemployed individuals seeking full-time employment;
  • Participants should be looking to update or upskill to retain employment or advance into middle- to high-skilled positions.

What’s Next?

  • The very first visa bulletin released by USCIS for the new FY 2021 announced a higher visa limit for the next year.
  • Indian consultancy firms like TCS, Infosys, Wipro, and HCL Technologies have offered to hire local US talent instead of off-shoring the work to their Indian counterparts.
  • Infosys, for example announced that it would hire 12,000 American workers over the next two years, with a goal to have a 25,000-strong workforce in the US over five years. 
  • Companies like Wipro have started a foundation to train local American workforce in highly skilled tech fields that are in demand by the Silicon Valley to avoid the hassles of the constantly changing US immigration landscape.

Will the overall demand be met locally in the US?

It is yet to ascertain whether such measures like the training programs and rehabilitating veteran retirees is going to fill the demand gap in the US.  Not only the political landscape will change after the Presidential elections but the number of local American people who will actually utilize such programs has always been very low. Hence, the need to bring in foreign skilled labor to meet the demands of these specialized occupations.