United States: What Will U.S. Business Immigration Look Like Under A Trump Administration?

Last Updated: November 19 2016
Article by Maria Mejia-Opaciuch

More than 10 days have passed since the election results were revealed, and the United States now has a businessman as its president-elect ready to take office on January 20, 2017. However, despite his business background, it appears that the Trump administration will be equally hard on legal business immigration as on illegal immigration. President-elect Trump's campaign speeches and his position paper on immigration shed light on how his vision regarding immigration will impact employers with a foreign national workforce. Below are some of the pertinent temporary work visas, inspections procedures and immigration control practices that may be impacted when the Trump administration is in place, as well as a brief discussion about the longer delays expected for foreign workers traveling to the United States for short-term business reasons or to work and study.

F-1 Students and Optional Practical Training (OPT )

President-elect Trump has called for more stringent vetting of foreign nationals seeking to enter on either temporary work or student visas, or those seeking green cards. In addition, he wants to suspend the issuance of visas from countries where there is no screening process until proven and effective vetting mechanisms are implemented, particularly from regions that export terrorism. Given this possible delay or suspension, it is key for foreigners seeking to work or study in the United States to apply for the F-1 student visa before the new administration is in place. Further, there is a strong possibility that the generous regulations extending OPT to students in the STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) disciplines be repealed or scaled back considerably. This is due to the Trump administration's call for new immigration controls that would boost wages and ensure open jobs are offered to Americans first. The STEM OPT program requires employers to participate in E-Verify, an internet-based system that compares information from an employee's Form I-9 (Employment Eligibility Verification) to data from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and Social Security Administration to confirm employment eligibility. President-elect Trump and his key immigration team advisors are proponents of E-Verify and support the program's expansion to all employers. As such, STEM OPT may remain in effect for some time.

TN, E-3, and H-1B1 Visas – Free Trade Agreement Visas

President-elect Trump has indicated he would seek to renegotiate or withdraw from the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and similar trade agreements, many of which include streamlined immigration provisions allowing professionals to work in the United States under visa classifications defined in the agreements. Employers should review their foreign workforce and gather requisite data to possibly convert TNs (Canadian or Mexican), E-3s (Australian) and H-1B1s (Singaporean or Chilean) to either an H-1B visa or commence the permanent residence (green card) process. It is unlikely that the renegotiation of, or withdrawal from, any of the trade agreements will occur immediately after President-elect Trump assumes office. Employers will have time to review their workforce, consult with their immigration lawyers, and take necessary action to maintain their foreign workforce with little to no impact on the business.

H-1B Specialty Occupation Visas

President-elect Trump supports immigrants who are skilled, have merit and will succeed in the United States, and would favor reform of the H-1B program to eliminate "cheap labor." He may seek, through legislation, a more active recruitment process built into the existing H-1B regulations. He may pursue changing rules on H-1B-dependent employers (those employing 15 percent or more H-1B visa workers) and impose more stringent regulations on wages and salaries paid to H-1B employees, possibly increasing them to as much as $100,000. As part of his vision to protect the American worker, President-elect Trump may also conduct more audits of H-1B employers. Increases in enforcement and H-1B salaries may encourage employers to ship offshore the IT and engineering work currently performed under H-1Bs, which would be counter-productive. H-1B visa reform will, in all likelihood, make certain IT projects too expensive to remain in the United States. If there are no U.S. workers available to handle the projects, the work may be outsourced overseas, or the industry may be forced to automate, as the auto industry did. This is an excellent time for employers to review their H-1B and public access files and ensure all is in order, as more audits of H-1B employers are anticipated.

Deferred Action on Childhood Arrival (DACA)

While the 725,000 or so DACA registrants in the United States may not be affected immediately when President-elect Trump takes office, it seems certain that the executive order implementing DACA will be terminated, and those with employment authorization document (EAD) cards will not have an opportunity to renew their work permits, which would impact employers. It is a good time for employers to review their foreign workforce and I-9 records to review who has time-limited EAD cards, and be prepared for the possibility that some EAD cards will not be renewed if DACA is terminated. Revocation of this program will likely take some time, but preparation is key to minimizing the disruption of the employer's workflow.

Travel to the United States: A Fully Operational Biometric Entry-Exit Visa Tracking System

The Trump administration will implement a biometric entry and exit system at all land, air and sea ports. This system is No. eight on the president-elect's 10-Point Plan to Put America First. Statistics show that approximately half of the new illegal immigrants enter the United States on a valid visa and then overstay. President-elect Trump plans to combat that practice by strictly enforcing visa expiration dates. It remains to be seen how this priority will be implemented (by legislation or regulation), but strict oversight on visa expirations are anticipated, given the advisors President-elect Trump has enlisted to develop his administration's immigration policy.

Increased Worksite Enforcement, Mandatory E-Verify and Visa Compliance

President-elect Trump has clearly stated that his top priority is to build a wall on the southern border and keep illegal immigration to a minimum by immediately removing those who enter illegally or detaining them until removed. He wants to end the existing "catch and release" program in existence today. Such enforcement-centric policies may result in tangential worksite initiatives by the U.S. Immigration and Customs (ICE) resulting in increased onsite inspections of I-9 forms. President-elect Trump's promise to deport millions suggests that employers should be proactive and review existing I-9 and E-Verify compliance programs, or implement I-9 and visa-related compliance initiatives, to ensure they are ready for any possible ICE investigations or audits. Further, it is likely that mandatory E-Verify participation by all employers will be proposed. Employers should consider conducting voluntary internal audits now to limit or eliminate potential fines in the event of an ICE investigation or audit.

It is important to note that the president-elect cannot change the existing immigration laws found in the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) unless Congress amends the INA, and President-elect Trump signs it. This will take a considerable amount of time and cooperation between Congress and the president. He can, however, change policies or executive orders, such as the DACA program, without the involvement of Congress.

Many of these changes are speculative and yet, it is clear that changes in the above visa classes will take effect in 2017. Carlton Fields' immigration practice group will monitor these upcoming changes

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

To print this article, all you need is to be registered on Mondaq.com.

Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.

In association with
Related Video
Up-coming Events Search
Font Size:
Mondaq on Twitter
Register for Access and our Free Biweekly Alert for
This service is completely free. Access 250,000 archived articles from 100+ countries and get a personalised email twice a week covering developments (and yes, our lawyers like to think you’ve read our Disclaimer).
Email Address
Company Name
Confirm Password
Mondaq Topics -- Select your Interests
 Law Performance
 Law Practice
 Media & IT
 Real Estate
 Wealth Mgt
Asia Pacific
European Union
Latin America
Middle East
United States
Worldwide Updates
Check to state you have read and
agree to our Terms and Conditions

Terms & Conditions and Privacy Statement

Mondaq.com (the Website) is owned and managed by Mondaq Ltd and as a user you are granted a non-exclusive, revocable license to access the Website under its terms and conditions of use. Your use of the Website constitutes your agreement to the following terms and conditions of use. Mondaq Ltd may terminate your use of the Website if you are in breach of these terms and conditions or if Mondaq Ltd decides to terminate your license of use for whatever reason.

Use of www.mondaq.com

You may use the Website but are required to register as a user if you wish to read the full text of the content and articles available (the Content). You may not modify, publish, transmit, transfer or sell, reproduce, create derivative works from, distribute, perform, link, display, or in any way exploit any of the Content, in whole or in part, except as expressly permitted in these terms & conditions or with the prior written consent of Mondaq Ltd. You may not use electronic or other means to extract details or information about Mondaq.com’s content, users or contributors in order to offer them any services or products which compete directly or indirectly with Mondaq Ltd’s services and products.


Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers make no representations about the suitability of the information contained in the documents and related graphics published on this server for any purpose. All such documents and related graphics are provided "as is" without warranty of any kind. Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers hereby disclaim all warranties and conditions with regard to this information, including all implied warranties and conditions of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, title and non-infringement. In no event shall Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers be liable for any special, indirect or consequential damages or any damages whatsoever resulting from loss of use, data or profits, whether in an action of contract, negligence or other tortious action, arising out of or in connection with the use or performance of information available from this server.

The documents and related graphics published on this server could include technical inaccuracies or typographical errors. Changes are periodically added to the information herein. Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers may make improvements and/or changes in the product(s) and/or the program(s) described herein at any time.


Mondaq Ltd requires you to register and provide information that personally identifies you, including what sort of information you are interested in, for three primary purposes:

  • To allow you to personalize the Mondaq websites you are visiting.
  • To enable features such as password reminder, newsletter alerts, email a colleague, and linking from Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to your website.
  • To produce demographic feedback for our information providers who provide information free for your use.

Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) do not sell or provide your details to third parties other than information providers. The reason we provide our information providers with this information is so that they can measure the response their articles are receiving and provide you with information about their products and services.

If you do not want us to provide your name and email address you may opt out by clicking here .

If you do not wish to receive any future announcements of products and services offered by Mondaq by clicking here .

Information Collection and Use

We require site users to register with Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to view the free information on the site. We also collect information from our users at several different points on the websites: this is so that we can customise the sites according to individual usage, provide 'session-aware' functionality, and ensure that content is acquired and developed appropriately. This gives us an overall picture of our user profiles, which in turn shows to our Editorial Contributors the type of person they are reaching by posting articles on Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) – meaning more free content for registered users.

We are only able to provide the material on the Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) site free to site visitors because we can pass on information about the pages that users are viewing and the personal information users provide to us (e.g. email addresses) to reputable contributing firms such as law firms who author those pages. We do not sell or rent information to anyone else other than the authors of those pages, who may change from time to time. Should you wish us not to disclose your details to any of these parties, please tick the box above or tick the box marked "Opt out of Registration Information Disclosure" on the Your Profile page. We and our author organisations may only contact you via email or other means if you allow us to do so. Users can opt out of contact when they register on the site, or send an email to unsubscribe@mondaq.com with “no disclosure” in the subject heading

Mondaq News Alerts

In order to receive Mondaq News Alerts, users have to complete a separate registration form. This is a personalised service where users choose regions and topics of interest and we send it only to those users who have requested it. Users can stop receiving these Alerts by going to the Mondaq News Alerts page and deselecting all interest areas. In the same way users can amend their personal preferences to add or remove subject areas.


A cookie is a small text file written to a user’s hard drive that contains an identifying user number. The cookies do not contain any personal information about users. We use the cookie so users do not have to log in every time they use the service and the cookie will automatically expire if you do not visit the Mondaq website (or its affiliate sites) for 12 months. We also use the cookie to personalise a user's experience of the site (for example to show information specific to a user's region). As the Mondaq sites are fully personalised and cookies are essential to its core technology the site will function unpredictably with browsers that do not support cookies - or where cookies are disabled (in these circumstances we advise you to attempt to locate the information you require elsewhere on the web). However if you are concerned about the presence of a Mondaq cookie on your machine you can also choose to expire the cookie immediately (remove it) by selecting the 'Log Off' menu option as the last thing you do when you use the site.

Some of our business partners may use cookies on our site (for example, advertisers). However, we have no access to or control over these cookies and we are not aware of any at present that do so.

Log Files

We use IP addresses to analyse trends, administer the site, track movement, and gather broad demographic information for aggregate use. IP addresses are not linked to personally identifiable information.


This web site contains links to other sites. Please be aware that Mondaq (or its affiliate sites) are not responsible for the privacy practices of such other sites. We encourage our users to be aware when they leave our site and to read the privacy statements of these third party sites. This privacy statement applies solely to information collected by this Web site.

Surveys & Contests

From time-to-time our site requests information from users via surveys or contests. Participation in these surveys or contests is completely voluntary and the user therefore has a choice whether or not to disclose any information requested. Information requested may include contact information (such as name and delivery address), and demographic information (such as postcode, age level). Contact information will be used to notify the winners and award prizes. Survey information will be used for purposes of monitoring or improving the functionality of the site.


If a user elects to use our referral service for informing a friend about our site, we ask them for the friend’s name and email address. Mondaq stores this information and may contact the friend to invite them to register with Mondaq, but they will not be contacted more than once. The friend may contact Mondaq to request the removal of this information from our database.


This website takes every reasonable precaution to protect our users’ information. When users submit sensitive information via the website, your information is protected using firewalls and other security technology. If you have any questions about the security at our website, you can send an email to webmaster@mondaq.com.

Correcting/Updating Personal Information

If a user’s personally identifiable information changes (such as postcode), or if a user no longer desires our service, we will endeavour to provide a way to correct, update or remove that user’s personal data provided to us. This can usually be done at the “Your Profile” page or by sending an email to EditorialAdvisor@mondaq.com.

Notification of Changes

If we decide to change our Terms & Conditions or Privacy Policy, we will post those changes on our site so our users are always aware of what information we collect, how we use it, and under what circumstances, if any, we disclose it. If at any point we decide to use personally identifiable information in a manner different from that stated at the time it was collected, we will notify users by way of an email. Users will have a choice as to whether or not we use their information in this different manner. We will use information in accordance with the privacy policy under which the information was collected.

How to contact Mondaq

You can contact us with comments or queries at enquiries@mondaq.com.

If for some reason you believe Mondaq Ltd. has not adhered to these principles, please notify us by e-mail at problems@mondaq.com and we will use commercially reasonable efforts to determine and correct the problem promptly.