GOP presidential candidate Vivek Ramaswamy has vowed to end the H-1B visa program, the same program he used to hire foreign employees for his pharmaceutical company, according to a report.
About the H-1B visa: The H-1B visa is a nonimmigrant work visa that allows U.S. employers to hire foreign employees with specialized skills. When employers file applications more than the annual limit of 85,000, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will run a lottery system to determine who can file a petition.
The visa is highly coveted. In April, USCIS reported 780,884 H-1B registrations for fiscal year 2024, a 61% increase from 483,927 registrations in the previous year.
What he’s saying: Ramaswamy, 38, told Politico in a piece published on Saturay that the H-1B system is “bad for everyone involved.” He called for “an actual meritocratic admission” in lieu of the lottery system and pointed out that those who come as family members “are not the meritocratic immigrants who make skills-based contributions to this country.”
“The lottery system needs to be replaced by actual meritocratic admission. It’s a form of indentured servitude that only accrues to the benefit of the company that sponsored an H-1B immigrant. I’ll gut it,” he was quoted saying.
How he previously used it: The USCIS approved 29 applications for Ramaswamy’s pharmaceutical company, Roivant Sciences, between 2018 and 2023, Politico noted. He reportedly stepped down as its CEO in February 2021 but remained chair of its board of directors until February this year.
The big picture:
Ramaswamy, a child of immigrants himself, is among Republican presidential candidates taking a tough stance on immigration. He previously vowed to deport
U.S.-born children of undocumented immigrants, calling himself a “pro-family person.”