Number of H1-B visa applications falls

The Federal Headlines is a daily compilation of the stories you hear discussed on Federal Drive with Tom Temin.

In today’s Top Federal Headlines, though demand still greatly outnumbers the amount legally allowed to be accepted, there were fewer applications for the work visas most often sought by technology companies.

  • A visa program favored by the tech industry has lost a bit of steam. U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services reports it received 199,000 applications for H-1B visas, the kinds sought by technology companies. Federal law allows 65,000 H-1B workers for fiscal 2018, so demand still far outstrips available openings. Another 20,000 applications with advanced degrees are also allowed. But the number of applications fell this year, from 236,000 last year. (U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services)
  • About a third of federal employees said they support government restructuring, even though they might not agree with the Office of Management and Budget’s new plan. Federal employees who responded to a Federal News Radio survey offered mixed reviews of OMB’s reorganization plan. About 16 percent said the plan resembles previous attempts to reorganize. About 14 percent said they don’t support restructuring at all. (Federal News Radio)
  • The Army has a new plan to cut its 800 business IT systems in half. The goal is aggressive — the Defense Department as a whole hasn’t made much headway in cutting its number of legacy systems, partly because systems that hadn’t been counted before are making their way into the inventory as quickly as other ones are killed off. But the Army said it’s confident in its numbers now, and has a plan to reduce its inventory by at least 400 systems. Officials arrived at the strategy by categorizing systems based on their business value and their technical capabilities. Systems that don’t have much of either are prime candidates for shutdown. (Federal News Radio)
  • President Donald Trump is putting some of his top military officials in charge of reviewing the nation’s nuclear weapons. The deputy defense secretary and the vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff have been tasked with conducting a nuclear posture review to make sure the U.S. nuclear deterrent is safe, secure and effective. The final report is due at the end of the year. (Department of Defense)
  • The Veterans Affairs Department is conducting a review of its National Caregiver Support Program. OregonLive reports the program, which pays veterans’ spouses to be caregivers, has faced scrutiny for revoking some participants’ status as caregivers without explanation. VA is suspending removals for three weeks while it evaluates the consistency of revocations and how it communicates with members. (Department of Veterans Affairs)
  • One agency is back on the market for a new cyber executive. NASA is looking for a new chief information security officer for the second time in a year. Jeannette Hanna-Ruiz, the space agency’s associate chief information officer for IT security and senior agency information security official, is leaving after only eight months on the job, Federal News Radio has learned. NASA CIO Renee Wynn said in an email that Hanna-Ruiz’s last day would be April 28. Mike Witt, the deputy CISO, will take over for Hanna-Ruiz on an interim basis. (Federal News Radio)
  • President Donald Trump is mandating federal agencies pay more attention to the buy-American rules already in place. Trump signs an executive order requiring agencies to assess the procurement rules and eliminate any loopholes which give foreign products an advantage over American ones. It also requires agencies review and administratively strengthen the rules around work visas like H-1B. (Federal News Radio)
  • House Oversight and Government Reform Committee leadership have written to President Trump asking he quickly nominate several vacant inspectors general positions. Currently, 11 agencies don’t have permanent IGs, with many vacancies lasting for more than a year. For instance, the Interior Department hasn’t had a permanent inspector general in over seven years. (House Oversight and Government Reform Committee)
  • The Small Business Administration announced this year’s National Small Business Week will be held April 30 through May 6. SBA will hand out awards for outstanding small businesses during a May 3 ceremony in Washington, D.C. It will be the first small business week for new SBA Administrator Linda McMahon. (Small Business Administration)

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