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H-1B VISA New Regulations Over the last Year: Impact on IT Professionals

The USCIS ( U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service ) begins accepting applications on the first business day of April each year and opens a total of 85000 visas out of which 65000 visa are for Bachelors Degree or equivalent and rest 20000 is for those with a Masters degree or higher.

Within the first week, the visa allocation is exhausted. This year is the sixteenth year in a row that the H1B program has experienced such an overload of applicants. In the first week of this fiscal year, nearly 200,000 petitions were received. To cope with this excessive demand for the work visas, the USCIS has employed a lottery to choose successful candidates.

H1B, Indian, IT Professional
Indian IT Professionals seeking H1B

As per the first initiative President Trump signed in April of last year, securing a work visa for foreign nationals accomplished in the math and engineering fields fit for high tech has become more difficult under the “Buy America, Hire American” executive order.

In a second initiative in August, Trump immigration officials announced they would expand the suspension of premium processing for H-1B petitions. The stipulations included that no H-1B petition filed on behalf of an employee changing employers or location with the same employer are eligible to be filed with premium processing, which business professionals have relied upon in previous years. The result has been a slow down in processing. The suspension appears to be in effect only until February of 2019 however. We shall see if it will continue thereafter.

Again on November 19th, 2018 the U.S. Department of Labor began requiring that employers of H-1B applicants use a new Labor Condition Application form (LCA), ETA 9035. Critics claim the new form is designed to elicit internal information from employers and increase government pressure upon H-1B employed companies, with the intended possibility of negative attention from the press. The new labor conditions could deter tech companies from hiring skilled graduates abroad lest they fork out too much in annual wages, and could compel them to “hire American” in line with Trump’s new order. Alternatively, if companies cannot source adequate American-born employees, the new conditions may result in selected foreign employees being appointed at much higher salaries. The true effects of this new LCA form have yet to be seen.

However, not all the new regulations made with regards to H1B have a negative impact, the lottery system is definitely a benefit many professionals. The Trump Administration on 30th December,2018 proposed major changes to application process, including a new rule requiring companies to electronically register their petition in advance.

  1. Currently, the advanced degree exemption is selected prior to the H-1B cap, now as per the proposed rule, USCIS will reverse the order by which USCIS selects H-1B petitions under the H-1B cap and the advanced degree exemption. This proposed change would increase the chances that beneficiaries with a master's or higher degree from a US institution of Higher Education would be selected under H1B cap and that H1B visas would be awarded to the most skilled and the highest Paid beneficiaries and this would increase the number of selected professionals upto 5340 (16%) in numbers.

  2. USCIS will require petitioners seeking to file H-1B cap-subject petitions to first electronically register with USCIS. The employers will not need to send in the H-1B petitions and supporting documentation before the cap selection process. This will ease the amount of work required to apply for the H1B visas. USCIS expects that shifting to electronic registration would reduce overall costs for petitioners and create a more efficient and cost-effective H-1B cap petition process for USCIS. The time of implementation of this new rule is not yet set. The American Immigration Lawyers Association has taken the position that it should be delayed for one year. More news is expected about this after the time for comments expires in early January 2019.

#H1B #H1BVISA #H1BNewRules #H1BImpactonITProfessionals #Trump #IndianITCompany #UnendingRoads


Did you know?

  1. Nearly half of Fortune 500 companies were founded by first or second-generation immigrants.

  2. U.S. tech giants like Amazon, Microsoft, Google and Intel are among the top 10 employers of approved H-1B applicants.

  3. The premium processing suspension ended on January 28, 2019. Unless the USCIS enacts a new suspension, petitioners will be able to file H-1B petitions with premium processing during the lottery window in April for the H-1B 2020 season.

Read More:

Can Spouses of H1-B Holders work with H-4 VISAs.

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