Changes to H-1B visas, helping the top skilled, and highly paid overseas workers

December 01, 2018
The Congress has mandated that the H1-B visa has an annual limit cap of 65,000 visas during each fiscal year. Moreover, the first 20,000 petitions filed by beneficiaries having a US master's degree get an exemption from the cap.

Changes to H-1B visas, helping the top skilled, and highly paid overseas workers

A few major changes 

Presently, the Trump Administration proposes a few major changes in the H-1B application process. It seeks that the companies must electronically opt for registration of their petitions with the US Citizenship and Immigration Services in advance. Through this, the popular US work visa will be awarded to the persons with most skills and to the highest paid foreign workers. The H1B, a non-immigrant visa, is very popular with Indian IT companies and professionals. Additionally, it permits US companies to provide an employment to overseas workers in speciality occupations which require theoretical/technical expertise.

The aim is to increase the number of overseas workers

The technology companies rely on it for hiring thousands of employees annually from India and China. Here the U.S.C.I.S. will seek the reversion of the order of selecting H-1B applications in the advanced degree exemption and in the H-1B cap. This will increase the number of overseas workers, who have a master's degree or higher, from a US institution to get the selection in H-1B cap number. The new rule is a boost to introduce meritorious selection of beneficiaries, as per the Department of Homeland Security.

The proposed rule starts from December 3

The DHS is open for public comments regarding the proposed rule starting from December 3. On this date, the authorities propose the publishing of the rule in the Federal Register. The closing date is January 2nd 2019. Generally, the cap and the exemption in an advanced degree reaches the target in the initial five days of filing of visa cap petitions. Moreover, the selection of advanced degree exemption happens before the H-1B cap.

In the new rule, there will be a reversal of the order of selection, and all registrations/petitions to the number will be projected, as per the requirement of the visa cap. After selecting sufficient numbers of registrations/petitions for the visa cap, the U.S.C.I.S. will go for selecting registrations/petitions to arrive at the advanced degree exemption. The proposed change will boost the selection chances of beneficiaries having a master's degree from a US institution. Thus top skilled and highly paid beneficiaries will get H-1B visas.

Increase of 16 percent workers 

Moreover, this process would result in an increase of around 16 percent corresponding to 5,340 workers in the numbers of beneficiaries having a master's or higher degree from a US institution. The shift to an electronic mode in registry will also curtail overall costs incurred by petitioners. Additionally, it will also create an efficient petition process.

This new rule will also lighten huge administrative burdens on the U.S.C.I.S. The agency will not need to receive thousands of visa petitions and their supporting documentation physically prior to conducting the selection process.  Additionally, it will also reduce waiting time for notifications in this regard. These rules also reduce the filing of H-1B petitions to the original beneficiary named on the registration. This measure will protect the integrity of the registration system.

Following the Presidential instructions 

Last year President Trump gave instructions to the DHS regarding proposing fresh rules and also for issuing new guidelines to revise/ supersede previous rules. This was with the aim of protecting the interests of local workers. He suggested that the DHS must carry out reforms to make sure that only the top skilled or highly paid beneficiaries get the H-1B visas.

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