These 2 New H-1B Visa Rules Will Stop Indians From Getting H-1B Jobs In US (Explained Why)
On October 6, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the Department of Labor (DOL) announced two interim final rules in the H-1B regulation.
These changes are aimed to make it tough for companies to hire skilled foreign workers and increase the hire of the local talent.
Let us find out more about the changes…
A Snippet Of Backstory!
In September, ‘Strengthening Wage Protections for the Temporary and Permanent Employment of Certain Aliens in the United States’, a proposal by DOL, and ‘Strengthening the H-1B Nonimmigrant Visa Classification Program’ a proposal by the DHS, were submitted to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) for the interim final stage for review.
However, these proposals were withdrawn on September 30, with a view of speeding up the implementation by forgoing the review period, the immigration attorneys had said.
The Wage Change For Highly Skilled Workforce!
This change will increase wages for highly skilled foreign workers and green card applicants. This will effective after publishing in the Federal Register.
The three visa categories that will be affected are- H-1B, H-1B1 (residents from Chile and Singapore), and E-3 (for Australian residents).
According to the Interim Final Rule (IFR) document, “A primary purpose of the restrictions on immigration…is to preserve jobs for American workers.”
On average, the wages will increase by 28 percentile than the current wages.
The current wages for skilled foreign workers differ based on geography, experience, and nature of work. The DOL has thus categorized the wages into level 1 (entry-level), level 2 (experience), level 3 (qualified), and level 4 (fully competent).
According to the new wage rule,
|Level||Current Percentile||New Percentile|
|Level 1 (entry-level)||17||45|
|Level 2 (experience)||34||62|
|Level 3 (qualified)||50||78|
|Level 4 (competent)||67||95|
The current wage rule will be applicable for petitions that were filed before the date of implementation of the rule.
Tightening H-1B Visa Non-Immigrant Visa Rules!
This change is introduced to make it difficult for companies to hire H-1B workers. This change will be effective 60 days after the date of publication in the Federal Register.
Joel Yanovich, immigration attorney, Murthy Law firm in the US, explained H-1B employer won’t be able to list multiple unrelated fields of study to qualify for a position.
For instance, for the role of a software engineer, you can’t mention qualifications as engineering. You need to be qualified in Computer Science or Information Technology.
If in some situations, USCIS isn’t able to visit a requested location or obtain the requested information, the H-1B petition may be revoked or denied. Yanovich said, “Importantly, the regulation includes the requirement that the USCIS be able to conduct inspections at third-party locations. If the client refuses to cooperate, this could result in the H-1B being denied or revoked.”
The rules have also limited the validity of H-1B visas at third-party worksites (where an employee is deployed for work and not the direct client of the employer sponsoring the visa) to one year.
How Will This Affect Indians?
As of the end of FY19, Indian H-1B workers in the US make up for a total of 1.3 lakh of the 1.8 lakh H-1B visas. Out of the 85,000 H-1B visas issued every year, Indian nationals comprise a massive portion of this figure.
The increase in wages rule will heavily impact the Indians working in IT companies.
The denials for the H-1B visa that are already high will further increase as the companies will find it expensive to hire foreign talent. According to reports, for Indian IT companies like Infosys, more than 50% of its fresh petitions have been denied since the Trump administration came into force in 2017.
Immigration experts highlighted that though these changes seem to target only IT and large tech firms, it will also impact smaller firms and healthcare firms that employ H-1B workers.