The Trump administration on October 6, 2020 issued two rules that would substantially cut down the number of H-1B visas issued to highly skilled foreigners, in the US.
The two rules applying to the H-1B visa program were proposed by the US Department of Labor (DOL) and the US Department of Homeland Security (DHS).
The DOL rule to increase the salary structures of H-1B visa holders by US employers by 40-50% (on an average), making it comparatively more expensive to hire a foreign talent as compared to American employees, was implemented immediately on October 8, without any room for consultations and comments.
The 2nd rule proposed by DHS sought to limit the categories of workers who qualify for H-1B visas, reducing the number of H-1B positions by at least one-third.
This rule was open for public comments for a period of 60 days, which was to end on December 7.
However, disguised as a positive news, a U.S.District Court judge struck down both of these two H-1B visa rules implemented by the Trump administration on Tuesday.
Let’s learn in detail about this.
US Court Strikes Out the Malicious H-1B Visa Rules
After receiving severe backlash on the two changes in the H-1B visa programme, by several associations, university coalitions and majorly bigshot companies in the US, like Apple, Google and Amazon, the two H-1B visa rules proposed by the Trump Government before US elections, have finally been stripped off.
U.S. District Judge Jeffrey White eradicated the 2 rules on Tuesday, which if implemented would severely damage the whole H-1B visa programme, thereby affecting not just foreign applicants but also US companies and markets.
Judge White stated that the changes were introduced in a hurry and failed to follow transparency procedures, which includes providing notice and the opportunity to comment before a regulation goes into effect, as per the Administrative Procedure Act.
This makes government agencies accountable to the public by requiring a detailed process for enacting regulations.
“Defendants failed to show there was good cause to dispense with the rational and thoughtful discourse that is provided by the APA’s notice and comment requirements.”, wrote White.
The plaintiffs argued that the law proposed by the Trump administration lacked a good cause, even if it was conducted in view of the Covid-19 pandemic.
“The COVID-19 pandemic is an event beyond defendants’ control, yet it was within defendants’ control to take action earlier than they did”, added White.
Nasscom Breathes a Sigh of Relief
The wage hike rule implemented by the DOL, which was put into immediate effect in October would make it significantly more expensive for employers in the US to hire a talented foreign pool.
Any US company hiring an H-1B visa holder would have to pay at least 40-50% more to this candidate, as compared to an American citizen.
Also, the H-1B rule proposed by the DHS would drastically cut down the number of H-1B visas issued to foreign high-skilled individuals.
It is a known fact that of the 85,000 H-1B visas each year, Indians bag more than 70% of them, hired by American companies like Facebook, Google and Microsoft.
With the US District Court cancelling both the rules proposed by the Trump government, many companies across various industries are breathing sigh of relief, as these rules had the potential to be incredibly disruptive to the operations of many businesses.
Among the celebrating party, is the Indian association Nasscom too, as Indian IT sector can now use the H-1B visa programme more freely.