Indian Students Can Now Work For 3 Years In USA; Higher Wage Rule For H1B Employees Postponed!
The two new developments in immigration law are bringing happy tidings for the H-1B visa holders and students, as per the reports.
Two New Developments In Immigration Laws
The first one is about a court challenge to OPT and the STEM OPT extension which has failed.
Here OPT is an Optional Practical Training program that provides one year of work authorization to students who finish their degrees.
According to the second update, the US Department of Labor (DOL) has delayed to May 14, 2021 (beyond the H-1B lottery deadlines) implementation of the regulations affecting disproportionate wage hikes for H-1B and green card petitions.
OPT And STEM OPT Law
Under the OPT law, the students must work in their own field for no less than 20 hours each week either paid or unpaid.
Full-time employment is also permitted, but not mandatory.
While in case of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics), the graduates can further extend their OPT for another two years.
Thus giving them a total of three years to work in the United States of America.
It is noteworthy here that these rules for the extension are tougher and a lot more like H-1B visas.
In any type of OPT statuses, students can apply for the H-1B lottery.
So far, the two programs have been doing the rounds in federal courts.
According to the local employee organizations, these programs should be beyond the authority of the government to promulgate.
While, government and other stakeholders including the National Association of Manufacturers, a prestigious organization, disagreed with them.
As per the latest updates, the court ruled for the government, although, it can be appealed further.
However, the reasoning of the decision is sound, hence can not be reversed easily.
DOL Regulation Regarding Rising Wages
In case of the DOL regulation, raising required wages to an unreasonable level was troublesome.
As the hike would not have been an insurmountable hurdle for H-1B or green card petitions as employers could have relied upon certain third-party wage surveys.
Compared to DOL, these surveys have the positive attribute of being considerably lower in salary figures but comes with two basic problems.
Since they are not available for all jobs in all geographical locations and secondly they are expensive ($800-$900 or more).
Currently, DOL has postponed the implementation of the wage hike regulation to a later date on May 14, 2021, which is past the H-1B lottery times this year.
Now, they are inviting comments from the stakeholders and the public.
If after consideration they find the regulation untenable factually or legally, they may rescind the regulation.