US Govt Delays All H1B Rules Imposed By Trump; Lottery System Will Continue (How Will It Work?)

Joe Biden administration delays the change in H-1B visa policy from March 9, 2021 to until December 31, 2021.
Joe Biden administration delays the change in H-1B visa policy from March 9, 2021 to until December 31, 2021.

The Trump government had put into order a change-up in the existing lottery-based H-1B visa policy, to a wage based/skill-based visa policy, which would require employers in the US to pay a larger percentage of salary to only highly-skilled foreign nationals.

Establishing such a rule would put pressure on employers to pay foreign-born professionals in H-1B status, more than they would pay to an equivalent position holder, if he/she is an American.

This way, the employers will be compelled to hire local employees. The Trump administration had scheduled to make these changes in the existing H-1B visa policy by March 9, 2021.

However, the current Biden administration has announced to delay the proposed salary-based H-1B policy to come under effect, from its scheduled date March 9 to until December 31, 2021.

Biden Pushes Trump’s Proposed H-1B Policy Change to Until Dec 31

On January 7, the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced to do away with the traditional lottery system in deciding the successful applicants for the H-1B visas.

According to the US agency, doing so would prioritise wages to protect the economic interests of American workers, and better ensure that the most highly skilled foreign workers benefit from the temporary employment programme, i.e., H-1B visa.

However, on Thursday, the USCIS announced to delay the process until December 31, 2021, which was scheduled to go under effect on March 9, by the previous government.

Reason Behind the Delay

To put into effect the proposed salary-based H-1B visa policy, the USCIS would require adequate time to complete a lot of processes.

This would include:

  • completing system development,
  • testing the enhanced modifications,
  • training staff and conducting public outreach, in order to ensure an effective and orderly implementation of the H1B Selection Final Rule by the time the initial registration period will be open for the upcoming fiscal year (FY) 2022 H-1B cap season.

The time bought by the delay, would provide more time for stakeholders to adjust to the new rule. 

“To give USCIS more time to develop, test, and implement the modifications to the H-1B registration system and selection process, DHS is delaying the effective date of this final rule from March 9, 2021, to December 31, 2021”, said the statement.

All Registrations Before Dec 31 to Follow Lottery-based Policy

DHS informs that USCIS will apply the current regulations (random selection) to any registration which takes place before December 31, 2021, for the upcoming H-1B cap season.

On January 7, the USCIS argued that doing away with the lottery system and replacing that with a merit-based and wage-based system will incentivise employers to either offer higher salaries or petition for higher-skilled position or both.

This will further establish a more certain plan for businesses to get personnel and remain globally competitive. A formal federal notification was issued on January 8.

A formal notification is scheduled to be published in the Federal Register on February 8, informs MoneyControl.

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