As part of the regulatory agenda for 2023, the US wants to modernize the H-1B visa program, something that would benefit Indian applicants.
The proposals are put forth by the Department of Homeland Security as part of the Spring Agenda.
No hiring below market rate
Another is to revise certain other regulations which will streamline the process and reduce the possibility of fraud or misuse in the H-1B registration system.
Another proposed change is to raise the prevailing wage rates for H-1B and green card holders.
An action point in US President Joe Biden’s pre-election manifesto was to curb exploitation of foreign workers, by ensuring that employers cannot hire below the market rate.
Easier for startups to hire visa holders
The DHS wants to revise the regulations related to the ‘employer-employee relationship.
While it is unclear what a revision in regulations relating to ‘employer-employee relationship’ could entail, it could be that it grants some leeway to enable start-ups to easily hire H-1B workers.
It also wants to bring in more flexibility on employment start dates in certain circumstances.
Reducing processing times
Another proposal calls for an amendment in its regulations to improve the efficiency in the processing of the Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status (Form I-485).
This is used by non-immigrant visa holders when they switch status and apply for a green card or permanent residency.
This proposal could lead to a reduction in processing times which continue to plague the system, often running into decades for applicants from India.
Long wait ahead
It should be noted that these changes are still at a proposed rule stage and if introduced, are likely to take some time to be implemented.
These proposals were originally slated for publication in December 2021, but it has been rescheduled for May 2023.
It takes several months from the date of publication for a proposal to be finally implemented.