IT companies based in the US will now have it harder to hire and bring foreign professionals to the country under the H1-B visa. According to the latest reports, the Trump administration has set new rules for H-1B petitioners, who will now have to pre-register electronically for the annual H-1B lottery. Then, only the lottery winners would have to subsequently file the petitions.
Though the move will help the companies hiring foreign professionals to save significantly, it will still give more freedom to the USCIS to decide who can or cannot work in the US.
In addition, this week, on November 19, the US Department of Labor (DOL) began requiring from H-1B petitioners to use a new application form. The new labor certification form called Form ETA 9035 requires employers to indicate whether H-1B workers will be placed at third party (client) worksites, details of the number of workers at each site and the names and addresses of their clients.
Experts: The program is discouraging and can be abused
Vic Goel, the managing partner of Goel & Anderson, said in an interview for Forbes that the purpose of this new requirement is to discourage applicants.
“This revision to the labor condition application is nothing more than an attempt to discourage contracting out for services by US companies whose contractors employ H-1B professionals,” Goel said.
David H Nachman, the managing attorney at NPZ Law Group, believes that the pre-registration program has the potential for abuse because the ‘fair and random H-1B lottery’ may be relegated to a closely guided and criteria-driven process.
“The data-sets available may be filtered to choose only those H-1B petitions which do not require third-party placements. Or to select petitions of sponsoring companies that only have a certain number or less of foreign employees. It could result in a discriminatory process for choosing which companies get H-1B visas,” explains Nachman.
The move is expected to affect mostly Indian applicants, who annually make more than 60% of H-1B visa applicants.