The administration of President Donald Trump has proposed to put an end to the current computerised lottery system that is used to grant H-1B work visas and use a wage-level-based selection process instead, the Department of Homeland and Security (DHS) has announced.
According to the DHS, the new selection process which will give priority to the jobs with higher salaries is planned to be imposed in order to protect the economic interests of the United States workers, while permitting US employers to meet their personal needs, VisaGuide.World reports.
“With this proposed rule, the Trump administration is continuing to deliver on its promise to protect the American worker while strengthening the economy. The H-1B program is often exploited and abused by US employers, and their US clients, primarily seeking to hire foreign workers and pay lower wages,” the Acting DHS Deputy Secretary Ken Cuccinelli said regarding the proposal.
He asserted that the random selection to allocate H-1B visas makes it more difficult for businesses to plan their hiring while stressing that it hurts American workers “by bringing in relatively lower-paid foreign labour at the expense of the American workforce.”
The Department for Homeland and Security has estimated the new selection process is a better way to allocate H-1B visas when demand exceeds supply. However, analysts consider that it could restrict talent movement by Indian IT services companies. Such concerns have been raised as the new rule is set to rank petitions on the highest wage offered by employers.
Through the H-1B non-immigrant visa, companies in America are eligible to employ internationals in occupations that require technical or theoretical expertise. Examples of jobs included on the H-1B non-immigrant visa are architects, IT specialists, professors, accountants, doctors, lawyers etc. IT professionals from India are among the most interested ones for this kind of visa.
A Person in Specialty Occupation Visa is selected by a computer-run lottery when the number of field applications exceeds the quota during the first week. The limit of H-1B visas set by the United States Congress is 65,000 visas annually. After that, the visas must be approved by the US Citizenship and Immigration Services, on a first-come-first-served basis, beginning April 1, each year.
A notification with the Federal Register to prioritise the selection of H-1B applications based on corresponding wage levels was submitted on Wednesday by the Department of Homeland and Security.
“If USCIS has received more petitions than necessary to meet the numerical limitation for the H-1B regular cap, USCIS will rank and select the petitions received on the basis of the highest Occupational Employment Statistics (OES) wage level that the proffered wage equals or exceeds for the relevant Standard Occupational Classification (SOC) code in the area of intended employment,” Trump’s administration statement reads.
DHS previously proposed not to issue temporary business visas to skilled internationals for H-1B speciality occupations in the US. The proposal was introduced on October 22. Whereas, earlier on October 6, President Trump’s administration had revealed other changes to the H-1B non-immigrant visa programme for high-skilled workers.
During the same month, DHS also introduced its long-warned interim final rule, presenting the amendments of some regulations to the H-1B program, in an effort to “strengthen the visa classification program.”
The interim final rule changes clarified that the definition of “speciality occupation” will be changed in order to better align with this term; adding other words such as “worksite” and “third-party worksite”, to help specify the name.