[October 2020] Big Change In H-1B Visa Rules in the US

Before the 2020 presidential election, US President Donald Trump made a big decision about H-1B visa. On Tuesday i.e. 6th Oct 2020, the Trump administration announced the country’s new strict H-1B visa policy i.e. “interim final rule” which will strengthen the non-immigrant work visa programme.

There, foreigners, including Indians, will have a hard time getting that visa. Because 80% of all foreigners going to work in the United States with H-1B visa are Indians.

In June 2020, President Trump announced a temporary ban on H-1B and several other foreign-worker visa types for new applicants still abroad. He justified the ban, which was set to last through the end of 2020, as a necessary measure to protect American workers who lost their jobs during the coronavirus pandemic. However, a federal judge in California last week temporarily lifted the ban on most companies that were suing to strike it down, and the State Department later announced it would halt all enforcement of the ban while litigation continues. The new rules apply to all H-1B applicants, here or abroad, and aim to set more permanent restrictions.

The H1B visa is a non-immigrant visa that allows US companies to employ foreign workers in speciality occupations that require theoretical or technical expertise.

The Department of Homeland Security announced new regulations for H-1B visas on Tuesday. Using this visa, 75,000 foreigners are allowed to work in the United States each year. Under the new rules, one-third of H1B visa applications will be rejected.

In order to bring back the integrity to the work visa regime, the DHS has announced some changes which would ensure that H-1B petitions are approved only for “qualified beneficiaries and petitioners”.

The places where skilled workers from other countries are usually recruited in the United States will also be cut. It will also keep a close eye on how much money will be paid to foreign workers.

The Trump administration explained that 500,000 U.S. citizens lost their jobs because of the influx of foreign workers using H-1B visas. This step is for their employment. The new rules will be effective 60 days from their publication in the Federal Register, which is the official journal of the US government.

Acting Deputy DHS Secretary Ken Cuccinelli told reporters that about one-third of the people who had applied for H1-B visas in recent years would be denied under the new rules, which will also limit the number of specialty occupations available under the programme.

Employers’ demand for international talent is more than what the government is accommodating, according to data from BLS and USCIS.

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