Articles Posted in H-1B Visa

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) will issue a final rule on Wednesday, May 19th, that will remove the interim final rule (IFR) issued on October 8, 2020, Strengthening the H-1B Nonimmigrant Visa Classification Program which was put in place by the Trump Administration. On December 1, 2020, the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California vacated that IFR. This new final rule restores the regulatory text as it appeared before the October 8, 2020 IFR.

Please view this USCIS News Alert for more details: DHS Issues Final Rule to Remove Vacated H-1B Rule from Code of Federal Regulations

Source of Information:

Biden Administration is withdrawing the USCIS Final Rule Strengthening H-1B Nonimmigrant Visa Classification Program!

Last week, the new White House Chief of Staff, Ronald Klain issued a memorandum to the heads of executive departments and agencies within the Federal Government and directs them to freeze any pending regulatory changes until reviewed. This Regulatory Freeze calls for 1) all rules pending at the Federal Register that have not been published must be immediately withdrawn and 2) agencies must “consider” postponing the effective dates for regulations that have been published, but not yet taken effect, for 60 days from the memo’s date. As a result, the USCIS Final Rule Strengthening H-1B Nonimmigrant Visa Classification Program will be withdrawn along with others. As we find out more on this subject, we will post it!

 

Whitehouse.gov, 1/20/21, Briefing Room Memorandum: Regulatory Freeze Pending Review

USCIS announced that they have published the final rule in the Federal Register, implicating the Trump Administration’s modifications to the H-1B Visa Program! These changes will affect H-1B cap selection process, amend current lottery procedures, and prioritize (increase) wages!

Joseph Edlow, USCIS Deputy Director for Policy stated, “The current H-1B random selection process makes it difficult for businesses to plan their hiring, fails to leverage the program to compete for the best and brightest international workforce, and has predominately resulted in the annual influx of foreign labor placed in low-wage positions at the expense of U.S. workers.”

For complete details, please review USCIS News Release, “USCIS Modifies H-1B Selection Process to Prioritize Wages”.

The Trump administration announced additional immigration reforms on Tuesday, October 6th, making it more difficult for skilled foreign workers to acquire visas, specifically, the H-1b visa. The rule will take effect in 60 days and was done without a public comment period! It was done as an interim final rule (IFR), in order to speed up the process.

Changes made by the new rules:

  • Narrow the definition of “specialty occupation” by redefining and updating regulations

The Trump administration announced additional immigration reforms on Tuesday, October 6th, making it more difficult for skilled foreign workers to acquire visas, specifically, the H-1b visa. The rule will take effect in 60 days and was done without a public comment period! It was done as an interim final rule (IFR), in order to speed up the process.

Changes made by the new rules:

  • Narrow the definition of “specialty occupation” by redefining and updating regulations

On Thursday, November 7th, USCIS announced as part of the final rule for the H-1B electronic registration system, they will be charging a non-refundable $10 fee for each H-1B petitioned by an employer. This $10 registration fee will not start until the USCIS implements the electronic registration system.

For further details please review the USCIS News Release, “USCIS Implements $10 Fee for H-1B Visa Registration”.

*The H-1B program allows companies in the United States to temporarily employ foreign workers in occupations that require the application of a body of highly specialized knowledge and a bachelor’s degree or higher in the specific specialty, or its equivalent.

On Monday, April 3rd, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced further measures to deter and detect H-1B visa fraud and abuse. USCIS feels they are protecting the American worker by combating fraud in our H-1B nonimmigrant visa program and has made that a priority.

USCIS will take a more targeted approach when making site visits across the country to H-1B petitioners and the worksites of H-1B employees. By filing an H-1B petition with the USCIS, an employer is giving the agency the authority to conduct random site visits to ensure compliance with the rules and regulations governing the H1B nonimmigrant visa program.

USCIS will focus on:

On Friday, December 18, 2015, President Obama signed into law the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2016 (Public Law 114-113). Part of this new law includes fee increases for certain H-1B and L-1 petitioners. These petitioners must submit an additional fee of $4,000 for certain H-1B petitions and $4,500 for certain L-1A and L-1B petitions postmarked on or after December 18, 2015.

The additional fees apply to petitioners who employ 50 or more employees in the United States, with more than 50 percent of those employees in H-1B or L (including L-1A and L-1B) nonimmigrant status.

Petitioners must submit the additional fees when filing their H-1B or L-1 petitions for initial grants of status and when a beneficiary is transferring status to a new employer. Extensions of Status are not subject to the additional fees required under Public Law 114-113.

USCIS is alerting applicants that certain H-1B and L-1 petitions filed on or after October 1, 2015, should not include the additional Public Law filing fee that was previously required by Section 402 of Public Law 111-230, as amended by Public Law 111-347 (for certain H-1B and L-1 petitions). The additional fee required by Public Law 111-230, as amended, expired on September 30, 2015.

Be aware that all other H-1B and L-1 filing fees, including the Base filing fee, the Fraud Prevention and Detection filing fee, and American Competitiveness and Workforce Improvement Act of 1998 (ACWIA) filing fee when applicable, are still required. USCIS prefers separate checks for each filing fee!

Note: Petitions with incorrect fees may be rejected.

The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) have published two web pages with guidance for H-4 dependent spouses on their web site. This information can be used to help those who are eligible and want to apply for employment authorization under the Employment Authorization for Certain H-4 Dependent Spouses final rule.

You can view the information on:

• The Employment Authorization for Certain H-4 Dependent Spouses Web page, and • The list of Frequently Asked Questions that we have compiled since we announced the H-4 rule in February.

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