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How Will the Biden Administration Actually Tweak the H-1B Visa?

Kelly Lee
Digital Content Specialist

The Biden administration nonetheless desires to tweak the H-1B program.

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Companies (USCIS) has a much-delayed proposal (now scheduled for Could 2023) that would alter the definition of the H-1B employer-employee relationship, and tweak essential tips reminiscent of employer website visits and F-1 college students altering their standing to H-1B. In keeping with SHRM (which has a pleasant breakdown on the subject), the proposal may also “make clear the requirement that an amended or new H-1B visa petition be filed if there are materials modifications to employment, together with a brand new worksite location.”

Through the Trump administration, USCIS launched a extra stringent evaluate coverage for the visa that elevated the speed of software denials; by fiscal yr 2018, the H-1B denial charge spiked to 24 %. As well as, Trump tried to reform the H-1B lottery system to favor candidates with increased salaries and superior levels.

After Trump left workplace, the Biden administration signaled that it will develop and implement its personal H-1B insurance policies, together with a proposal to prioritize H-1B visas based mostly on increased wages. As time handed, nevertheless, the brand new administration didn’t announce something substantial, selecting as a substitute to give attention to different points reminiscent of COVID-19, inflation, and worldwide affairs. Within the interim, some Trump-era immigration insurance policies expired and the H-1B denial charge plunged to 4 %.

The massive query is what USCIS’s proposal will supply up when it comes to tactical reforms. Final yr, Biden’s first regulatory agenda advised a “modernization” of H-1B necessities, however particulars have been scarce. At across the identical time, Division of Justice attorneys argued to protect Trump-era Homeland Safety guidelines about H-1B wages, together with that wage-based choice would align as a lot with the legislation as the present, randomized lottery. Will Biden’s folks in the end push for extra radical change, or simply some tweaks (with the preservation of some Trump administration work)?

Within the meantime, the heated debate over H-1B visas continues. Critics of this system insist that tech firms misuse the visa to import comparatively low-cost labor into the US; in the meantime, advocates argue that visas are a certain method to ease the nation’s tech expertise scarcity.

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