USCIS replaces H-1B lottery with wage-based selection

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New rule would impact 2020 lottery unless Biden administration stops it.

In its dying days, the Trump administration has announced changes in the H-1B visa selection process for high-skilled foreign workers replacing the current lottery system with wage-based selection.

The move is likely to impact how the visa lottery is carried out in March this year unless president-elect Joe Biden rescinds or delays the implementation of the rule after taking over on Jan 20.

Indian tech professionals are the biggest beneficiaries of the current lottery system getting about two thirds of the 65,000 H-1B visas issued annually.

US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) Thursday announced a final rule to modify the H-1B cap selection process and amend current lottery procedures.

It would prioritize wages to protect the economic interests of US workers and better ensure the most highly skilled foreign workers benefit from the temporary employment program, it said.

Modifying the H-1B cap selection process will incentivize employers to offer higher salaries, and/or petition for higher-skilled positions, and establish a more certain path for businesses to achieve personnel needs and remain globally competitive, the immigration agency said.

ALSO READ: Trump extends executive order suspending H-1B till March (December 31, 2020)

“The H-1B temporary visa program has been exploited and abused by employers primarily seeking to fill entry-level positions and reduce overall business costs,” said USCIS Deputy Director for Policy Joseph Edlow.

“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 US workers.”

This effort will only affect H-1B registrations (or petitions, if the registration process is suspended) submitted by prospective petitioners seeking to file H-1B cap-subject petitions, USCIS said.

It will be implemented for both the H-1B regular cap and the H-1B advanced degree exemption, but it will not change the order of selection between the two as established by the H-1B registration final rule.

The final rule will be effective 60 days after its publication in the Federal Register, USCIS said.

DHS previously published a notice of proposed rule making on Nov. 2, 2020, and carefully considered the public comments received before deciding to publish the proposed regulations as a final rule, it said.


USCIS gives more time to respond to notices (December 21, 2020)

Indian computer programmer entitled to H-1B visa: US court (December 22, 2020)

Trump administration loses third H-1B visa case in December (December 15, 2020)

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