In what comes as a major blow to employees working on an H1B visa in the United States, the Donald Trump-led administration has announced that it would soon announce major changes that will likely change the definition of specialty occupations under H-1B visas. Furthermore, the new proposals will also revise the definition of employment under this foreign work visa category.
The H-1B visa is a non-immigrant visa that allows US companies to hire foreign workers for special job posts that require theoretical or technical expertise. The Trump administration is reviewing the H-1B visa policy to ensure that it is not misused by companies to replace American workers.
The latest move, which has been announced as part of the Unified Fall Agenda of the Trump administration, is expected to have a bad impact on Indian IT companies and small and medium-sized contractual IT sector firms running in the country which are mostly owned by Indian Americans.
According to The Department of Homeland Security (DHS), the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) is planning to come out with its new proposal by January 2019. It is believed that revising the definition of specialty occupation will help in obtaining the most expertise foreign nationals via the H-1B programme.
The DHS said that making changes in the definition of employment and the employer-employee relationship will help better protect US workers and wages. The regulatory body will also reportedly propose additional requirements to ensure H-1B visa holders are paid appropriate wages by their employers.
In addition, the DHS is planning to remove regulations that make certain H-4 spouses of H-1B non-immigrants as a class of aliens eligible for employment authorization. The department is also finalizing its interim regulations governing petitions filed on behalf of alien workers subject to the annual numerical limitations applicable to the H1-B non-immigrant classification. The rule will prevent an individual from filing duplicate petitions on behalf of the same alien temporary worker.
Establishing an electronic registration programme for H1B applications will further allow USCIS to efficiently manage the intake and lottery process for such petitions, the DHS said.