The Trump Administration has recently issued two new rules that are expected to make it harder for US companies to employ foreign talents on an H-1B non-immigrant visa.
The move, with less than a month to go for the US Presidential election, is likely to hurt technology professionals inside the U.S who are waiting for their visas.
The latest changes for H-1B visa
The latest changes made in the law by the US Department of Homeland Security and Department of Labor (DHS) include a change in the definition of a specialty occupation and employee-employer relationship, as well as limited the validity of an H-1B visa to one year – instead of a three-year visa.
The rules allow for increased workplace monitoring to improve compliance, and the minimum wage levels at which H-1B employees can be hired have also been increased significantly.
Just the week before this new regulation was announced, a US Court had overthrown President Donald Trump’s June Proclamation barring the entry of people holding non-immigrant work permits like the H-1B and L-1 visas till the end of the year. Another court blocked a proposed hike in visa fees a few days before they came into effect on October 2nd, 2020.
However, these new H1-B rules will impact US companies, especially those in the tech industry as they rely heavily on foreign talents from Asian countries like India.
According to the IT industry lobby- Nasscom-these changes to the H-1B program will harm the US economy by restricting access to talent and slowing research and development into solutions to tackle the Covid-19 pandemic.
“These regulations seem to be based on misinformation about the program and run counter-productive to their very objective of saving the American economy and jobs. This is particularly relevant at a time when US businesses continue to face a huge deficit of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) skills: overall US unemployment rate grew from 4.1% in Jan-2020 to 8.4% in August-2020; while unemployment in computer occupations declined from 3% to 2.5% in this period,” A statement issued by Nasscom said.
As the H1-B regulations continue to tighten, it has become evident that companies will need to hire foreign talents on an O-1 Visa as the regulations for this visa category remains the same as it was five years ago.
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