US proposes welcome changes to H1B visas, and targets skilled and top paid workers - December 01, 2018

US proposes welcome changes to H1B visas, and targets skilled and top paid workers

The Trump administration proposes to make a few major changes in the H-1B application process. Here the aim is to grant this visa to the top skilled and highly paid foreign workers. In a proposed rule based on merit, companies which employ overseas workers, on the H-1B visa, based on the annual cap, as per the mandate of the Congress, need to register with the US Citizenship and Immigration Services electronically during a specific registration period. The H1-B visa presently has an annual cap of 65,000 visas in a fiscal year.

New rules set in

The first 20,000 petitions filed to determine the beneficiaries having a US master's or higher degree get Cap exemption. The U.S.C.I.S. now proposes to reverse the order permitting it to select H-1B petitions in the H-1B cap and the advanced degree exemption. This will increase the number of overseas workers having a master's or higher degree from US institutions to gain a selection for an H-1B cap number. The proposed rule is set to introduce a meritorious selection of beneficiaries. The Public can submit comments on this new from December 3rd to January 2nd 2019.

Presently, the advanced degree exemption is selected before the H-1B cap.  Additionally, the target of the H-1B cap and the advanced degree exemption are fulfilled in the first five days of H-1B cap petitions filing.  This rule will reverse the selection order, and also count all registrations/petitions to the numbers projected as per the need of reaching the H-1B cap first. After selecting a sufficient number of registrations/petitions for the H-1B cap, the U.S.C.I.S. will select registrations/petitions to meet the advanced degree exemption.

A boost to the chances of beneficiaries

The proposal for change will boost the chances of beneficiaries possessing a master's or higher degree from an institution based in US to gain a selection in the H-1B cap. The top skilled and highly paid beneficiaries will get the H-1B visas. In the new process around 16 percent or 5,340 workers will benefit and increase their share in the selection of H-1B beneficiaries having a US master's or higher degree.

Moreover, The U.S.C.I.S. has the expectation that a shift to electronic registration will reduce overall costs for petitioners. Additionally the petition process will be more efficient and cost-effective. The rule will also help to lessen huge administrative burdens on the agency. It will not need to receive and handle thousands of H-1B petitions and supporting documentation physically prior to conducting the selection process.

Aim to reduce the waiting time

The measure will go a long way to reduce the waiting time for Cap Selection Notifications. The rule also limits the filing of petitions to the beneficiary whose name exists on the original selected registration. This will protect the integrity of the registration system.

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