Potential setback in H-1B final rule, experts signal US immigration restrictions and higher fees – Hindustan Times

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Anticipated setback in H-1B rule signals potential US immigration restrictions: Report

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) is preparing to finalize new rules for H-1B visas with drastic implications for employers and professionals. The new rule is expected to be published and open for public comment on July 8.

Anticipated Setback in H-1B Rule Signals Potential US Immigration Restrictions: Report

Many legal experts are hopeful that the Biden administration will address contentious issues in the upcoming final rule, however, according to a Forbes report they are expecting Trump immigration restrictions to find a place in the provisions.

Timeline of the final H-1B Rule

The proposed rule was introduced by USCIS on October 23, 2023, and is currently in a comment period that will last for 60 days. It may be finalized late this year or even after the upcoming election, according to Forbes.

Key Controversial Provisions in proposed H-1B rule

Critics have focused on several controversial aspects of the proposed rule. One contentious provision would restrict positions eligible for H-1B visas by redefining specialty occupations. It restricts job descriptions to those requiring specific degrees closely related to the job with reference “directly related specific specialty”. It replicates a Trump-era rule that was blocked by courts for potentially excluding many skilled foreign professionals.

The report further highlights how most of the specialised professionals in US do not possess a degree “directly related” to a specific specialty.

Another disputed provision targets individuals with degrees in business administration, categorizing it as a general degree insufficient for specialty occupation status. This could be a big hindrance for international MBA students aiming for H-1B status and reduce the number of international students enrolling in MBA programs at U.S. universities.

Further to redefining educational qualifications the United States Department of Homeland Security (DHS) also plans to introduce a fee of $4,000 to extend an H-1B visa and a fee of $4,500 to extend an L-1 visa. At present, employers’ with over 50 employees over 50 per cent of the employees are in the H-1B or L-1 visas are levied a fee.

The US H-1B visa allows American employers to hire skilled workers from abroad for specialized roles that cannot be filled locally. Similarly, the L-1 visa enables employees to transfer from a company in their home country to a related US branch, affiliate, subsidiary, or parent company.

These visas cater to companies of all sizes, from large corporations to medium and small enterprises, facilitating the relocation of their workforce to the United States, contingent upon having a business connection there.

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