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BREAKING NEWS: MAJOR CHANGES TO H1B PROGRAM EFFECTIVE AS EARLY AS OCTOBER 8, 2020

Posted by Karen-Lee Pollak on Oct 6, 2020 9:31:08 PM

H-1BThe Trump administration announced new, long-anticipated restrictions for the H-1B high-skilled visa program on October 6, 2020, some of which will go into effect this week.  The rules are "far and away, one of the most significant reforms made to the H-1B program in the past 20 years," said Deputy Secretary of Labor Patrick Pizzella.  The rule from the Department of Labor, which will go into effect Thursday morning, will change how much employers will be required to pay foreign workers they hire on H-1B visas and Green Cards, forcing them to pay workers more.  The rule may be viewed at https://s.docworkspace.com/d/ANohAcmTk6tJqNS2uqWdFA

USCIS rules will also narrow the kinds of jobs or "specialty occupations" H-1B visa holders can be hired for and increase scrutiny for third-party outsourcing companies that rely on hiring H-1B workers.  That rule will go into effect 60 days after it is published in the Federal Register.  The Rule and summary may be viewed at https://s.docworkspace.com/d/ACPJO-eTk6tJiMy1uqWdFA     

These rules include the following:

  • Changes to the definitions of H-1B employment and the employer-employee relationship including requiring a degree in a particular field and a far more stringent test to determine the employer-employee relationship
  • Restricting offsite placement of H-1B workers at Third Parties.  The Rule limits the availability of the H-1B visa program where there is third-party placement of H-1B workers. In such cases, the H1-B visa will only be valid for one (1) year. 

Acting DHS Secretary of Homeland Security Ken Cuccinelli told reporters :“DHS estimates that about one-third of applicants would be denied under new rules... I cannot overstate how big a deal this is." It is highly likely that litigation will be filed soon to halt these rules from going into effect.  

Tags: Nonimmigrant Visas, Specialty Occupation Visa, H-1B

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