New restrictions on H-1B visa builds pressure on employers waiting for their work-visa

indica News Bureau-

The year 2020 will usher in new restrictions on H-1B visa for foreign students and employees seeking jobs in the US. The new rules are likely to decrease the number of H-1B visas in the US as the employers will be required to participate in electronic registration by paying a $10 fee and providing some information about their proposed applications.  The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) are likely to open an initial registration period from March 1 through March 20, 2020. 

According to an article carried by Forbes, these registrations then will placed in a lottery each April for the 65,000 available H-1B visas and the 20,000 cap-exempt visas for individuals with advanced degrees from U.S. colleges and universities. As a result of the ease with which employers can enter the lottery at a relatively low cost, many expect that the electronic registration process will increase the number of applicants significantly. 

However, this process could have the effect of pushing out smaller employers in favor of larger employers with more applications. According to Forbes, since details on the selection and timing of applications following the lottery have been somewhat unclear, employers anticipate time pressures to figure into the ability to submit H-1B visa applications.

The magazine further reported that a second development in 2020 is the potential impact of a new H-1B regulation. USCIS plans to publish a rule that would “revise the definition of specialty occupation . . . and revise the definition of employment and employer-employee relationship.” Employers should anticipate a far-reaching rule.

“Undoubtedly they will push the boundaries and aim for long-term, structural changes to the H-1B visa category,” said Lynden Melmed, a partner at Berry Appleman & Leiden and former Chief Counsel for USCIS, in an interview. Melmed thinks if the agency goes too far with the regulation it risks a court injunction.

Another website DesiOTP reported that various other policies that could impact H-1B visas are currently the subject of litigation, whose outcomes are uncertain at this point. One such issue relates to the Non-Speculative Work Rule, under which U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has demanded that companies provide a list of all work assignments that an H-1B visa holder will have for as many as three years into the future. This litigation is indicative of an increasing trend toward challenging H-1B visa denials in court.