President Trump keen on introducing new wages levels for H1-B visas


For several months the Trump administration has been thinking of introducing a new wage level of the H1-B program.

Recently, the Department of Labor has submitted to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) for its review, a draft regulation to restructure wage levels and requirements in the H-1B visa program. According to Fragomen, a global immigration law firm, the regulation will be issued as an interim final rule, with immediate or near-immediate impact.

The administration is trying to get a stronger hold of the immigration process by restricting employers and other members of the public would to provide public feedback before the rule takes effect.

The OMB office serves the US President in overseeing the implementation of his vision, across the executive branch. A review by OMB is generally the last step before an interim regulation is published and implemented.

Once OMB clears the regulation, it will be published in the Federal Register and is expected to take effect immediately or shortly after publication.

The regulation may be challenged in court, adds Fragomen. As reported earlier by TOI, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is in parallel, moving forward on its own interim final rule as regards the H-1B program.

The DHS rule is likely to change the key definitions of H-1B specialty occupation, H-1B employment and employer-employee relationship and may build in strictures for placement of H-1B workers at third-party client sites.

H-1B visas are a very popular work visa, especially for Indians in the technology sector. According to official data, Indians had bagged 2.78 lakh or nearly 72% of the total H-1B visas allotted during the fiscal ended September 30, 2019.

The largest sponsoring employers include leading MNCs and also Indian headquartered tech companies. The proposed rules will create challenges in hiring of H-1B workers and could impact Indian aspirants adversely.

Immigration experts are of the view that the new rules could be introduced before the November elections, but are open to challenge in courts