The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has published the final rule that makes significant changes to how it will choose which H-1B visa applications it will grant that are subject to an annual cap. H-1B visas historically have allowed U.S. employers to hire highly specialized foreign national employees in industries like biotechnology, but the number of visas available each year is limited to 65,000, plus an additional 20,000 spots for foreign nationals with advanced degree from U.S. colleges and universities. Changes to the rule became effective on April 1, 2019 and are designed to prioritize those foreign nationals with American advanced degrees, reduce the overall costs of the H-1B visa program, and further protect the jobs of U.S. workers.
Before the changes to the rule, the 20,000 slots designated for advanced degree-holders were filled first, followed by the remaining 65,000 visas. Now, the randomized selection process will be used to first fill the general 65,000 visas, followed by the 20,000 designated slots. DHS officials forecast that the rule changes could result in up to 5,340 additional postgraduate degree-holders from American educational institutions filling these spots than before.
This is only one of several changes that DHS intends to implement by the end of the 2019 to ensure that H-1B visas are granted only to the most highly specialized foreign workers. For example, DHS also intends to launch an online portal for employers to participate in the H-1B visa process, including the completion of an extensive questionnaire. By 2020, employers also must file a separate petition for each foreign national whom they intend to hire, as opposed to the current practice. No matter the type of immigration issue you are facing, the skilled and knowledgeable immigration lawyers of Peek & Toland are here to assist you. We handle many different types of immigration cases every day and have the kind of strategic experience and skills that are necessary to reach the desired outcome. By calling our office as quickly as possible after your legal issue arises, we will have the best opportunity to successfully resolve your immigration law case.