The Biden administration has announced that it will delay the previous Trump administration’s H-1B policy regarding the allocation of the popular overseas work visas by keeping the lottery system in place until December 31, 2021 to allow immigration more time to develop and review to enter and implement the changes to the registration system.
On January 7, the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) announced that it would be abolishing the traditional lottery system in deciding who are successful applicants for H-1B visas.
The H-1B visa is a nonimmigrant visa that U.S. companies can use to employ foreign workers in specialized occupations that require theoretical or technical expertise. The tech companies rely on hiring tens of thousands of employees from countries like India and China every year.
USCIS announced that it would prioritize wages to protect the economic interests of American workers and better ensure that the best-qualified foreign workers benefit from the temporary employment program.
In a statement on Thursday, USCIS said it is delaying the effective date of the rule until December 31, 2021. The Trump-era rule was due to go into effect on March 9th.
“In order to give USCIS more time to develop, test, and implement changes to the H-1B registration system and selection process, DHS is delaying the effective date of this final rule from March 9, 2021 to December 31, 2021.” said.
This is because there is insufficient time to complete system development, thoroughly test the changes, train staff, and reach the public necessary to effectively and properly implement the final H1B selection rule by Ensure the start of the initial registration period in the upcoming fiscal year (FY) 2022 H-1B cap season, the USCIS said.
The delay will also give USCIS more time to train staff and do public relations, as well as giving stakeholders time to adjust to the new rule. For the upcoming H-1B cap season, USCIS will apply the current regulations (randomly selected) to any registration period that occurs before December 31, 2021, the statement said.
On Jan. 7, USCIS argued that the abolition of the lottery system and its replacement with a performance-based and wage-based system would encourage employers to either offer higher salaries or apply for a more skilled position, or both. This will create a safer plan for companies to attract staff and remain globally competitive. A formal federal notice was issued on January 8th.
“The current randomization process for H-1B makes it difficult for companies to plan their recruitment, does not use the program to compete for the best and brightest international workforce, and has resulted in predominantly annual influx of low-paid foreign workers at the expense of the positions US workers, “said Joseph Edlow, USCIS deputy director of politics.
USCIS can issue a maximum of 65,000 H-1B visas per year. It can also issue an additional 20,000 H-1B visas for overseas students who have graduated from a US university with a degree in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM).
A formal notification is to be published in the federal register on February 8th.
“During the delay while USCIS addresses implementation-related issues, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) leadership will also evaluate the January 8th rule and associated guidelines, as is typical for agencies at the start of a new administration is, “he told The Federal Notice to be released Feb. 8.
The DHS aims to ensure the proper and efficient management of the H-1B numerical assignments and avoid disruption to the regulated public by taking sufficient time to fully modify and thoroughly test the changes to the H-1B registration system and technical risks This results from a condensed test plan and gives the regulated public ample time to familiarize themselves with these changes to facilitate full compliance with the new legal requirements.
DHS believes that a longer delay is needed to avoid the confusion and differential treatment of registrants that would arise if a new rule were introduced during the initial registration period or a subsequent registration and selection period for the numeric assignments for fiscal year 2022 would come into effect. especially if USCIS has to open a later registration period later this year to ensure full use of the numeric allocations for fiscal year 2022.
On December 31 last year, then-President Donald Trump extended the freeze of the most sought-after H-1B visas along with other types of overseas work visas for three months to March 31, affecting a large number of Indian IT professionals who have visas issued were approved by the U.S. government for fiscal 2021.
Joe Biden had promised to lift the suspension of H-1B visas and said Trump’s immigration policies were cruel.