To enhance the efficiency and integrity of the H-1B foreign worker program, the Biden administration has announced a series of changes. These modifications aim to simplify eligibility criteria, provide greater flexibility for F-1 students, entrepreneurs, and those affiliated with nonprofit organizations, and reduce potential misuse and fraud.
The H-1B non-immigrant visa program is a crucial tool for US employers, allowing them to temporarily employ foreign workers with specialized skills, typically requiring at least a bachelor’s degree.
The proposed changes are designed to maintain the competitiveness of the US in the global job market while ensuring compliance with US labor regulations.
One of the key changes includes modifying the H1B registration selection process. Under the new rules, each individual would have a single entry in the selection process, regardless of the number of registrations submitted on their behalf.
This change aims to prevent misuse and fraud by prohibiting related entities from submitting multiple registrations for the same beneficiary.
The proposed rules also seek to offer beneficiaries more options between legitimate job offers and clarify the criteria for specialty occupation positions by aligning required degree fields with job duties.
In addition, adjudicators would defer to prior determinations if no relevant facts have changed, providing more certainty and consistency in the decision-making process.
The Biden administration is also extending certain exemptions to the H-1B cap for nonprofit entities, governmental research organizations, and beneficiaries not directly employed by a qualifying organization.
This move will grant more flexibility to F-1 visa students seeking to transition to H-1B status and introduce new eligibility requirements for aspiring entrepreneurs.
To further safeguard the program’s integrity, the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will be allowed to conduct site visits, potentially resulting in petition denial or revocation in cases of non-compliance.
These changes, scheduled for publication by the USCIS on October 23, 2023, are part of the administration’s commitment to attracting global talent while maintaining the mandated annual cap of 60,000 visas.
The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is actively seeking public input to refine the program’s efficiency and benefits for employers and workers.
The Biden administration believes that these measures will significantly improve the H-1B program’s integrity and benefit both US employers and foreign workers.