The US Department of Homeland Security has set out a plan to change the H1B visa intake process. It also aims to re-calibrate the requirements of educational qualification which count towards the annual stream of 65,000 visas. This measure will filter more candidates holding a Bachelor’s Degree from the H1 B Program. Another aim is to raise the probability of Master’s degree holders from US to fill up total available slots. As a result it will squeeze incoming batches in the future.
Opinion of immigration experts and analysts
As per the immigration experts and analysts, the new details continue the trend of the Trump era. At present there are challenges like tough entry criteria, a very high bar for visa extensions, the reality of limited negotiation for better jobs, and a constant threat of the end date on the H1B.
The proposed rule will prioritize applicants, who have an advanced degree, from US institutions, over the candidates who have similar degrees from Overseas Institutions. Additionally, employers who file for H1B visas would have to pre-register with the USCIS. This will allow the lottery to go ahead without a full petition. Moreover the phase of supporting documentation follows after the random selections are complete.
30-days for public comments
There is a 30-day period for public comments beginning from 3rd December after the proposal is published officially in the Federal Register.
The annual H1B visa lottery has a regular stream with 65,000 visas and the stream of cap-exemptions with 20,000 visas for people having advanced degrees. It will basically increase the probability of an Advanced Degree Holder to get selected in the overall lottery.
Overload in the random lottery process
DHS believes that the US Citizenship and Immigration Services, faces a struggle with an overload in the random lottery process. USCIS receives more than 100,000 cap-subject petitions made in the first few days of the H-1B of the filing period. It received 198,460 petitions (2017), 236,444 (2016), and 232,973 (2015), in the first five days of the filing period.
The explanation of DHS is that USCIS selects qualifying petitions in the H-1B advanced degree exemption at first. H-1B cap-related petitions that are eligible for the advanced degree exemption, but are not selected in the category of advanced degree exemption, are included subsequently.
Effect of the proposed amendments
Additionally as per the proposed amendments, USCIS will select all registrations, to fill up the projected number of petitions necessary, to meet the regular cap first. After reaching the projected number of registrations necessary to meet the regular cap, USCIS will select eligible registrations, for the Advanced Degree Exemption, till reaching the projected registrations necessary.
The note from DHS clearly mentions that changing the accepting and selecting order of H1B petitions, will lead to an increase of the total applications, selected in the regular cap, meant for H-1B beneficiaries, possessing a master’s or higher degree, from an institution based in the U.S, every fiscal year.
Overall effects of this measure
Moreover, this process will decrease the selection of total petitions for H-1B beneficiaries who have less than a master’s degree from U.S. or from overseas institutions of education.
Several users of the H1B visa resource pool today experience various staffing issues. They are unable to get the required skilled people. They are moving much of their work to locations nearer to the US, or to new European destinations. Canada and Budapest are popular alternative destinations, owing to the present arrangement in the Trump era.
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