The Biden administration is proposing changes in the H-1B foreign workers programme to improve efficiency by streamlining eligibility, providing more flexibility to F-1 students, entrepreneurs and those working for non-profit bodies.(Image:DC)
Washington: The Biden administration is proposing changes in the H-1B foreign workers programme to improve efficiency by streamlining eligibility, providing more flexibility to F-1 students, entrepreneurs and those working for non-profit bodies.
The rules, scheduled to be published by the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) on October 23 in the Federal Register have been proposed without changing the Congress-mandated 60,000 visa limit.
Under the current process, the more registrations that are submitted on behalf of an individual, the higher the chances of that person being selected in a lottery. Under the new proposal, each individual who has a registration submitted on their behalf would be entered into the selection process once, regardless of the number of registrations submitted on their behalf, the DHS said in a statement.
This would improve the chances that a legitimate registration would be selected by reducing or eliminating the advantage of submitting multiple registrations.
It could also give beneficiaries more choice between legitimate job offers because each registrant who submitted a registration for a selected beneficiary would have the ability to file an H-1B petition on behalf of the beneficiary, it said.
Under the proposed rule, the criteria for speciality occupation positions would be revised to reduce confusion between the public and adjudicators and to clarify that a position may allow a range of degrees, although there must be a direct relationship between the required degree field(s) and the duties of the position.
The proposed rule codifies that adjudicators generally should defer to a prior determination when no underlying facts have changed at the time of a new filing.
Under the proposed rule, certain exemptions to the H-1B cap would be expanded for certain nonprofit entities or governmental research organisations as well as beneficiaries who are not directly employed by a qualifying organisation.
The DHS would also extend certain flexibility for students on an F-1 visa when students are seeking to change their status to H-1B. Additionally, the department would establish new H-1B eligibility requirements for rising entrepreneurs.
Strengthening integrity measures in addition to changing the selection process, misuse and fraud in the H-1B registration process would be reduced by prohibiting related entities from submitting multiple registrations for the same beneficiary. The rule would also codify USCIS' authority to conduct site visits and clarify that refusal to comply with site visits may result in denial or revocation of the petition, the DHS said.
Indian American Ajay Bhutoria, a leading advocate for immigration reform welcomed the proposed 'Modernizing H-1B Requirements, Providing Flexibility in the F-1 Programme, and Programme Improvements Affecting Other Nonimmigrant Workers' regulation.
These proposed changes mark a significant step towards streamlining our immigration system and making it more accessible for highly skilled professionals and students.