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H-1B Specialty Visa Process to be Updated

Published on : October 24, 2023

The application process might change in the future. The DHS has proposed a rule for the modernization of the main pathway to work in the United States as a skilled foreign worker.

In an official News Release dated October 20, 2023, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced that the H-1B specialty occupation worker program will be modernized by -

  • Streamlining eligibility requirements,
  • Improving program efficiency,
  • Providing more benefits and flexibility for workers and employers, and
  • Strengthening integrity measures.

An update of the regulations is being proposed in the H-1B program, the most sought-after route to work overseas in the US. The announcement of the proposed changes were made by the DHS through US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).

Why the proposed changes in the H-1B specialty occupation route?

The US is developing and implementing regulations to increase the efficiency of the immigration system. Processes are being improved for both skilled foreign workers and US employers. The priority of the government remains to -

  • Attract global talent,
  • Reduce unnecessary burdens on employers, and
  • Prevent fraud and misuse of the US immigration system.

A 60-day public comment period follows the publication of the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) that was recently published in the Federal Register.

What are the proposed changes in the H-1B program?

The main change will be in the registration process. The existing lottery system will change when applying for a H-1B visa.

H-1B Specialty Occupations | Proposed Changes 

Proposed Change

Details

H-1B registration process

Proposed:

Each unique individual with a registration will be entered into the H-1B selection process only 1 time. This will be irrespective of the total number of registrations submitted for them by their employer.

Existing:

The more registrations, the higher the chances of selection.

Eligibility requirements

There will be revision of the criteria for specialty occupations.

Clarification that a job role might allow a range of educational degrees, provided there is a direct alignment between the degree and the duties of the position.

Program efficiency

The overall efficiency of the program will be improved.

Benefits

Both the US employer and the skilled foreign worker will benefit. There will be exemptions to the H-1B cap for -

● Certain non-profit agencies,

● Government research organizations, and

● Beneficiaries not directly employed by a qualifying organization.

Flexibilities

F-1 foreign students switching to H-1B status will have greater flexibility.

Rising entrepreneurs to get new H-1B eligibility requirements.

Integrity

Strengthening integrity measures by -

● Prohibiting multiple registration for same beneficiary, and

● Conducting site visits.

 

What is the H-1B program?

H-1B visa allows US employers to hire foreign workers they require to meet their business requirements. Foreign workers are hired temporarily in specialty occupations that require highly specialized knowledge with a bachelor’s or above in that specialty or its equivalent.

Want to work overseas? Know more to plan better. Get in touch today.

Topics: USA

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