DHS Announces Final Rule for H-1B Visa Program

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced plans to amend regulations for H-1B cap-subject petitions. This includes petitions eligible for the advanced degree exemption. This final rule will reverse the order U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) selects H-1B petitions under the cap and advanced degree exemption.

USCIS will now utilize an electronic registration requirement for petitioners who want to file H-1B cap-subject petitions. The new rule was published in the Federal Register on January, 31st and will go into effect on April, 1st. USCIS says the electronic registration requirement will be suspended for the fiscal year (FY) 2020 cap season.

Speaking about the new H-1B regulations, USCIS Director L. Francis Cissna said:

“These simple and smart changes are a positive benefit for employers, the foreign workers they seek to employ, and the agency’s adjudicators, helping the H-1B visa program work better. The new registration system, once implemented, will lower overall costs for employers and increase government efficiency. We are also furthering President Trump’s goal of improving our immigration system by making a simple adjustment to the H-1B cap selection process. As a result, U.S. employers seeking to employ foreign workers with a U.S. master’s or higher degree will have a greater chance of selection in the H-1B lottery in years of excess demand for new H-1B visas.”

How Does the New Process Work?

Beginning April, 1st, USCIS will start its selection process for H-1B petitions submitted on behalf of all beneficiaries. USCIS will then select a number projected to reach the advanced degree exemption from the remaining eligible petitions. Switching the order in which petitions are selected is expected to increase the number of petitions for beneficiaries with a master’s or other type of advanced degree. According to early estimates, the change will result in a 16% increase in selected petitions of H-1B beneficiaries with a master’s degree or higher.

Why Is the Selection Process Changing?

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) initiated the changes after President Trump issued the Buy American and Hire American Executive Order on April 18th, 2017. The order instructs DHS to “propose new rules and issue new guidance, to supersede or revise previous rules and guidance if appropriate, to protect the interests of U.S. workers in the administration of our immigration system.”

The H-1B program was specifically mentioned in the executive order, which demanded DHS and other agencies “suggest reforms to help ensure that H-1B visas are awarded to the most-skilled or highest-paid petition beneficiaries.” 

Cleveland H1-B Visa Attorneys

Do you need help with your H-1B petition? Do you have more questions about how the new DHS changes will impact your H-1B petition? Visit our law office today to discuss your case with our compassionate and experienced team of attorneys. We can assess your situation and build a strong strategy that will allow you to secure a fair outcome.

Call (888) 491-8770 to request your consultation with our Cleveland immigration lawyers.