Sat. Dec 4th, 2021

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Biden Administration Lifts Rule to Narrow H-1B Definition of “Specialty Occupation”

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H-1B Quota

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has officially removed the rule that would have redefined the H-1B specialty occupation. Also, the rule was set to restrict the off-site replacement of H-1B employees and increase employer compliance requirements.

On 20th May 2021, the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), gave an assertion affirming that the DHS has removed the Interim Final Rule gave in October 2020, which has since been vacated by a federal district court.

This rule was challenged before the federal court, where the DHS abused the Administrative Procedures Act and neglected to provide legitimate grounds to bypass the notice and comment steps in the rulemaking process. Presently, the DHS has altogether removed it from the Code of Federal Rules.

The Rule Seeking to Narrow Specialty Occupation

In October 2020, the Trump government gave an order looking to narrow the definition of specialty occupation. The government said that U.S. organizations could utilize the visa program to extend real offers to real employees. The change was expected to deter employers from recruiting foreigners only for low-cost reasons and encourage employers to employ qualified Americans.

Under the proposed rule, a bachelor’s degree in and of itself was not sufficient to comply with the definition of a specialty occupation. Instead, the bachelor’s degree should be in a field specifically related to the job.

The H-1B Visa

Each fiscal year, the U.S. grants 85,000 of the most coveted H-1B, Petition for Nonimmigrant Worker visas. U.S. employers hire qualified foreign workers after exhausting their recruitment efforts to find someone within the U.S.

[Huge Impact of U.S. COVID Travel Ban on India]

Consistent with the basic insight, around 70% of H-1B visas go to Indian professionals. These visas are utilized mostly by giant tech companies such as Google, Intel, Amazon, Microsoft, etc. Indian-origin organizations that have subsidiaries in the U.S. also depend on the H-1B workforce to fill their staffing needs.

Other H-1B Related Actions by the Biden Administration

The Biden government ended the ban on entry for H-1B visa holders. Given the staggering impact of the COVID situation on the labor market and the economy, a ban was apparently set up restricting the entry of H-1B visas from outside the U.S. Also, the Biden government withdrew the proposed rule denying work authorization to spouses of H-1B visa holders.

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