Sun. Sep 25th, 2022

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Shift to wage-based visa selection in the US to impact international students

2 min read
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A Trump-era regulation calling to end the lottery-based system of allocating H-1B visas in favor of a wage-based visa selection system will make it harder for international students to obtain a work permit in the US, as indicated by new research.

Analysis by the National Foundation for American Policy, a non-partisan policy research organization, found that international students might be 54% more likely to get an H-1B petition under the current lottery system.

The new guideline calls to grant H-1B visas from the highest to lowest salary levels. Making it harder to work in the country after graduation.

“The rule would give a disincentive to study in the United States. At a time when new enrolment of international students has fallen significantly at US colleges,” said Stuart Anderson, executive director, NFAP. “The Biden government postponed implementation of the rule. However, has flagged support for a regulatory change that would award petitions based on salary level.”

“Selecting H-1B petitions by salary level would support those with the most experienced in the labor market. Over those with the least experience, something not present under the current lottery system,” he said.

Shift to wage-based visa selection in the US

The analysis depends on actual cases of ongoing international students and filings for H-1B petitions received from an immigration law firm. The information demonstrates the new guideline. It would have a significant negative effect on the ability of international students to get an H-1B petition.

In February, the Biden government said it was delaying the effective date of the rule to 31st December 2021. To give the USCIS time to create and test the systems needed to implement this change.

While Indians account for more than 70% of the total new H-1B visas gave every year. A few of whom are students, who after graduating work on an OPT (optional practical training) before applying for an H-1B work visa.

[USCIS Reinstates Deference to Prior Nonimmigrant Petition Adjudications]

The research said that the change would also make it harder for physicists, microbiologists, and medical scientists (among others). To acquire H-1B petition since their wages are nearer to the last two levels of the recommended H-1B wage levels. Schools as well would be not able to recruit teachers on H-1B petitions in middle school or high school. Since around 90% are paid at Level 1 or Level 2.

In 2019-20, there was a 4% drop in the total number of Indians enrolled in the US at 13,511. As per the yearly Open Doors Report on the International Student Exchange. A total of 193,124 students from India went to US colleges and universities in 2019-20.

Immigration and Customs Enforcement announced a 72% drop in new international student enrolment in the calendar year 2020 because of the pandemic. This rule would make it more challenging for universities to regain international students once things stabilize.

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