H-1B visa: Trump administration proposes new wage-based selection system

The Trump administration has proposed a new stricter system for H-1B visa selection. If the proposed system is approved, the lottery-based selection system will cease to exist.

The Donald Trump-led US administration has proposed to scrap the computerise lottery system to grant H-1B work visas to foreign technology professionals and replace it with a new system based on wage level.

According to a PTI news report, the US administration has proposed the move as it is expected to counter the downward pressure on the wages of US workers. A notification regarding the new system is being published in the Federal Register on Tuesday, added the report.

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) said on Wednesday that stakeholders have 30 days to respond to the notification. It may be noted that the proposal comes less than a week before the US presidential election.

How will it be different?

The proposed system will replace the computerised lottery system to decide on the successful H-1B applicants. The DHS said it is expected to counter the downward pressure on the wages of American workers that is created by an annual influx of relatively lower-paid, new cap-subject H-1B workers.

It is worth mentioning that the H-1B visa is sought after by most India IT professionals. It is a non-immigrant visa that allows US companies to employ foreign workers in speciality occupations that require theoretical or technical expertise.

If the proposed plan is finalised, US Citizenship and Immigration Services would indulge in greater scrutiny of H-1B applications. It would first select registrations or petitions, based on the highest Occupational Employment Statistics prevailing wage level.ADVERTISEMENT

By this process, it will be ensured that the offered wage equals or exceeds for the relevant Standard Occupational Classification code and areas of intended employment.

“Prioritisation and selection based on wage levels better balances the interests of petitioners, H-1B workers, and US workers,” the DHS said.

“With this proposed rule, the Trump administration is continuing to deliver on its promise to protect the American worker while strengthening the economy. The H-1B programme is often exploited and abused by US employers, and their US clients, primarily seeking to hire foreign workers and pay lower wages,” said Acting DHS Deputy Secretary Ken Cuccinelli.

“The current use of random selection to allocate H-1B visas makes it harder for businesses to plan their hiring, fails to leverage the H-1B programme to truly compete for the world’s best and brightest, and hurts American workers by bringing in relatively lower-paid foreign labour at the expense of the American workforce,” Cuccinelli added.

The DHS said that the new modification in the selection process will help in better allocation of H-1B visas and also incentivise employers to offer higher wages or petition for positions requiring higher skills and higher-skilled workers instead of using the programme to fill relatively lower-pace vacancies.

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