A US court recently overturned the last two changes to the H-1B visa program initiated by the previous US government led by US President Donald Trump. The changes would have significantly restricted the ability of US companies to hire foreign workers including Indian nationals.
The previous government had brought in several changes to the H-1B visa program specifically introduced a month before the Presidential elections in November’20. The court ruling means that it is unlikely to be implemented which seems like good news for Indian students and working professionals aspiring to move to the US for higher education and job prospects.
The judgment overturned minimum wage levels for H-1B workers that were increased by an average of 40%, effectively pricing them out of the market for several high-skill jobs. Further, the administration had changed the definition of specialty occupation, and employee-employer relationship and limited the validity of an H-1B visa for one year, instead of three, for a worker placed at third-party worksites.
This judgment to overturn the rules have been well accepted by the immigration law firms as mentioned in their statements –
“This judgment has a very important impact on businesses that were reeling under the huge increases in applicable prevailing wages for H-1B workers. The US Department of Labour (DoL) is expected to soon revert to the old method of determining prevailing wages but the judgment does not specify a timeline for this,” as per an immigration law firm partner.
As per another immigration law firm partner “Not only did the courts grant summary judgment – which is a high standard to reach – but the decision by Judge White really notes the lack of rational arguments made by the government, which probably makes the possibility of winning any appeal unlikely”.
The case disputing these changes had been filed by the US Chamber of Commerce and other industry associations and universities. Indian IT lobby group Nasscom said that it had submitted comments on behalf of thousands of member companies, objecting to the IFRs on both procedural and substantive grounds.
Just to note that the United States issues 85,000 new H-1B visas each year, of which almost 70% are bagged by Indian nationals. There are multiple positive immigration-related developments happening since the time Joe Biden’s administration started taking control of the various aspects of the US economy. All of this is really good news for international students and working professionals.
The American dream is certainly alive.
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