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H-1B, What's New?

Updated: Jul 6, 2021

"Change is a constant flux". No quote can be more relatable for individuals residing in the United States right now. Residents in the US have seen drastic changes in recent times, from adjusting to a new normal as a result of covid-19, to top administration shuffles, and the visa rules are no exception. The recent extension of the Presidential Executive Order of June 22, 2020 (Proclamation Suspending Entry of Aliens Who Present a Risk to the U.S. Labor Market Following the Coronavirus Outbreak), which was initially set to expire on December 31, 2020, to March 31, 2021 leaves behind more cloud of uncertainty for visa hopefuls. This order suspends new visas and entry for H-1B temporary workers, certain J-1 exchange visitors, and their H-4 or J-2 family members. Although, the incoming Biden administration could suspend this order, it is not clear if or when this will happen at this time.

Also, just recently the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) published a final rule titled, Modification of Registration Requirement for Petitioners Seeking To File Cap-Subject H-1B Petitioners. This rule eliminates the random lottery for H-1B cap-subject petitions and replaces it with a process that makes selections by wage level within the profession (DHS Publishes Final Rule To End H-1B Visa Lottery). Higher wage levels will be selected first. This rule is supposed to take effect on March 9, 2021, and does not impact cap-exempt employers (higher education, government, and non-profit H-1Bs). There's also a possibility that the rule will be suspended by the Biden administration, however, it is also not clear if that would happen at this time.

Written by: Prince Ochonma

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