New Proposed Changes to H-1B Regulations

By: Jioselin Juarez Contreras 

Aiming to reform the current H-1B program, the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has initiated the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) for a proposed rule that will make positive changes to the current H-1B regulations. Most significantly, the proposed changes will mostly impact highly skilled foreign workers. USCIS aims to increase trust in the H-1B program, as well as add flexibilities and benefits for certain petitioners.

USCIS will accept comments through December 22, 2023.

Proposed Changes

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) clarified the changes proposed in the NPRM in a press release. Notably, the changes include:

  1. Streamlining Eligibility Requirements: New regulations would include modified conditions for specialty occupation positions. Employers will be allowed to supply a range of degrees that would be acceptable for a position, as long as that degree reasonably applies to that job duties for the H-1B position.
  2. Improving Program Efficiency: Under the new rules, adjudicators will be permitted to defer to a previous adjudication if no facts change between the previous and current filings.
  3. Providing Greater Benefits and Flexibilities for Employers and Workers: Particular exemptions to the H-1B cap would be added for certain non-profit entities and government research organizations along with beneficiaries who are not directly employed through a qualifying organization. Additionally, new flexibilities would apply to certain F-1 students that are hoping to change their status to H-1B. The proposed rules also would outline new requirements for entrepreneurs hoping to stay in the United States on an H-1B visa.
  4. Strengthening Integrity Measures: To combat misuse and fraud, USCIS will forbid affiliated entities from filing multiple registrations for the same beneficiary. Under the current lottery process, the beneficiary can have numerous companies submit H-1B registrations for the beneficiary. Thereby, this results in more H-1B registrations than USCIS can handle and creates an unfair advantage for candidates that have multiple companies willing to sponsor them for an H-1B visa. Moreover, the changes propose to reinforce USCIS’s authority to conduct site visits as they see fit, and solidifies that a refusal to submit to a site visit can result in a petition denial.

For case specific questions or help understanding how the changes will impact you, or help with H-1B applications, please contact our trusted Chugh, LLP Immigration team.

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