USA unveils updated H-1B visa rules, effective from April 1

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The United States has announced a final rule for H1B visa applicants which would be offered to foreign employees with an advanced degree from American varsity, a move that would impact professionals who has received higher educations in nations like China and India, according to The Week reports.

The H1B visa which is very popular among the IT professionals from India, is a non-migrant visa that used to allow the US organizations or companies to take in foreign workers in some specialty occupations.

Immigration analyst has said eventually this will squeeze the grand total of the incoming bathes of non-migrant visa workers. The proposed rules will go in effect from April and will get published in the US federal register on Thursday.

In this present H1B visa, there are about 65,000 visas available including an additional 20,000 for those workers who holds an advanced degree from the US University or institution. The USCIS (US Citizenship and Immigration Services) had run the lottery for the advanced-degree holders first.

The USCIS said the change has been estimated to increase the number of the advanced degree holders which would be selected in the lottery by 5,340 workers or 16 percent each year.

In the very-first page of the final rule on H1B, the USCIS said, “Changing the order in which USCIS counts these separate allocations will likely increase the number of beneficiaries with a master’s or higher degree from a U.S. institution of higher education to be selected for further processing under the H-1B allocations. USCIS will proceed with implementing this change to the cap allocation selection process for the FY 2020 cap season (beginning on April 1, 2019), notwithstanding the delayed implementation of the H-1B registration requirement.”

The visa program will allow the US employers to temporarily hire foreign workers in a speciality occupation, services related to a Department of Defense (DOD) cooperative research and development project or coproduction project, or services of distinguished merit and ability in the field of fashion modeling.

USCIS chief L. Francis Cissna claimed, “These simple and smart changes are a positive benefit for employers, the foreign workers they seek to employ, and the agency’s adjudicators, helping the H-1B visa program work better.”

He claimed that in the new registration system for H1B visa, once implemented that it will lower “overall costs for employers and increase government efficiency”.

He said the USCIS are also furthering the US president Donald Trump’s goals of improving USA’s immigration system by making adjustment to the H1B cap selection process.

He added, “As a result, U.S. employers seeking to employ foreign workers with a U.S. master’s or higher degree will have a greater chance of selection in the H-1B lottery in years of excess demand for new H-1B visas.”

From April 1, first, the USCIS will selected H1B petition including those who might be eligible for the advanced degree exemption. Then, it will select from remaining petitions who are projected to reach the advanced degree exemption.

The USCIS will proceed accepting H1B cap petitions for the fiscal year of 2020 on April 1, 2019. Then the reserve selection order will get applied to petitions files for cap season of FY 2020.

The USCIS said it has decided to halt the electronic registration process for the FY in order to complete petitioners testing and ensuring the system, process are fully functional.

The H1B visa is valid for next three years and then it can get renewed for another three years.


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