H-1B Visa Changes in 2021

An H-1B visa is an employment-based, non-immigrant visa. It is granted to temporary workers in the U.S. More specifically, it is issued to individuals within specialized occupations that require the theoretical and practical application of specialized knowledge. The occupation must require a bachelor’s degree or an equivalent. With this employment-based visa, the employer acts as the sponsor of the visa. This means that the employer must be offering a job to the individual seeking the visa and must petition for the H-1B visa. The approval of the H-1B petition will grant a work permit that allows the individual to receive a visa stamp and work in the U.S. for the sponsoring employer.

Recently, there have been significant changes with regard to the H-1B visa. Here, we will discuss some of these changes and what it can mean for those seeking H-1B visas.

H-1B Visa Changes in 2021

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) published a final rule on January 8, 2021, in the Federal Register. The title of this final rule is “Modification of Registration Requirement for Petitioners Seeking to File Cap-Subject H-1B Petitions.” This final rule has significant implications for the selection process for H-1B petitions subject to a cap. Like the last H-1B selection process in March 2020, the USCIS will be implementing a registration process that will start on March 9, 2021.

With the current H-1B cap selection process, every employer filing a petition has to first submit an electronic registration on behalf of every prospective employee they are looking to sponsor. This online registration generally must be submitted during March. Once the registration period ends, USCIS then has a random, computer-generated lottery that makes selections as to which petitions will fill the visa quota. Only those employers who are selected in the lottery may proceed with filing an H-1B for that visa cap period.

Recent announcements have been made about a proposed new rule that could change the random selection process as it has random selection process as it has been proposal that the random registration process be based on the highest Occupational Employment Statistics (OES) prevailing wage level that is offered on the employer’s petition. There will be a preference for those offered wages that are either equal to or greater than the corresponding Standard Occupational Classification (SOC) code as well as the area of intended employment. The ranking will begin with OES wage level IV as this is the highest wage level. It will then move forward in descending order down to the lowest wage levels of III, II, and I. What this all means is that USCIS will rank its selections based on the highest wage level that an employer offers and will proceed with prioritizing selections based on that ranking.

Essentially, this proposal which has been delayed and which will not go into effect this fiscal year (2022) comes down to the central change that the current H-1B lottery proceedings could be completely overhauled. Wages will be prioritized in order to help ensure that H-1B visas are granted to the most highly skilled foreign workers.

While the implementation of this proposed methodology remains more by a “proposal”, it is possible that the Biden/Harris Administration may implement it in the 2023 H-1B registration. We are closely monitoring this issue for our readers and clients.

Immigration Law Attorneys

If you should have any questions or need more information about the ways in which the U.S. Immigration and Nationality Laws may impact you, your family, your friends or your colleagues, please contact the U.S. Immigration and Nationality Lawyers at the NPZ Law Group – VISASERVE – U.S. Immigration and Nationality Lawyers by e-mailing us at info@visaserve.com or by calling us at 201-670-0006