The final rule that dictates the regulations governing the selection of H-1B cap petitions by USCIS has been announced by DHS. As per the announcement, the basis of the annual allocation of H-1B visas will be shifted from random selection to wage-based allocation.
This new move will affect international students most. In the US, qualified foreign students are mostly sponsored for Level 1 job positions. As the new wage-based allocation starts considering candidates qualified for Level 4 positions, these students will miss most of the spots they hope to get.
Though USCIS assures that students can skill-up during their OTP period, this may not be applicable to most foreign students coming to study in USA. This is because qualifying for a 3-year OTP may be possible only for STEM students. Other students will only be able to get a 1-year OTP. That time will not be sufficient for them to reach the levels that will work for them while applying for an H-1B visa.
Even students who qualify for Level 2 positions, due to their master’s degree and work experience won’t likely get the chance to get accepted for an H-1B visa. All this, as the US universities fear, will lead to a loss of sheen of the US as a world destination for education.
In the wake of countries like the UK and Canada improving their policies on education, the USA does have competition it can’t take lightly. The UK has liberalized work authorization recently for graduates in the country. Canada has always been welcoming international students and implementing policies that encourage foreign students to route for the country’s educational institutions.
The Final Rule now announced will prioritize the selection of those who are among the most skilled foreign workers with the highest skill levels. This selection will be based on their experience, nature of the job, and salaries. Level 4 job positions will be given the highest priority.
The US government hopes that certain modifications in the selection process for H-1B will give some incentive to US employers. They would be urged to offer higher wages along with petitioning for positions requiring higher skills. Such a change will work only on new petitions filed under the yearly H-1B cap. This will be applicable to H-1B regular cap and exempted H-1B advanced degree stream. However, it won’t change the order of selection as decided for the financial year 2021.
The Final Rule now announced will be effective on March 9, 2021.
If you are looking to Study, Work, Visit, Invest or Migrate to the USA, talk to Y-Axis, the World’s No.1 Immigration & Visa Company.
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USCIS – United States Citizenship and Immigration Services
STEM – Science, Technology, Engineering and Math