US Immigration News

What Are the Recent Changes Made to the H-1B Visa Category?

3 minute read
"The H-1B Visa is a nonimmigrant visa category for skilled foreign workers in occupations that require specialized practical or theoretical knowledge. It is an employment-based visa that requires the employer to petition their support for the applicant’s H-1B Visa. H-1B Visa holders are granted a US work visa that allows them to live and work in the US for the concerned employer for a specific period."
Written by My Visa Source Team
Published on:  Jun 5, 2021
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The H-1B Visa is a nonimmigrant visa category for skilled foreign workers in occupations that require specialized practical or theoretical knowledge. It is an employment-based visa that requires the employer to petition their support for the applicant’s H-1B Visa. H-1B Visa holders are granted a US work visa that allows them to live and work in the US for the concerned employer for a specific period. 

The H-1B Visa is one of the most popular nonimmigrant visa categories among foreign workers. It is especially the most desired visa category for applicants from countries like East India and China. The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) recently introduced certain changes to this visa category that will affect the applicants hoping to apply for this visa in 2021. 

Here Are the Changes Made to the H-1B Visa Category in 2021

The DHS published a final rule titled, “Modification of Registration Requirement for Petitioners Seeking to File Cap-Subject H-1B Petitions,” in the Federal Register on January 8, 2021. This final rule will affect the selection criteria for H-1B Visa applicants in 2021. The registration process for this visa category started on March 9, 2021, with the new selection criteria.

The previous selection criteria required employers to submit an electronic registration on the behalf of every prospective employee that they wanted to sponsor. This registration must be submitted during March. Once the registration period was over, a random, computer-generated selection system would select applicants based on the H-1B Visa caps.

The current H-1B Visa selection process will require the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) to consider the Occupational Employment Statistics (OES) and the prevailing wage level related to that occupation mentioned on the employer’s petition. The new selection process will favor applicants who were offered wages that were equivalent or greater than the corresponding Standard Occupational Classification (SOC) code based on their area of employment. The highest wage level on this system is OES wage level IV. It moves down in descending order, with the lowest rank- III, II, and I. That means that applicants that have been offered the highest wages will be prioritized.

However, this change will not go into effect during this fiscal year. It may be implemented as late as during the 2023 H-1B Visa registrations. Once implemented, it intends to prioritize the immigration of highly-skilled foreign workers based on the wages they are being offered. 

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