President Trump has made few important proposals to the existing process of H-1B visa allocation in the US. Under the new proposals, a foreigner with US Degree will have more chance to get an H-1B visa, which means that US educational system can also get a boost now as more and more foreigners will now opt for a US degree.
At the same time, this can be a bad decision for Indian IT firms, and candidates with higher degrees and higher income will be selected first. No doubt this will benefit tech firms in the US, but Indian IT firms can suffer.
US Degree Will Have More Importance
Under the current ‘lottery’ system for granting H-1B visa, a cap of 65,000 visas exist in a year. However, a smaller cap of 20,000 H-1B visas exists for those who have a US degree.
Currently, US degree holders are exempted from the cap of 65,000 visas, and thus, chances are less for them, because they are fighting the 20,000 cap.
But from now on, the process will be reversed.
Now, both US and non-US degree holders will compete in the same 65,000 visa cap, and if the US degree holder misses out, he/she may try again for the 20,000 H-1B visa cap.
This means, that a foreigner with a US degree will now have 16% more chance to get an H-1B visa, compared to the current process.
In a statement, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) said, “This is likely to increase the number of foreign workers with a master’s or higher degree from a US institution of higher education to be selected for an H-1B cap number. As such the proposed rule will introduce a more meritorious selection of beneficiaries,”
The proposals have been sent to the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), which authorizes H-1B visa allocation process.
USCIS has asked the public to comment on these proposals starting from December 3rd and will be allocated a month for the same. If approved, these changes get will come into effect for 2020, whose lottery prices will start from April 2019.
US Will Get More Leeway In Rejecting Candidates?
Besides this major change in the lottery process, US President Trump has also suggested that candidates applying for H-1B visa should now apply electronically, in advance. As per analysts, this move will help USCIS to screen candidates based on their educational degrees, qualifications, salaries etc, and make the rejection process easier.
This electronic process will no doubt make the process of applying H-1B easier as now, anyone can apply via a portal (if approved). But this will give more leeway and more power to the USCIS in deciding who will work in the US.
David H Nachman, managing attorney at NPZ Law Group said, “The implementation of the pre-registration program along with the new information requested in Form ETA 9035 [Labour Certification form], which came into effect from November 19, has the potential for abuse because the ‘fair and random H-1B lottery’ may be relegated to a closely guided and criteria-driven process,”
Rejection of H-1B visa applications has already increased by 42%, and once these two rules come into force, it is expected that the rejections will only increase, especially for non-US degree holders, applying for a work visa in the US.