The Nasscom statement added, “To the extent US policy makes it more difficult and costlier for global IT service companies to provide their expertise in the US, it will weaken the US companies that depend on them to help fill their skills gaps. Contrary to what is intended, this action could put US jobs at risk and create pressure to send more IT work abroad, rather than performing it in the US.”
The US government has proposed major changes to the H-1B application process. These rules are open for comments starting today, December 3. Here’s all that the new US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) proposed rules will change, not change as well as their impact on Indian IT companies.
The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced today a notice of proposed rule making that would require petitioners seeking to file H-1B petitions to first electronically register with USCIS during a designated registration period. However, this online registration requirement may be deferred if it cannot be implemented in time.
The H1-B visa has a numerical limit cap of 65,000 visas each fiscal year mandated by the Congress. The first 20,000 petitions filed on behalf of beneficiaries with a US master’s degree exemption. 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. Currently, in years when the H-1B cap and the advanced degree exemption are both reached within the first five days that H-1B cap petitions may be filed, the advanced degree exemption is selected prior to the H-1B cap.
This proposed change would increase the chances that beneficiaries with a master’s or higher degree from a Us institution of higher education would be selected under the H-1B cap and that H-1B visas would be awarded to the most skilled and highest paid beneficiaries. The proposed process is expected to result in an estimated increase of up to 16% (or 5340 workers) in the number of selected H-1B beneficiaries with a master’s degre or higher from a US institution of higher education.
USCIS expects that shifting to electronic registration would reduce overall costs for petitioners and create a more efficient and cost-effective H-1B cap petition process for USCIS. the proposed rule would help alleviate massive administrative burdens on USCIS since the agency would no longer need to physically receive and handle hundreds of thousands of H-1B petitions and supporting documentation before conducting the cap selection process.
This would help reduce wait times for cap selection notifications. The proposed rule also limits the filing of H-1B cap-subject petitions to the beneficiary named on the original selected registration, which would protect the integrity of this registration system.
The reversal in lottery orders is likely to impact mid-sized Indian IT companies. As most of its employees do not have advanced degrees from the US.
“There is not much time between now and when the next H-1B lottery season opens in April 2019. Companies have already begun assessing their needs and planning their submissions for next year, so we are concerned about the uncertainties that could arise as the government seeks to implement another major change in the H-1B process during that timefram,” Nasscom said in a statement.
USCIS may create a waiting list so that additional cases could be filed if the quota is not reached, say due to petition rejections or withdrawals.