Proposed Changes to H-1B Visa Selection Process

WASHINGTON, DC – The public comment period opened this week for the American public to provide input on two major changes proposed by the Trump Administration to the H-1B selection process. President Todd Schulte issued the following statement today on the proposed changes:

“While there are positive steps proposed in this rule to digitize the filing process and make recruiting needed talent easier and more efficient, the effort is rushed and would force significant costs on employers who have already prepared to petition qualified workers under the current system. We are also concerned this rule could be used to further restrict legal immigration without congressional approval, in the process hurting our nation’s competitive economic advantage. DHS should delay implementation of the pre-registration process until at least FY2021 so employers can be sufficiently prepared to fully benefit; DHS should also continue to engage employers to address significant questions and problems with the proposed selection process.

“Increasing the number of highly-educated immigrants working in the U.S., particularly those who graduated from American colleges and universities, is a laudable goal, but we don’t have to do it at the expense of other needed, differently-qualified workers. At the end of the day, Congress needs to act to modernize our immigration system and enact policies that fully address this goal, including exempting graduates of American universities from caps and providing them with a direct path to permanent residency, as well as expanding immigration avenues to drive innovation and grow the American economy. If the Administration continues to instead push restrictive regulatory maneuvers, our immigration system will become increasingly unpredictable, hurting American businesses and jeopardizing the valuable economic contributions immigrants make to our country every single day. Americans can make their voices heard and submit a public comment in response to this rule before January 3, 2019.”

Congress has capped the number of H-1B visas issued each year at 65,000, plus 20,000 for those with advanced degrees from U.S. universities. This is because the demand for H-1B visas dramatically outweighs the supply, a randomized lottery is used to select which petitions will be adjudicated. In 2018, petitioners filed 190,098 applications in the first week, exhausting the supply of 85,000 visas almost immediately.

For more background on the H-1B selection process and the proposed rule, read our overview and analysis here.

Americans can make their voices heard and submit a public comment in response to this rule before January 3, 2019.

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