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EIG Alert | DHS and DOL Introduce Rules to Change the H-1B Program

October 6, 2020

On Tuesday, the Trump Administration announced two rule changes that will significantly reshape the H-1B specialty occupation visa program.

In a press release, the Department of Homeland Security announced an interim final rule (IFR) that reduces the types of jobs that qualify for the visa program.

The DHS rule redefines “specialty occupation” by closing the “overbroad” definition and limits the validity of an H-1B visa to one year if the worker is at a third-party worksite. The DHS rule also allows for continuous vetting by the agency to enforce compliance via onsite inspections before, during, and after an H-1B petition is approved. DHS’s H-1B program revisions will be implemented in 60 days and are estimated to affect more than a third of all H-1B petitions.

A new rule from the Department of Labor applies to the prevailing wage rates for H-1B visas, H-1B1 visas for guest workers from Chile and Singapore, and EB-2 and EB-3 visas. The Department of Labor’s changes to the minimum salary requirements will take effect Thursday morning.

The DHS and DOL rules were initially submitted for approval by the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA) but were withdrawn on September 30 with waivers to proceed.

These rules will likely be challenged in court. Erickson Immigration Group is currently reviewing the language of the rule to determine the specific impact.