BENGALURU: The Donald Trump administration said it would replace the lottery based selection process for H-1B visas with wage-level based selection in a move to “better protect the economic interests of US workers.
In the existing lottery system foreign professionals and students with US college degrees compete for the H-1B visa.
The US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) said modifying the H-1B cap selection process by replacing the random selection process with a wage-level-based selection process ‘is a better way to allocate H-1B visas when demand exceeds supply’. “If finalized as proposed, this new selection process would incentivize employers to offer higher wages or petition for positions requiring higher skills and higher-skilled workers instead of using the program to fill relatively lower-paid vacancies.” said DHS in a statement.
A large number of the H-1B visas allotted to employees of the India-centric IT companies and a wage-level based selection could significantly increase the cost of deploying software engineers on projects in the US.
“With this proposed rule, the Trump administration is continuing to deliver on its promise to protect the American worker while strengthening the economy. The H-1B program is often exploited and abused by US employers, and their US clients, primarily seeking to hire foreign workers and pay lower wages,” said Ken Cuccinelli, acting DHS Deputy Secretary.
“The current use of random selection to allocate H-1B visas makes it harder for businesses to plan their hiring, fails to leverage the H-1B program to truly compete for the world’s best and brightest, and hurts American workers by bringing in relatively lower-paid foreign labor at the expense of the American workforce,” he added.
The new selection process would only affect H-1B registrations submitted by prospective petitioners seeking to file H-1B cap-subject petitions.
It would be implemented for both the H-1B regular cap and the H-1B advanced degree exemption, but would not change the order of selection between the two as established by the H-1B registration requirement final rule, said DHS.
DHS will open a public comment period once the NPRM is published in the Federal Register. Interested parties will have 30 days to submit comments relevant to the proposed rule and 60 days to submit comments relevant to the proposed information collection. The Department will review all properly submitted comments, consider them carefully, and draft responses before issuing a final rule.