Thursday, December 3, 2020

Federal Judge Nixes New Rules Restricting H-1B Visas


U.S. District Judge Jeffrey White

Maria Dinzeo for Courthouse News reports on a U.S. District Court ruling (Chamber of Commerce of USA v. U.S. Department of Homeland Security) that the Trump administration failed to comply with necessary procedures to implement sweeping visa restrictions affecting thousands of professionals working in the United States on H-1B visas.  The Department of Homeland Security and Department of Labor failed to comply with notice and public comment requirements when it issued new restrictions on the H-1B visa program last October, citing the economic crisis caused by the pandemic.

The new rules require U.S. employers to raise wages for highly skilled workers (tech industry workers, doctors, accountants, professors, scientists, architects, and others), to deter U.S. companies from hiring foreign workers. The rules also restrict hiring arrangements under which third-party employers recruit foreign workers for other businesses. Visa applicants also must hold a degree in their specific field or “specialty occupation.”

U.S. District Judge Jeffrey White noted that the Labor Department and Homeland Security unveiled the H-1B visa rules just a week after he enjoined the enforcement of President Donald Trump’s June proclamation suspending certain types of non-immigration work visas through the end of the year.

He said the government’s response “appears to be the embodiment of the adage ‘if at first you don’t succeed, try, try again.’” 

In a statement, U.S. Chamber of Commerce immigration policy executive Jon Baselice said White’s order helps alleviate industry worries about what the rules might mean for hundreds of thousands of jobs:  “This ruling has many companies across various industries breathing a huge sigh of relief today,” he said, adding the rules “had the potential to be incredibly disruptive to the operations of many businesses.”

Click here for the Economic Times report on the court ruling.


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