The moment of reckoning is upon all H1-B visa holders and potential petitioners for the next lottery cycle scheduled in April 2019. The US Department of Homeland Security is gearing up with new changes meant to tighten and redefine the entire H1-B process in line with President Trump’s Hire American Buy American Executive Order. Although not having gone through the final implementation process yet, the signs of it fructifying are quite imminent as seen in the frequency of Request for Evidence (RFEs) being issued for every petitioner in the recent past.
What Could A H1-B Petitioner Expect with the Anticipated Changes?
- Fee Hike:The H1-B petition fee is expected to go up again. It was last hiked to $4500 in 2015.
- Rescind H4 EAD: Spouses of H1-B visa holders who could work based on a valid Employment Authorization Document will not be unable to do so as the decision to revoke this is imminent. Approximately 90,000 such spouses will find themselves out of a job in year 2019.
- Pre-register for H1-B cap Lottery: Instead of just putting your petition in the random lottery lot each year, a new rule will require you to pre-register for a spot. Only if USCIS approves the pre-registered petition can he submit an actual H1-B petition.
- Redefined Lottery system: The petitions picked will stop being a random selection and may end up being for petitioners with the highest degrees, salaries. This would eliminate chances for anyone and everyone trying their luck in the H1-B cap lottery and only a selected few will make it to the top of the list.
- Eliminate Concurrent filing: Unlike now when petitioners could file for I-485 with either an I-140 (employment-based) or I-130 (family-based) petition concurrently when applying for adjustment of status, after the new rule passes, this could end which means additional paperwork for H1-B petitioners looking for a green Card.
- Limit H1-bs per organization: USCIS is considering limiting the number of petitions from each organization thereby reducing the H1-B visas issued. The employer will have to disclose total number of foreign workers to qualify for the final list.
- Redefine ‘specialty occupation’, ‘qualification’ and ‘employer-employee relationships’:This redefinition may cause a choke-hold effect on both the H1-b dependent organization as well as the petitioners as the focus is expected to be very narrow.
- More RFEs: The rise of requests for evidence will require additional documentation at every step of the way making the entire process much more tedious for the H1-B petitioner and his employer.
Stay tuned to this space to see which one of these take effect and what will a potential H1-B petitioner have to do abide by the new system. Path2usa will have all your answers right here. In the meantime, follow the step by step guide on how to apply for a H1-B work visa.