Government Agency Actions - USCIS, ICE, etc. US Immigration Policy Visas - H-1b, L-1, E, O, TN

Another New H-1b Regulation ?

The DOL announced yesterday that they have sent a proposed regulation to the OMB for final review and publication. The contents of the regulation have not been made public but, the stated purpose is to restrict H-1b visas to only those highly compensated. Currently, the DOL has 4 wage levels for H-1b petitions and the prevailing wage is based upon the geographical location, the occupation and the level of experience and education needed to perform the job duties. The required wage also takes into consideration any CBA and the wages paid to other US employees in similar positions. Trump has often remarked that he thinks the visas should be restricted to those being paid in excess of $100,000/yr. This approach would have a disproportionate negative impact on certain industries such as healthcare and research. It would also have a greater impact on positions located in rural areas or frankly, anywhere not on the Coast. Another speculation is a change to the way in which the H-1b cap lottery is conducted to start with Level 4 and then proceed downward which would essentially eliminate new grads from consideration. At this point, it is all just speculation. What we do know is that just like the new specialty occupation regulation also at the OMB, this regulation is expected to be released as an Interim Final Rule (IFR) thereby skipping the public comment period and ignoring long-standing rules required under the APA. Publishing the rule as an IFR is asking for a Federal lawsuit to be filed so any rule released is likely to be short-lived but, if your entire purpose is to create campaign fodder, then this may be very effective.