If you’re a foreign national hoping to ply your trade in the United States or you’re an employer who regularly searches for talent overseas, the hits from the federal government seem to keep on coming. New rules were just announced by top officials in the Trump administration in October that will make it harder to employ people through an H-1B visa.
The new rules are expected to heavily affect Indian immigrants and tech companies that rely on a supply of specialists, designers and technicians from other lands. They may also negatively affect rural hospitals and other medical centers that have tend to have trouble attracting American-born doctors. The changes are widely anticipated to cut the number of H-1B petitions by as much as a third.
According to the recent announcement, the U.S. Department of Labor’s definition of who qualifies for the “specialty occupation” designation has shifted, as has the definition of the employee-employer relationship. In addition to that, the H-1B visa for tech workers will now be valid for only a single year instead of three years.
In addition to those changes, the minimum wage that these workers can be paid has been raised, which may make hiring employees who have this type of visa cost-prohibitive for many employers. For example, rural physicians who come here to work on the H-1B visa may have to be paid more than their native-born contemporaries who are working in similar roles.
The H-1B visa has been a path to citizenship for many immigrants, so this is quite a blow for many. More than ever, it’s important to work with an experienced immigration attorney.