An Indian passport sits on a desk along with a set of visa application forms at a BLS International Services Ltd. visa processing center in New Delhi, India. (Photographer: Anindito Mukherjee/Bloomberg )

Trump Administration To Propose Major Changes To H1-B Visa Rules

The Trump administration said it is coming out with new proposals to revise not only the definition of specialty occupations under H1-B visas, but also the definition of employment under this foreign work visa category.

The move, which is part of the Unified Fall Agenda of the Trump administration will have a detrimental impact on the functioning of Indian information technology companies in the U.S. and also small and medium-sized contractual companies in the IT sector, which are mostly owned by Indian Americans.

On Wednesday, the Department of Homeland Security said the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services plans to release its new proposal by January.

Revising The Definition Of Employment

It will "propose to revise the definition of specialty occupation" to increase focus on obtaining the best and the brightest foreign nationals via the H1-B programme.

It will also "revise the definition" of employment and employer-employee relationship to "better protect" U.S. workers and wages, Department of Homeland Security said. In addition, the department will propose additional requirements designed to ensure employers pay appropriate wages to H1-B visa holders, the administration said.

The department reiterated that it is proposing to remove from its regulations certain H-4 spouses of H1-B non-immigrants as a class of aliens eligible for employment authorisation.

The department is also finalising its interim regulations governing petitions filed on behalf of alien workers subject to the annual numerical limitations applicable to the H1-B non-immigrant classification.

This rule precludes an individual from filing duplicate petitions on behalf of the same alien temporary worker. This rule also makes accommodations for petitioners to create a more efficient filing process for H1-B petitions subject to the annual numerical limitation.