While the nitty-gritties of the new rule are likely to evolve over the coming few weeks, there are some broad stroke changes that will be introduced to the visa programme.
The new rule narrows the definition of “specialty occupation” when it comes to assessing applications. This will consequently make it harder for companies and agencies that employ H1-B workers to justify the hiring of a foreign worker, instead of hiring from the American pool of workers.
It will further limit the ability of an H1B employer to list multiple unrelated fields of study to qualify for a position. In the past, it has been alleged that H-1B work visa offers to foreign employees are “just on paper”, thereby allowing them to evade certain taxes while undercutting the jobs for eligible US workers.
The new rule requires companies to make “real” offers to “real employees,” by closing loopholes and preventing the displacement of the American worker.
The interim final rule also works to enhance the DHS’s ability to enforce compliance through worksite inspections and monitor compliance before, during, and after an H1-B petition is approved. This may mean that in cases that the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) is unable to visit a requested location or obtain the information requested, this may result in the revocation or denial of the H1B petition.
The exact enforcement policies will be announced and refined in the coming weeks.