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Selection of H1B visas: US proposes to scrap lottery system

Selection of H1B visas: US proposes to scrap lottery system
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Selection of H1B visas: US proposes to scrap lottery system

Highlights

The Trump administration has proposed to scrap the computerised lottery system to grant H1B work visas to foreign technology professionals and replace it with a wage-level-based selection process, a move that is expected to counter the downward pressure on the wages of US workers

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Washington: The Trump administration has proposed to scrap the computerised lottery system to grant H1B work visas to foreign technology professionals and replace it with a wage-level-based selection process, a move that is expected to counter the downward pressure on the wages of US workers.

A notification on the new system was published in the Federal Register on Thursday. Stakeholders have 30 days to respond to the notification, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) said, less than a week before the US presidential election.

Replacing the computerised draw of lots to decide on the successful H1B applicants, the DHS said it is expected to help counter the downward pressure on the wages of American workers that is created by an annual influx of relatively lower-paid, new cap-subject H1B workers.

The H1B visa, most sought-after among Indian IT professionals, is a non-immigrant visa that allows US companies to employ foreign workers in speciality occupations that require theoretical or technical expertise.

If finalised as proposed, US Citizenship and Immigration Services would first select registrations (or petitions, if the registration process is suspended) generally based on the highest Occupational Employment Statistics prevailing wage level that the offered wage equals or exceeds for the relevant Standard Occupational Classification code and areas of intended employment.

Prioritisation and selection based on wage levels better balances the interests of petitioners, H1B workers, and US workers, the DHS said.

With this proposed rule, the Trump administration is continuing to deliver on its promise to protect the American worker while strengthening the economy. The H1B programme is often exploited and abused by US employers, and their US clients, primarily seeking to hire foreign workers and pay lower wages, said Acting DHS Deputy Secretary Ken Cuccinelli.

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