USA: Proposed Changes to H-1B Visa Programme

January 11, 2017

A new bill proposing changes to the H1B visa programme has been re-introduced in the US Congress. This bill supports one of the key changes that President-elect Donald Trump had announced during his campaign to curb “abuse” of H1B visas, with the aim to stop the outsourcing of American jobs and prevention of cheap labour from abroad.
The proposed changes to the H-1B visa programme will include:
An increase in the salary requirement from $60,000 to $100,000 per year
Introduction of smaller caps, reducing the current 65,000 visa cap
Increased application fees
Elimination of the master’s degree exemption, which currently has a separate cap of 20,000 visas.
The above-proposed changes are likely to impact any companies hiring foreign nationals in the US utilising the H-1B visa, specifically those in the Computing and Information Technology sectors, who are perceived as the main perpetrators.
While a similar bill had faced opposition in Congress last year, it is worth noting that any changes in US immigration law will have to be voted on by Congress before being implemented.
Newland Chase will continue to monitor these developments and strongly recommend any companies intending to hire highly skilled foreign workers in the US under the H-1B visa programme to apply as early as possible. USCIS will begin accepting petitions for the H-1B on 1st April 2017 for a start date of 1st October. It is important to note that any employers who fail to meet the submission deadline will need to wait until April 2018 to submit.
For advice and assistance on US immigration, please contact us at [email protected].