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DHS Proposing Rule to “Strengthen” the H-1B Nonimmigrant Visa Classification Program

Watson Immigration Law News UpdateChanges are coming on the H-1B front, and likely none of them good. The Department of Homeland Security will be proposing a rule that, among other things, will attempt to revise the definition of specialty occupation, revise the definition of employment and employer-employee relationship, and craft additional requirements designed to ensure employers pay the requisite wages to H-1B visa holders. The rule is currently in the early stage of proposed rulemaking, and details are skim. However, given the track record of this administration, we can be almost certain that it will impose additional undue burden and hardship on both employers/employees seeking H-1B visas, and the attorneys filing for them. Given that the definition of “specialty occupation” is codified in statute, DHS/USCIS cannot change the definition through rulemaking; Congress must pass a new law. This rule, when finally published and promulgated, is, thankfully, certain to face significant legal challenges, and hopefully will be enjoined from taking effect. We will continue monitoring the situation closely and inform our readers as more information becomes available.


See relevant text below from the following link:


View Rule

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DHS/USCIS RIN: 1615-AC13 Publication ID: Spring 2019
Title: Strengthening the H-1B Nonimmigrant Visa Classification Program
Abstract:The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) will propose to revise the definition of specialty occupation to increase focus on obtaining the best and the brightest foreign nationals via the H-1B program, and revise the definition of employment and employer-employee relationship to better protect U.S. workers and wages. In addition, DHS will propose additional requirements designed to ensure employers pay appropriate wages to H-1B visa holders.
Agency: Department of Homeland Security(DHS) Priority: Other Significant
RIN Status: Previously published in the Unified Agenda Agenda Stage of Rulemaking: Proposed Rule Stage
Major: Undetermined Unfunded Mandates: Undetermined
EO 13771 Designation: Other
CFR Citation: 8 CFR 214.2(h)(4)
Legal Authority: 8 U.S.C. 1184
Legal Deadline:  None

Action Date FR Cite
NPRM 08/00/2019
Regulatory Flexibility Analysis Required: Undetermined Government Levels Affected: Undetermined
Federalism: Undetermined
Included in the Regulatory Plan: Yes
RIN Information URL: Public Comment URL:
RIN Data Printed in the FR: No
Agency Contact:
Brian Hunt
Acting Chief, Business and Foreign Workers Division, Office of Policy and Strategy
Department of Homeland Security
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services
20 Massachusetts Avenue NW, Suite 1200,
Washington, DC 20529-2200
Phone:202 272-8377
Fax:202 272-1480
Email: [email protected]