USCIS Modifies H-1B Selection Process

January 20, 2021 § Leave a comment

January 8, 2021: U.S. Citzenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) on Thursday announced that it will modify the selection process for H-1B visa, giving priority to salary and skills, instead of the current lottery procedures. The final rule to be published in the federal register on January 8, 2021. The final rule will be effective 60 days after its publication in the Federal Register. The next H-1B visa filing season is slated to start on April 1. Emerging reports underline that the incoming presidential administration of Joe Biden could place it on hold and also repeal it under the Congressional Review Act.

This new selection process will have a devastating effect on foreign students as most qualifying foreign students are sponsored for Level 1, H-1B positions. The USCIS claims that the changes promulgated in the Final Rule will not affect foreign students because they will have time during their OPT status to gain experience taking them to a higher wage level. However, only STEM students may qualify for three years of OPT. All other foreign students may qualify for only one year of OPT. Even students with some experience and master’s degrees, who could qualify for Level 2 positions are not likely to stand a chance. The changes seem to be drafted to have a maximum effect on level 2 positions as more than 50% of the H-1B petitions are filed for this level of workers.

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