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US Homeland may tweak H-1B & L-1

The changes may see the introduction of additional requirements to ensure employers pay appropriate wages to H-1B visa holders.

, ET Bureau|
Updated: Nov 23, 2019, 10.25 AM IST
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Pune: H-1B visas may see changes aimed at better protecting US workers and wages.

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is proposing to revise the definition of specialty occupation to “increase focus on obtaining the best and the brightest foreign nationals via the H-1B program.”

The changes, proposed under the Fall 2019 Unified Agenda published by the White House Office of Management and Budget on Wednesday, may see the introduction of additional requirements to ensure employers pay appropriate wages to H-1B visa holders. The Unified Agenda is a biannual regulatory agenda that provides a roadmap of planned federal rule-making across agencies.

A similar set of changes has also been proposed for L-1 visas, used in intra-company transfers. In addition, the DHS has suggested that the ban on the work authorization for spouses of H-1B visa holders should be implemented by March next year.

“The purpose of these changes is to ensure that H-1B visas are awarded only to individuals who will be working in a job which meets the statutory definition of specialty occupation,” the DHS said. “In addition, these changes are intended to ensure that the H-1B programme supplements the US workforce and strengthens US worker protections.”

DHS has proposed a target of December 2019 and September 2020 respectively to publish the rule for the H-1B and L-1 visa changes. The definition of ‘specialty occupation’ and the ‘employeremployee’ relationship were passed by a Statute by the US Congress and the DHS cannot change it, said Rajiv S Khanna, managing attorney at law firm Immigration.com.
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