What Changes Did the Department of Homeland Security Make to the H-1B Program?

On October 6, 2020, the United States Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced that it would make changes to the H-1B program. According to DHS, this was done to “protect U.S. workers” and restore “integrity to the H-1B program.” The H-1B program exists to help foreign workers looking to receive employment in the United States. The changes are being made to better guarantee these petitions are approved for qualified beneficiaries and petitioners only. Continue reading below to learn more and contact an experienced New York immigration attorney for assistance.

Why is the H-1B Program Being Modified?

In their statement, the Department of Homeland Security stated the H-1B visa program has allowed more than a half million H-1B nonimmigrants to displace United States workers. This has led to reduced wages in U.S. labor market industries and the stagnation of wages in certain occupations. This led them to modify the program.

Acting Secretary Chad Wolf spoke on the matter in saying, “We have entered an era in which economic security is an integral part of homeland security. Put simply, economic security is homeland security. In response, we must do everything we can within the bounds of the law to make sure the American worker is put first … The Department of Homeland Security is honored to take this important step toward putting Americans first and to continue to implement President Trump’s agenda to keep our economy secure.”

The new rule will combat the use of H-1B workers to be used as a low-cost replacement for qualified American workers. The rule will accomplish the following:

  • Narrow the definition of “specialty occupation” as Congress intended by closing the overbroad definition that allowed companies to game the system
  • Require companies to make “real” offers to “real employees,” by closing loopholes and preventing the displacement of the American worker
  • Enhance DHS’ ability to enforce compliance through worksite inspections and monitor compliance before, during, and after an H-1B petition is approved

The new law is set to take effect 60 days after its publication in the Federal Register. If you have any additional questions, give us a call today.

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The Law Offices of Cheryl R. David practices immigration law throughout NYC. Immigration is a sensitive issue, which is why you should consider a compassionate, experienced, and aggressive immigration attorney who will guide you every step of the way. If you have questions about your particular matters regarding immigration please do not hesitate to contact our office to discuss your circumstances and options.