US delays Trump-era H-1B coverage; lottery system to proceed

Washington, February 5

The Biden administration has announced that it is delaying the H-1B policy of the previous Trump administration on allocation of the popular foreign work visas by continuing with the lottery system until December 31, 2021, to give the immigration agency more time to develop, test and implement the modifications to the registration system.

Was set to come into effect on March 9

  • The Trump-era rule was scheduled to go into effect on March 9
  • The lottery system will continue till December 31

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Washington: US employers added just 49,000 jobs in January, a sign that the viral pandemic retains a tight grip on the economy nearly a year after it triggered a painful recession. The tepid increase followed a decline of 2,27,000 jobs in December, the first loss since April. The unemployment rate for January fell sharply from 6.7 per cent to 6.3 per cent, the Labor Department said Friday. AP

On January 7, the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced to do away with the traditional lottery system in deciding the successful applicants for the H-1B visas.

The H-1B visa is a non-immigrant visa that allows US companies to employ foreign workers in specialty occupations that require theoretical or technical expertise. The technology companies depend on it to hire tens of thousands of employees each year from countries like India and China.

The USCIS had said it would prioritise wages to protect the economic interests of American workers, and better ensure that

the most highly skilled foreign workers benefit from the temporary employment programme.

In a statement on Thursday, the USCIS said that it is delaying the rule’s effective date until December 31, 2021. The Trump-era rule was scheduled to go into effect on March 9.

β€œTo give USCIS more time to develop, test, and implement the modifications to the H-1B registration system and selection process, DHS is delaying the effective date of this final rule from March 9, 2021, to December 31, 2021,” it said.

This is because it will not have adequate time to complete system development, thoroughly test the modifications, train staff and conduct public outreach needed to ensure an effective and orderly implementation of the H1B Selection Final Rule by the time the initial registration period will be open for the upcoming fiscal year (FY) 2022 H-1B cap season, the USCIS said.

The delay will also provide more time for the USCIS to train staff and perform public outreach as well as give stakeholders time to adjust to the new rule. β€” PTI

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