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DHS Overhauls H-1B Visa Lottery Process

A new registration selection process will soon be in effect for H-1B visas, Forbes (subscription) reports.

What’s going on: A final rule filed this week by the Department of Homeland Security’s U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services “will be ‘beneficiary-centered’ and aims to discourage employers from sending in multiple registrations for the same individual without intending in advance to make legitimate job offers.”

  • The changes—which were proposed last October and will go into effect within 30 days of their publication—are intended to discourage fraud in the allocation lottery system used to award H-1B visas, sometimes called “specialty occupation” visas because they are used by highly skilled non-U.S.-born workers.
  • In recent years, some employers “may have tried to gain an unfair advantage by working together to submit multiple registrations on behalf of the same beneficiary,” according to USCIS.
  • USCIS also finalized a rule to increase the fees paid by employers for submitting petitions for workers and sponsoring employees for permanent residence. That change goes into effect April 1. 

What it means: “Instead of selecting by registration, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services will select registrations by unique beneficiary,” DHS said, according to Forbes. “Each unique beneficiary who has a registration submitted on their behalf will be entered into the selection process once, regardless of how many registrations are submitted on their behalf.”

Why it’s important: Manufacturing needs and will continue to need skilled workers—about 4 million over the next decade, according to a joint study by Deloitte and the Manufacturing Institute, the NAM’s 501(c)3 workforce development and education affiliate.

Our view: The new rule makes the selection process fairer, and it’s an excellent first step toward comprehensive immigration reform, the NAM said.

  • “Manufacturers strongly support DHS’s proposal of a beneficiary-centric selection process,” the NAM told USCIS recently. “Conducting selection by beneficiary will level the playing field for all applicants, and manufacturers request USCIS implement these changes in advance of the next selection period.”
  • “The NAM continues to call on Congress and the administration to work together to develop and enact measures that comprehensively address the overall immigration challenge,” said NAM Vice President of Domestic Policy Charles Crain.

For more on the immigration reforms advocated by NAM, see “A Way Forward,” our post-partisan immigration roadmap containing immediately actionable recommendations.

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