The Department of Homeland Security appears to be withdrawing its agenda to revise wage levels and the specialty occupation definition of the H-1B visa… then it appears they are only speeding it up!
The President has made a number of proclamations during the COVID-19 pandemic. One was the April 22nd proclamation suspending entry of immigrants who present risk to the U.S. labor market during economic recovery.
Interesting language in that proclamation was under the Section 6: Additional Measures, which reads:
Within 30 days of the effective date of this proclamation, the Secretary of Labor and the Secretary of Homeland Security, in consultation with the Secretary of State, shall review nonimmigrant programs and shall recommend to me other measures appropriate to stimulate the United States economy and ensure the prioritization, hiring, and employment of United States workers.
In September, DHS and DOL presented a document to the White House on its suggested revisions to visas and changes to wages. The document was never released, however those with certain access indicated that the regulations would change the definition of “specialty occupation” and limit it. They would also increase the prevailing wage levels for H-1B workers.
Further, they would probably change the ability for U.S. employers to apply for visas that would then send their clients to third-party locations (clients’ sites) or at least make those visas co-sponsored by both companies.
In very surprising news on October first, DHS has withdrawn the agenda, which was considered a done deal by those close to the situation. Later that same day, it appeared that DHS is actually using a special waiver of a review step to speed up the roll-out of the visa.
The situation is very fluid, so stay tuned!