DHS and DOL announce New Rules on H-1B

Thursday, Oct 15, 2020
by Albert Rivera

On behalf of the Davis International Center, I would like to update you on the latest developments with respect to the H-1B work visa program. The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) released a pair of new rules on October 8, 2020 that restrict H-1B eligibility and increase prevailing wage requirements. We are in the process of reviewing the rules and, together with campus partners, assessing potential impact to our international community.

DHS released an interim final rule (IFR) that tightens H-1B eligibility criteria and imposes new obligations on H-1B employers. The IFR will take effect on December 7, 2020, 60 days from the date it was published and:

  • Tightens the regulatory definition of a specialty occupation to mandate that the bachelor’s degree requirement be more directly related to the specific H-1B specialty.
  • Reinstates a requirement that H-1B petitioners submit additional evidence when H-1B workers will perform services, in a specialty occupation, at a third-party worksite.
  • Codifies the USCIS site visit program.

The DOL rule increases wage requirements for H-1B, H-1B1, and E-3 nonimmigrant cases as well as the PERM labor certification program. This rule is effective immediately and restructures the prevailing wage system for the aforementioned programs. Prevailing wages will increase substantially, which could impact the many employers, including Princeton, that sponsor for H-1B, H-1B1, and E-3.  

Who may be affected by these rules?

  • New H-1B, H-1B1, or E-3 applicants, including current F-1, J-1, and other visa holders that intend to change their status to H-1B, H-1B1, or E-3 on or after the effective date of the rules.
  • H-1B, H-1B1, and E-3 holders that intend to extend their status on or after the effective date of the rules.  
  • H-1B, H-1B1, and E-3 holders that intend to change employers on or after the effective date of the rules.
  • H-1B, H-1B1, and E-3 holders with changes to their previously approved position (e.g., a promotion or new job) and must amend their petition on or after the effective date of the rules.

Current H-1B holders are not impacted until such time as the employer files a new application as described above. Validity of previously-issued visa stickers/stamps are not impacted by the rules.

If you have any questions about the rules, or any other question regarding your immigration status, please contact your Davis International Center Advisor who can best advise you based on your particular situation. We are conducting individual appointments via Zoom/phone, virtual advising hours (via Zoom) for both students and scholars, and are here to help you during these difficult and uncertain times. For more detailed information, you may wish to refer to the Fragomen Alerts linked below.

Fragomen Alert, New DOL Rule, October 6, 2020

Fragomen Alert, New DHS Rule, October 6, 2020