New H-1B Visa Lottery Rule

H-1B VisaThe United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) issued a final rule on 01/08/2021 to replace the annual H-1B visa lottery system that it has used for years. The new system randomly selects foreign professionals with a premise that prioritizes those offered the highest salaries for their occupation and geographic area.

Under the new rule, the initial H-1B visas subject to the cap would be first awarded to those people in the highest of four wage levels, according to the Department of Labor’s (DOL’s) prevailing wage system.

The DOL determines prevailing wages as the average wage paid to similarly employed workers in a specific occupation in the geographic area of intended employment. There are currently four DOL wage levels based on the duties and requirements of the job:

  • Level 1 is for entry-level workers.
  • Level 2 is for qualified employees.
  • Level 3 is for experienced employees.
  • Level 4 is for fully qualified employees with enough experience to plan, modify, and approve standard procedures.

When the highest-paid candidates are selected, petitions would be chosen in descending order through the remaining levels until the cap has been reached. USCIS indicated that under the new rule, no workers in Level 1 entry-level would be selected for the H-1B visas.

It has to be noted that the new Biden administration may change this new policy before its implementation.

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