The administration of President Donald Trump is pushing forward a regulation to replace the lottery-based allocation system for the controversial H-1B visa with a wage-based process, but the change may not hold under the incoming administration of President-elect Joe Biden.
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services posted the new rule Thursday and is expected to officially publish it tomorrow.
It would issue H-1B visas — intended for jobs requiring specialized skills — based on worker salary, with higher-paid positions receiving priority.
The Trump administration has cracked down on the H-1B program, dramatically boosting visa denials for staffing companies and outsourcers that contract out foreign workers. Critics have charged that these companies and their client firms use the H-1B to supplant U.S. workers, drive down wages and send jobs overseas. Major technology companies, which hire H-1B workers directly and also via staffing firms, push to expand the annual 85,000 cap on new visas, arguing that the visa is necessary for securing the world’s top talent.
Research by the left-leaning Economic Policy Institute and Howard University professor Ron Hira, who studies the H-1B, found that in 2019, IT staffing companies such as Infosys, Deloitte and Cognizant had applied for large numbers of H-1B workers at the second-lowest wage levels, while Bay Area technology giants Google, Apple, Cisco and Oracle had a mix of higher and lower levels.
A spokeswoman for Biden said late last month that his administration would halt or delay all regulations issued by the Trump administration in its waning days.