The USCIS has released a proposed new rule that impacts multiple categories
of immigrant and non-immigrant visas and is rumored to be the first in
a series of upcoming measures from the administration. In the 314-page
new rule, USCIS states that “USCIS estimates that it will take several
years before USCIS backlogs decrease measurably.”
At the same time, the Office of Management and Budget (“OMB”),
within the Executive Office of the President, has listed as part of the
Department of Homeland Security’s (“DHS”) agenda new
proposed rulemaking that will impact the H-1B and L-1 visa programs. Specifically,
the DHS is said to be:
• Looking at ways to make obtaining H-1B visas more difficult by re-defining
specialty occupation.” The stated goal of the DHS to enact these
new rules so that, “H-1B visas are awarded only to individuals who
will be working in a job which meets the statutory definition of specialty
occupation.” The expected date of this new rule is December 2019.
• Considering removing the eligibility of certain H-4 visa holders
from obtaining employment authorization. The expected date of this new
rule is March 2020.
• Trying to further restrict L-1 visas by “revis(ing) the definition
of specialized knowledge, clarify(ing) the definition of employment and
employer-employee relationship, and ensur(ing) employers pay appropriate
wages to L-1 visa holders.” The expected date of these new rules
is in September 2020.
Additionally, the USCIS has proposed new fees for most visa categories.
Proposed new visa fees of most interest to our clients are as follows:
The USCIS is also considering changing the rules to enable premium processing
cases to be decided in 15 business days rather than the current rule of
15 calendar days thus delaying the adjudication of such petitions.
While many of the proposed new rules may not be enacted or changed from
what is being proposed, the upcoming DHS agenda, as listed in the OMB
website, demonstrates the intention of the administration to make obtaining
immigrant and non-immigrant visas to the U.S. more difficult.
Please feel free to contact USILAW with any questions or issues that you
may have. You may reach us via telephone at +1 (202) 618 4540 or via email