The proposed mechanism had sought to introduce the allocation of H-1B visas based on a wage system. This would have given priority in the H-1B visa selection process to applications offering the highest wage level in the respective occupation category and geographic area.
For the upcoming H-1B registration and filing season (for the year ended September 30, 2022), the existing random selection process will remain in place. The start and end dates for the opening of the registration, to be followed by the lottery process have not yet been announced.
A few days ago, the US Department of Labour had said that the final wage rule would be delayed to May 14. This rule, rolled out by the Trump administration, which had hiked wages across all four skill levels by 30% was to come into effect from March 15.
It is currently under review by the Biden administration.
Read also: Wage hike rule of Trump admin under review, will not apply to upcoming H-1B filing season
The net effect of both the announcements is that for the coming H-1B filing season, the old norms continue. As it did last year, the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will conduct two random lotteries to select enough beneficiaries to meet the annual quota of 85,000.
The first lottery will include all registered applications and will select enough registrations to meet the regular H-1B cap of 65,000.
The second lottery would include registered US advanced-degree holders who were not chosen in the first lottery and would select enough registrations to meet the H-1B Masters’ cap of 20,000.
During the last filing season, for the fiscal year ended September 30, 2021, USCIS had received 2.75 lakh registrations from sponsoring employers for workers they wish to depute or hire in the US.
Of which nearly 67.7% or 1.86 lakh were for those from India. Sponsoring employers also filed registrations for 36,300 (13.2%) Chinese workers. A USCIS release had stated that roughly 46% of all registrations (or 1.26 lakh) were eligible for the Masters’ cap.
According to immigration attorneys, at this juncture, the proposed wage rule and the mechanism for selection of H-1B cap applications have been postponed.
If the Biden administration seeks to replace the random lottery selection process, it could face litigation, they add.