US looks to replace H-1B visa lottery system with a wage-based selection process that will prioritise higher salaries

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US looks to replace H-1B visa lottery system with a wage-based selection process that will prioritise higher salaries
The US Department of Homeland Security has proposed changing the way in which H-1B visas will be approved for entry into the countryDHS
  • The US Department of Homeland Security is looking to replace the current H-1B lottery allotment system with a wage-based selection process.
  • It claims that the proposed rule prioritises higher salaries, keeps employers from exploiting the system, and improves the quality of migrant workers hired to come work in the US.
  • Companies like Microsoft, Amazon, and Facebook have been fighting the temporary ban on H-1B visas. They will now have 30 days to submit their comments once the rule is published in the Federal Register.
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The US Department of Homeland Security is looking to revamp the current lottery system used to allot the technology sector’s favorite visa, the H-1B. Instead of random selection and baseline eligibility, the government is pitching for a wage-based selection process that will prioritise higher salaries.

The department accused employees in the US of ‘exploiting and abusing’ the current system. It claims that instead of bringing the best and the brightest into the country, the random selection process is bringing in relatively lower-paid foreign labour at the expense of the US workforce.

The department also justified that the new system will be more appropriate for the current crisis, where supply of foreign talent is more than demand. “If finalized as proposed, this new selection process would incentivize employers to offer higher wages or petition for positions requiring higher skills and higher-skilled workers instead of using the program to fill relatively lower-paid vacancies,” said the notice.

US technology giants are fighting the change to visa rules tooth-and-nail
Over 50 US technology companies — including big wigs like Microsoft, Amazon, and Facebook — have taken a stand against the ban on the entry of foreign employees into the US.

The legal brief challenges US President Donald Trump on the issue. It argues that visa restrictions will hurt the interest of businesses within the US and lead employees to hire workers outside the US instead of letting them work from within the country.

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These companies assert that instead of helping the debilitating state of the employment, the restrictions will only serve to damage the already struggling US economy further.

However, one US court has already shot down an appeal filed by 169 Indian who challenged the ban. The US District Judge argued that those

Indian IT companies, on the hand, have so far claimed that Trump’s H-1B visa ban does not have any immediate impact on their operations. However, Infosys and HCL Technologies, have shared that they are looking to near-shore locations within the time zone as the US to expand their operations, with Canada being a popular candidate.


Homeland Security’s proposal is yet to receive a response from stakeholders. Once the proposed regulation is published in the Federal Register, it will be open to public comment. Those looking to share their view will have 30 days to submit their comments about the rule and another 60 days to submit comments that may be relevant to the proposed information collection.

“The Department will review all properly submitted comments, consider them carefully, and draft responses before issuing a final rule,” said the notice.
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