The Department of Homeland Security’s semi-annual regulatory agenda indicates the Trump administration will pursue plans to terminate work authorization for spouses of H-1B holders, overhaul the H-1B annual allotment process, revise H-1B eligibility and wage protections, and update the F-1 Optional Practical Training (OPT) program.
Notably, DHS signaled that the changes to the H-1B and F-1 OPT programs will be accomplished through notice and comment rulemaking in the federal register. That means the policy changes will not become effective immediately and companies and other affected parties will have the opportunity to submit comments to the government.
BAL Analysis: The DHS regulatory agenda seeks to roll back a number of remaining Obama-era immigration regulations and further tighten non-immigrant categories, in particular H-4, H-1B and F-1 student OPT. Because the notice and comment rulemaking process often takes six months or longer, it is not clear that the administration will have time to make substantial changes to the H-1B filing or allocation process before the FY2019 cap season begins on April 1, 2018. But because adjudication of those petitions will take months, companies could see new eligibility standards applied to next year’s H-1B cap filings. Employers are encouraged to work with BAL to plan for these changes, as well as to participate in the public comment period to help influence the direction of any new regulations. BAL will continue to provide clients with information on these and other regulatory changes as it becomes available.
This alert has been provided by the BAL U.S. Practice group. For additional information, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
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