A final regulation to “modernize” the H-1B visa program is under review at the White House Office of Management and Budget.

Key Points:

  • The text of the rule is not yet available, but OMB review is the final step in the regulatory process before publication.
  • It is not yet clear whether the final rule will be limited to changes to the H-1B registration selection process or will include provisions that would make substantive changes to H-1B eligibility. U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services previously indicated that it may seek to finalize changes to the H-1B registration selection process before other portions of the rule.
  • The proposed changes to the H-1B registration process focus on the manner in which USCIS selects from the pool registrations and would not affect employers’ ongoing cap planning. However, under the proposal, employers would be required to provide passport information for each intended beneficiary as part of registration.

BAL Analysis: USCIS published a 227-page proposed H-1B modernization rule in October. The proposal drew more than 1,300 comments in a comment period that ended Dec. 22. Business and immigration coalitions have been generally supportive of USCIS’ proposal to shift to a beneficiary-centric lottery, but reactions have been more mixed on some of the proposal’s other measures. BAL will continue monitoring the proposal through the regulatory process and will provide updates as information becomes available.

This alert has been provided by the BAL U.S. Practice Group.

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