On Wednesday, the United States announced that starting April 1, the visa system is to begin with a shift as it’s switching to a new system for processing H-1B petitions that will give priority to foreign workers with advanced degrees from American institutions, over those hired abroad, in India, China and other countries.

Image source: AFP

The new system will also introduce electronic registration of petitions, which, however, will be suspended for the upcoming H-1B 2020 season that will typically kick off from April 1.

“US employers seeking to employ foreign workers with an American masters or higher degree will have a greater chance of selection in the H-1B lottery in years of excess demand for new H-1B visas.”

Director of the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), Francis Cissna announced the new rule in agreement to US President Donald Trump

President of the United States of America (USA) had already signalled of the same in a tweet earlier this month quoting:

“Changes are soon coming which will bring both simplicity and certainty to your stay, including a potential path to citizenship. We want to encourage talented and highly skilled people to pursue career options in the US.”

US President, Donald Trump

The switch in the selection process is expected to increase the number of beneficiaries with advanced degrees from US institutions by an estimated 16% (or 5,340 workers). It is in line with President Donald Trump’s repeated assertions in support of merit-based immigration.

More than 70% of the total visas go to Indian beneficiaries hired by both US companies such as Amazon, Microsoft and Google, and US arms of Indian outsourcing giants such as Infosys, TCS and Wipro.

Starting April 1, USCIS will first select H-1B petitions submitted on behalf of all beneficiaries, including those that may be eligible for the advanced degree exemption, who would earlier have been set aside for the advanced degree category only.

The immigration agency would then select from the remaining eligible petitions to fill the category for advanced degree exemption. This is expected to push up the number of advanced degrees beneficiaries by 16%.

“The reverse selection order will apply to petitions filed for the financial year 2020 H-1B cap season.”


Source: PTI