Change in H-1B visa pay requirements delayed — for now

| Feb 18, 2021 | Employment Immigration |

A rule change by the Department of Labor that would have required employers sponsoring H-1B visa candidates to pay those workers a much higher salary than U.S. citizens in the same field is off the table, at least for the moment.

Traditionally, when sponsoring a would-be employee for H-1B status, an employer would have to agree to pay the worker the prevailing wage, based on the average wages of people working similar jobs in the same industry. But the Department of Labor’s proposed rule change would raise the necessary wage for H-1B workers anywhere from 21 to 41 percent.

The likely effect inflated salaries would have

At first, this may sound like a good thing to people seeking a job in the U.S., but critics say the effect would be very negative for foreign nationals. Instead of paying inflated wages, most U.S. employers would hire U.S. citizens or permanent residents instead. That could be why groups that support reducing immigration to the U.S. supported this proposal.

A new direction in H-1B policy

We previously discussed this rule last month when a federal judge struck it down. The previous presidential administration made minor changes to the rule and moved it from “interim” to “final” stage in January. However, the new administration has announced it is delaying the rule. It remains to be seen what the final decision about the rule change will be.

One constant in U.S. immigration law is that changes can occur nearly every year. Employers in Riverside County and throughout California who routinely hire foreign nationals for their workforces would do well to consult an immigration attorney to ensure they are staying within the law.

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