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Department of Homeland Security to Tighten H-1B and Other Regulations

The Trump Administration’s Unified Agenda of Federal Regulatory and Deregulatory Actions for the DHS contains close to 60 items.

Published in the spring and fall, the Unified Agenda gives information about regulations that are under development. The latest iteration represents President Donald Trump’s promise to amend and eliminate “regulations that are ineffective, duplicative, and obsolete” in order to “promote economic growth and innovation and protect individual liberty.”

Here are some changes employers can be expected in 2018.

Strengthening the H-1B Nonimmigrant Visa Classification Program:

  • Revise the definition of a “specialty occupation” to focus on the “the best and the brightest”

  • Redefine the employer-employee relationship “to better protect U.S. workers and wages”

  • Impact: This might mean a further crackdown on outsourcers and new definitions that could make it more difficult to obtain visas in certain occupational categories

Registration Requirement for Petitioners Seeking to File H-1B Petitions on Behalf of Aliens Subject to the Numerical Cap:

  • Streamline the H-1B Cap process by introducing an electronic registration process

  • May include a modified selection process to focus on the “best and brightest”

  • Impact: This might mean a more hierarchical approach to the selection process based upon degrees and wages

Removing H-4 Dependent Spouses from the Class of Aliens Eligible for Employment Authorization

  • Eliminate the H-4 EAD Rule

  • Notice of Proposed Rulemaking is expected in February 2018

  • Impact: This might mean a loss of employment authorization for approximately 100,000 spouses

Practical Training Reform

  • Improve protections for U.S. workers who may be negatively impacted by students employed in F and M status

  • Reduce fraud and abuse and increase oversight of schools and students involved in the program

  • Notice of Proposed Rulemaking is expected in October 2018

  • Impact: This might make is more difficult to hire and retain students and could result in the reduction in enrollment of foreign students at U.S. institutions

Jackson Lewis P.C. © 2019


About this Author

Forrest G. Read IV, Immigration, Employment, Attorney, Jackson Lewis, Law Firm

Forrest Read is a Principal in the Washington, D.C. Region office of Jackson Lewis P.C. He has extensive experience in both business immigration law and employment law and has special expertise in legal issues in graduate medical education (GME).

Mr. Read's immigration practice focuses on assisting employers in obtaining employment-based nonimmigrant visas (e.g., H-1B, L, O, TN) for foreign national employees and work-related immigrant (green card) visas, including PERM Labor Certifications, and advising employers on compliance with U.S. immigration laws and...