The H-1B visa allows American companies to employ foreign workers in speciality occupations that require theoretical or technical expertise.(Photo for Representation)
The H-1B visa allows American companies to employ foreign workers in speciality occupations that require theoretical or technical expertise.(Photo for Representation)

Trump admin’s final wage rules will not apply for upcoming H-1B filing season

The final wages rule would have forced US companies seeking H-1B, H-1B1 or E-3 visas for foreign workers to offer the same, or higher, wages as their local counterparts.
By hindustantimes.com | Edited by Kunal Gaurav, New Delhi
PUBLISHED ON JAN 28, 2021 04:08 PM IST

The final wages rule issued by the US department of labour (DOL) during the Trump administration will not apply for upcoming H-1B filing season. The registration for H-1B applications is likely to start in March and the rule, which was scheduled to take effect from March 15, has been postponed to May 14 in accordance with President Joe Biden’s regulatory freeze.

The final wages rule would have forced American companies seeking H-1B, H-1B1 or E-3 visas for foreign workers to offer the same, or higher, wages as their local counterparts. The final wages rule also directed employers to recruit US workers for the position on the prevailing wage issued by the department when seeking to hire an immigrant under an EB-2 or EB-3 classification.

The rule was intended to prevent US employers from hiring low-cost foreign workers and push Trump administration’s “protectionist” policy. During the last days of Trump administration, secretary of labour Eugene Scalia had said in a statement that the department was taking those steps to strengthen “wage protections, address abuses in visa programs, and protect American workers from being undercut by cheaper foreign labour.”

The department has now said that the proposed delay of 60 days will “allow agency officials the opportunity to review any questions of fact, law, or policy, the rule may raise”. This means that the wage hikes may be implemented but only after the DOL finishes its review process.

Read | Biden admin withdraws Trump-era move to rescind work permits for H1-B spouses

The DOL had also issued an office of foreign labour certification H-1B program bulletin and a wage and hour division field assistance bulletin (FAB) on January 15 that revised interpretation of the regulations and accompanying guidance for companies that sponsor H-1B visa holders. However, the department is now also withdrawing the bulleting and FAB for “the purpose of considering the process for issuing this interpretation as well as reviewing related issues of law, fact, and policy.”

“Accordingly, the requirements of the Bulletin and FAB are no longer in effect. The Department will notify the public of any further actions as appropriate once it completes its review,” the DOL website says.

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