Spring 2018 Regulatory Agenda H1B H4 EAD and F1 Changes

News : Spring 2018 Regulatory Agenda – H4 EAD Removal, H1B Changes, F1 OPT, CPT

In H1B Visa News by Kumar16 Comments

US Federal Government published their Spring 2018 Regulatory agenda that basically outlines the priorities of the current government on various regulations. This is similar to the Fall edition of the Unified regulatory agenda, but published in Spring. Our interest here on our blog is more from immigration and priorities of DHS and USCIS.  Let’s quickly review the in this article.

Summary of the Spring 2018 Regulatory Agenda for H4 EAD, H1B, F1 Visa Holders :

 In general, for the most part, nothing has changed except the timelines on the regulatory agenda items from Fall 2017 and the details of statement of need for such rules details in them as they have already been published with these details in Fall 2017 regulatory agenda.  For more details, check out article Fall 2017 Regulatory Agenda H4 EAD, H1B, F1 News . Below are the various items with their new timelines and summary.

H1B Visa Program Changes – Lottery Changes, Pre-registration:   

Official Title of Rule : “Registration Requirement for Petitioners Seeking To File H-1B Petitions on Behalf of Aliens Subject to Numerical Limitations”
Summary :  DHS is planning to revive its original 2011 regulation H1B Visa Cap Registration proposing this agenda item as they have seen excessive amount of demand for the H1B workers that is more than the numeric limitation. The goal of this rule is to properly manage the process of accepting applications and lottery process.  They suggest that the rule may include change in selection process as per the Buy American, Hire American Executive Order by Trump . H1Bs could be potentially awarded to most skilled or highest paid candidates in H1B pool.  DHS says that with pre-registration process and up-front cap selection process, it will reduce the extra burden and upfront cost for employer as only the ones given a cap number can prepare and file H1B petition.
Expected Publication Date : July 2018  ( for NPRM – Notice of Proposed Rule Making Official Rule Link : Reginfo.gov –H1B Pre-registration Rule
Current Status & Impact : This rule of pre-registration has been discussed in the past but never went far. It will be interesting to see, how they will amend this rule. The goal of DHS it says is to allocate the H1B cap numbers to the best and brightest, no details are out yet on this. While we have few more H1B Visa Bills from Trump Administration that are being discussed in Senate that are planning on increasing the wage rate, etc., The original timeline was Feb 2018, now this has moved to July 2018. If it really goes through, it will be part of H1B Visa 2020 Season.
Official Title of Rule: Strengthening the H-1B Non-immigrant Visa Classification Program”
Summary :  DHS wants to change the definition of the H1B visa program to get the best and brightest talent from foreign countries. As they have noticed abuse of the H1B program around employer-employee relationship, classification of a H1B job, they want to make some changes so that US workers are protected and additional requirements for paying well for H1B holders. DHS wants to ensure all the policies are in-line with their recent Trump executive order of “Buy American and Hire American”. They want to make sure US workers are protected and H1B holders will only supplement US work force. There may be some changes to fees and extra paper work as per USCIS
Expected Publication Date : January  2019 Official Rule Link : Reginfo.gov – H1B Definition Change
Current Status & Impact :   The original date for this rule was for Oct 2018, now this is pushed to January 2019.  Some of the rules that are in process in Senate, if any of them pass, they could be included in this change. DHS is very clear on reducing fraud and getting the best and brightest. They may increase fees, more paperwork so that it becomes difficult to commit abuse of the program and do not replace US workers.  Depending on the things proposed in the rule, it could have a huge impact on the H1B visa program and for all the outsourcing and IT body shop companies. We may see some of this coming in for H1B 2020 season.

H4 Visa EAD Removal Proposal by USCIS  

Official Title of Rule: “Removing H-4 Dependent Spouses from the Class of Aliens Eligible for Employment Authorization”
Summary : DHS clearly tells that it proposed H4 EAD rule for certain eligible H1B spouses who are in process of Green Card in 2015 and now they want to amend/ change that published final rule to remove that EAD eligibility for certain H4 spouses. The primary reason DHS says for the plan to remove H4 EAD is the recently signed President Trump’s Executive Order “Buy American and Hire American” . It states that the DHS Secretary has authority to do as per INA regulations. They say the two potential impacts would be one to employers who have H4 EAD’s employed in the form of labor turnover costs and other is general cost savings ( DHS/ US Economy ??) that would add up by not filing future H4 EADs.
Expected Publication Date : June 2018 Official Rule Link : RegInfo H4 EAD Removal
Current Status & Impact :  This rule was originally planned in Fall 2017 agenda with date of Feb 2018, but now with the complexity of the analysis and impact, it is now moved to June 2018. This is probably the most discussed item, if you look at the comments on H4 EAD Lawsuit, Updates page , you can see some intense arguments. Nevertheless, if USCIS takes this forward, it may or may not have any immediate impact for current H4 EAD holders. Usually, they do not remove EAD just like that as it will impact current businesses, who employ EAD holders. They will give some time for employers and current EAD holders to adjust by phasing out the expiry. If this passes, it will impact the future H4 holders who have dreams to work on H4. As of now, nothing changes, you can continue to file for EAD, if you are eligible.

 F1 Visa Students – OPT, CPT Changes to Stop abuse and protect US workers

Official Title of Rule : “Practical Training Reform“
Summary : This rule is proposed to address the abuse of the CPT and OPT Work Options  by F visa and M visa students that is impacting the American workers. ICE is planned to do some big changes to reduce the fraud in this program. The proposed changes are to be in-line to protect US workers jobs and not displace them. ICE is expected to propose rules like increase of the oversight by the schools and ensure there is compliance of the program. They says that there will be extra costs involved for the schools, ICE and students, but the outcome is to avoid fraud and protect the integrity of the program.
Expected Publication Date : October 2018 Official Rule Link : RegInfo.gov – CPT OPT Changes
Current Status & Impact : No change in the date or priority here from Fall 2017 agenda. In general, there is no immediate impact. It is too early to speculate on what impact would be here. There are definitely schools that are primarily degree mills, which are abusing these programs.  Also, with the 24 Month OPT rule, some employers are using this as a bridge for employment and impact US workers, that’s the concern. There were some guidelines updated earlier this year in USCIS site like OPT holders cannot work at client site location and need to be at employer’s place. Also, we may expect some extra oversight rules that may kick-in that could make it harder for the abuse of the program and more overhead for the schools.

 H1B Visa, EAD and other Application Fee increases by USCIS  

Official Title of Rule : “U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services Fee Schedule”
Summary : Basically, USCIS go through fees revisions for making sure they cover their costs. While it does not really tell that there will be fee increase, but usually such reviews come up with fee increases
Expected Publication Date : October 2018 Official Rule Link : USCIS Fee Review
Current Status & Impact : No change in the priority or timeline from Fall 2017 agenda. In general, with the increase scrutiny and other process in place to avoid fraud, we can expect the overheads for the USCIS to be high and could potentially result in increase of the Fee for H1B, H4 and other EAD programs. We have to wait and see, but it quite possible for fee increase.

 What do you think of these planned changes to H4 EAD, H1B, F1 students ?  Your thoughts ?

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Comments ( 16 )

  1. AD

    My H4 EAD story-

    https://medium.com/@righttoworkforlegalimmigrants/my-right-to-work-as-a-legal-immigrant-in-united-states-1a22eaf3f2f3?source=linkShare-9a62f3c4ac3-1526438590

    1. Third & Final Attempt

      People who came before around 2000 to 2014 majority thru outsourcing company scared that there project would end here had to go back jumped on to consultancies created by the same kind of people who came in little bit earlier than them. abusing immigration laws. Now we are facing the wrath .At young age (20-30) we left our parents came to USA on our own taking loans not depending anyone got into best colleges after graduation started working even after 3 attempts because of this stupid lottery many are not able to get h1b. Many are in uncertanity dont know where to go what to do. Some even spend upto 30s to 35s on day 1 cpts without even thinking about a partner due uncertanity. atleast h4 ead husband / wife will be earning. here the main source of income will be cut off. Many are going back to home country due this uncertanity starting from scratch. You have a story like wise international students in US have their story too.. Just sharing…

      1. AD

        I hear ya. It’s very difficult for people in your situations. But for students living in this country is a choice, for spouses it’s not always the case. Also, not everyone comes to this country via outsourcing company. My husband didn’t. He is from IIT/IIM working for a top Fortune 10 company. So stop generalizing.

        1. Third & Final Attempt

          Majority ma’am majority while you’re the exception i agree. You have to generalize since is hard to look at each case by case basis. See this Majority abused the system everybody have to face it. If only uscis did more scrutiny intially in 2000s there would be body shopping firms who would game the people from outsourcing firm for american dream. Again many found FTE but majority settled for body shops. You have to generalize ma’am you have to. USCIS generalizes when passing a rule.

          1. AD

            I don’t know if majority abused the system, never seen any data around it.

            A quick sampling of the people I know who are working on H1B are intelligent, honest, and hardworking, employed at some of the top companies, contributing to the US economy. We all came here not via some outsourcing scam, but on our own merits.

            Can you please share a link where it shows majority of H1B cases were fraudulent?

          2. Third & Final Attempt

            Why would you think desi consultancies bloomed everywhere like mushrooms? If there are so many body shopping consultancies run by desis exists then are good bunch of people working in it. There is even an alliance formed by >150 body shops lead by famous attorneys. There are 1000s of recruters on linkedin from india with some western names faking that they live in usa poaching for desis. I’m pretty sure you’re linkedin. What more evidence do you need?

          3. Third & Final Attempt

            Why would there a be a massive scrutiny and some much hatred against h1b from administration and US people right now because Fraud H1B> Legit H1B. if legit h1b > fraud h1b there approach would have been different.

          4. Third & Final Attempt

            Wow! So administration calling for more scrutinies on h1b visas, merit based immigration reforms is no way related to H1b fraud? They released memo on working at 3rd party site and multiple petitions just for fun not because people are abusing the system? I may not be able provide concrete evidence to prove causation but I hope you’re not making mistake of dismissing the correlation entirely knowing it could be good source for prediction of causation.

  2. Andypeich

    Good news overall. This will limit fraud and abuse by desi consultancies – and boost the chances of genuine applicants. Hope this gets approved fast!!

  3. KeepTheDreamAlive

    I estimate this would reduce the use of the word ‘encashed’ on this website’s comment section significantly.

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