H-1B Lottery Replaced With Wage-Based Selection

U.S Citizenship and Immigration Services finalized a final rule to end the long-standing random lottery system for H-1B work visas. The new rule will replace the lottery system with a wage-based approach, that favors the highest-paid foreign workers.

This regulation was first announced in October 2020 but will apply to H-1B petitions for the fiscal year 2022 for which the employers will register from March 9 this year. But, the emerging reports underline that the incoming presidential administration of Joe Biden could place it on hold and also repeal it under the Congressional Review Act.

The new regulation will have the initial H-1B visas subject to the cap would be awarded first to the people in the highest of four wage levels, as per the Department of Labor’s wage system. The DOL wage levels based on the duties and requirements of the job are:

Level I for entry-level workers.
Level II for qualified employees.
Level III for experienced employees.
Level IV for fully qualified employees with enough experience to plan, modify, and approve standard procedures.

The highest-paid workers are selected first and the petitions would be chosen in descending order through the remaining levels until the cap is reached. As per this rule, the Level 1 entry-level wages would be selected for the H-1B visas.

While the new rule is mixed responses already, the spotlight on pay scale will hurt the employers who are recruiting and hiring based on skills from abroad, particularly for those workers who are just starting their careers. Unless this rule by USCIS is revoked by the Biden administration, it leaves the employers to pay the same to the individuals with no experience as they pay the experienced individuals.

The new rule is ridiculed by experts as it will impact small to medium businesses for their inability to pay higher wages.

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