Judge Strikes Down Trump’s Proposed H-1B Visa Selection System

Judge overturns Trump's proposed rule to select H-1B visas

Judge overturns Trump’s proposed rule to select H-1B visas

A federal judge for the Northern District of California recently struck down the Trump administration’s proposed rule to change the H-1B visa selection system.

This is a major victory for immigrant rights advocates and especially for hundreds of American or US-based companies that benefit from the presence of skilled foreign workers.

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What is the H-1B visa?

The H-1B visa is a business immigration program that allows eligible local employers to hire highly qualified foreign workers in sectors such as science, technology, engineering and research.

Usually, these areas rely heavily on the presence of foreign workers and experience an alarming shortage of skilled workforce when the H-1B visa adjudication process is delayed, which happened under the Trump administration and in the midst of the global Coronavirus pandemic.

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What was Trump’s proposal?

Currently, the US grants a total of 65,000 H-1B visas for skilled foreign workers and another 20,000 for foreign nationals with advanced degrees.

When the number of applications exceeds the annual cap, which happens almost every year, the USCIS (US Citizenship and Immigration Services) randomly chooses eligible applications through the H-1B Visa Lottery.

At the end of October 2020, the Trump administration proposed to remove the H-1B Visa Lottery and replace it with a wage-based selection system, from highest to lowest.

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Why did the judge strike down Trump’s proposal?

The US Chamber of Commerce filed a lawsuit against the Trump administration’s rule, stating that changing the H-1B visa selection system would affect some sectors more than others and would be disproportionate to local businesses.

As a result, the federal judge in charge of the case agreed with the plaintiffs and struck down Trump’s proposal for the H-1B visa selection system.

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The current administration’s opinion regarding Trump’s proposal

In February 2021, President Biden postponed the implementation of Trump’s H-1B visa selection system, which was scheduled to go into effect in early March, stating that his administration would review the proposal and decide whether or not to implement it by the end of 2021.

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