Judge Strikes Down New H-1B Wage Rules
A federal judge struck down two Trump administration rules on December 1 that were designed to drastically curtail the number of visas issued each year to skilled foreign workers. California Judge Jeffrey White said the new wages rules for the H-1B visa program that were put into effect by Presidential executive order in October to address COVID-related unemployment “didn’t follow transparency procedures.”
The changes to the H-1B visa program announced in October include new DHS salary requirements for companies that employ skilled overseas workers and the Department of Labor (DOL) added limits on what constitutes an H-1B specialty occupation. Department of Homeland Security said the new rules were a priority because of coronavirus-related job losses and estimated as many as 1/3 of H-1B applicants in recent years would be denied under the new rules.
The lawsuits challenging the new rules said the H-1B rules were initially proposed as part of President Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign, but the government was only able to implement them during the COVID crisis, and that the government’s claim that the measures were an emergency “didn’t hold water.”
The new wage rules would have made H-1B workers prohibitively expensive for many businesses. After the new rules were enacted, business experts predicted that if the government continues to limit the number of H-1B workers tech companies can bring to the U.S., companies may send the work overseas instead.
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