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H-1B visa row: Second lawsuit to be filed in US Court against new rule

The lawsuit challenges the October 6th order of the Department of Labor (DOL) that hiked the 'prevailing wages' to hire H-1B employees by up to 50 per cent making

twitter-logoBusinessToday.In | October 19, 2020 | Updated 16:01 IST
H-1B visa row: Second lawsuit to be filed in US Court against new rule
The first lawsuit representing US IT firms, along with seven other firms, was filed on October 16

A second lawsuit challenging Donald Trump administration's new H-1B rules is set to be filed in the Washington DC Court on Monday, October 19. Memphis, Tennessee-based immigration lawyer Greg Siskind is going to file the case, which will represent 10 universities, an IT industry association, physician and dentist groups, a logistics/warehousing company, a community health clinic, and a nursing home chain.

Expounding on the grounds for his lawsuit, Siskind told Moneycontrol that the case is "focussed on the illegal manner in which the rule was rolled out (focussing on the Administrative Procedure Act requirements)... the faulty math and economic assumptions in the rule..."

The first lawsuit representing US IT firms, along with seven other firms, was filed on October 16 in the New Jersey district court challenging a wage hike rule, by the US Department of Labor, that increased the H-1B wages by up to 50 per cent. The case was filed by ITServe Alliance, a non-profit trade organisation that represents US IT firms, against the US Labor Secretary Eugene Scalia and John Pallasch, Assistant Secretary of Labor.

Also Read: H-1B visa rules: What are the new restrictions imposed by Trump administration

The lawsuit challenges the October 6th order of the Department of Labor (DOL) that hiked the 'prevailing wages' to hire H-1B employees by up to 50 per cent making. The new rule makes it considerably more expensive for companies to employ them (H-1B workers). Moreover, DOL's new order was implemented without notice and public comment period, effective immediately.

The H-1B visa is a non-immigrant work permit that allows foreign workers to go to the United States and work for American companies in specialty occupations. The Trump administration, earlier this month (on October 6), issued a new order that narrows the definition of "specialty occupation" while closing an overboard definition that worked well for overseas companies doing business in the US. The US government has made it mandatory for them to furnish additional documentation to prove they actually need the H-1B workers from overseas countries.

Also read: H-1B visa ban: Who said what after blow to Indian IT firms?

Here are key changes to H-1B visa rules:  

  • It narrows the definition of "specialty occupation" as Congress intended by closing the broad definition that allegedly allowed companies to game the system. 
  • Require companies to make "real" offers to "real employees," by closing loopholes and preventing the displacement of the American worker. 
  • Enhance DHS's ability to enforce compliance through worksite inspections and monitor compliance before, during, and after an H1-B petition is approved.

IT companies depend on H1B visas to hire tens of thousands of employees each year from countries like India and China. The decision by the Trump administration is likely to have an adverse impact on thousands of Indian IT professionals.

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