This comes as a welcome move as layoffs continue in the country, particularly in the tech sector, which employs a substantial number of H-1B workers.
The final rules for fee hikes on immigration-related applications, including H-1B visas, have also been postponed until March 2024, according to a TOI report. Additionally, the agenda includes plans to enhance anti-fraud measures in the H-1B cap registration system.
“The spring agenda has significantly deferred the Department of Labour’s (DOL’s) plan to move ahead with this wage-hike rule. It now appears as its long-term agenda, with a draft proposed to be released in June 2024,” Mitchell Wexler, partner at Fragomen, a global immigration law firm, told TOI.
Once the draft rule is published, a 30-60 day period is typically allowed for public comments, followed by several more months for finalizing the proposal.
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The bi-annual spring agenda outlines the immediate and long-term plans of various US government agencies, including the Department of Homeland Security, US Citizenship and Immigration Services, the Department of Labor, and the Department of State.Both the proposed increase in H-1B wages and filing fees would have had adverse effects on the American business community that relies on hiring H-1B workers. The USCIS’ proposed fee schedule, published in January, faced criticism from the business community due to significant increases for many employment-based immigration procedures. It remains unclear whether the final rule, expected to be issued in March 2024, will modify the earlier proposed fee increases and to what extent.Earlier this year, TOI covered the proposed fee schedule, which included a rise in E-registration fees for H-1B applications from $10 to $215, and a 70% increase in subsequent fees for H-1B applications to $780. The most substantial increases were proposed for EB-5 investors, with the initial fee set to rise by 204% to $11,160.
On a positive note for American employers hiring immigration workers, USCIS plans to publish a final regulation in August that will grant them the authority to allow alternatives to in-person inspections of identity and employment authorization documents in the Form I-9 employment eligibility verification process.