H-1B Work Visa Rules Get a Revamp

H-1B visas allow employers to hire high-skilled foreign workers. Regulators have finalized new rules for this visa program following last fall's proposal.

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To help you understand what changes the White House is making to update H-1B visa programs, on immigration more generally and what we expect to happen in the future, our highly experienced Kiplinger Letter team will keep you abreast of the latest developments and forecasts (Get a free issue of The Kiplinger Letter or subscribe). You'll get all the latest news first by subscribing, but we will publish many (but not all) of the forecasts a few days afterward online. Here’s the latest…

Federal regulators have finalized a new rule regarding H-1B visas. The rule keeps only the least controversial parts of the original proposal, first issued last fall. 

These include a “beneficiary-centric” H-1B registration process, whereby an employee may be selected only once in each lottery. The goal is to avoid giving employees with support from multiple employers an unfair advantage. 

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The rule will also allow for more flexible start dates for H-1B visa recipients, and endeavor to boost integrity with document mandates and harsher, swifter penalties for fraud. 

Employers should also expect to pay higher filing fees for the next fiscal year. H-1B visas allow employers to hire high-skilled foreign workers however, the number is capped at 65,000 annually, with an additional 20,000 set aside for foreigners with advanced degrees from U.S. colleges and universities. 

Demand for this visa program has consistently outpaced supply since the H-1B visa was first introduced in 1990.

This forecast first appeared in The Kiplinger Letter, which has been running since 1923 and is a collection of concise weekly forecasts on business and economic trends, as well as what to expect from Washington, to help you understand what’s coming up to make the most of your investments and your money. Subscribe to The Kiplinger Letter.

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Matthew Housiaux
Reporter, The Kiplinger Letter
Housiaux covers the White House and state and local government for The Kiplinger Letter. Before joining Kiplinger in June 2016, he lived in Sioux Falls, SD, where he was the forum editor of Augustana University's student newspaper, the Mirror. He also contributed stories to the Borgen Project, a Seattle-based nonprofit focused on raising awareness of global poverty. He earned a B.A. in history and journalism from Augustana University.