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Biden announces plans to change immigration work programs

The Biden administration’s first published regulatory agenda includes plans for significant changes to the H-1B visa program for high-skilled workers.

According to the agenda, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) plans to amend the H-1B program by:

  • Redefining the employer/employee relationship;
  • Clarifying when USCIS must be notified about a change in H-1B employment; and
  • Creating rules for employer site visits.

The Department of Labor (DOL) plans to go forward with a proposal to increase prevailing wages for the H-1B and PERM (employment-based green card visa) programs.

In January 2021, before Donald Trump left office, a final rule was issued that would have increased wages for workers with H-1B visas and employment-based green cards. That rule was set to take effect on Nov. 14, 2022, before it was vacated by a federal court in June.

A new proposed rule on prevailing wages is expected from the DOL in November.

Law proposed to legalize millions of workers

When he took office, Joe Biden proposed a far-ranging immigration reform measure, “The U.S. Citizenship Act of 2021.”

The bill would make it possible for the millions of undocumented workers in the U.S. to become citizens.

It would also provide work authorization for the spouses of H-1B visa holders and incentives to H-1B employers to pay higher wages. The measure includes a provision that would remove per-country visa caps for green cards and one that would clear the employment-based visa backlog.

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