Key Immigration Developments for Employers

Key Immigration Developments (Designed by Freepik)
March 20, 2023

Interested parties have begun seeing many proposed immigration changes for high-skilled workers, including changes to the H-1B visa. In addition to these proposed changes, these parties will see that some high-profile immigration cases have yet to receive a decision. The outcome of these proposals and court cases could lead to significant changes in employment-based immigration. Until official changes become publicized, here are some that many parties hope to see and have come to expect in the coming months.

Increased Immigration Fees

First, interested parties have seen a proposal from the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). This proposal would raise fees for certain immigration benefit requests. According to the USCIS, this increase would provide the funds needed to reduce backlogs and return to standard processing times. The USCIS also included a $600 surcharge on key employment-based filings that would fund humanitarian programs.

As of March 13, the proposal has completed its 60-day public comment period. Now, the USCIS must review the comments before formulating a final rule. Afterward, it must submit a report to Congress and undergo another 60-day wait before legislation can implement it. Additionally, litigation could further delay the implementation of the increased fees.

The United States Department of State (DOS) is also finalizing a rule to increase fees on visa applications and other requests. However, the fee increases are not as high as the USCIS.

Modernizing the H-1B Visa

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) intends to change the H-1B visa requirements and oversight by issuing a proposed rule. Concerned parties can expect this proposal in October, and the likely flexibility increases in the F-1 international student visa program.

Changes in Form I-9

The DHS also plans to finalize a rule to formalize the department’s authority concerning the employment eligibility verification (Form I-9) process. Should it take effect, the DHS could allow some employers to verify employment eligibility documents remotely via fax, video, or electronic copies.

During the COVID-19 national emergency, the DHS established temporary remote verification procedures with other flexible measures. Unfortunately, the flexibilities for Form I-9 will expire on July 31. Many do not foresee another extension.

Wage Levels for Foreign Workers

The United States Department of Labor (DOL) also intends to propose a regulation. The agency’s proposal would institute a new system for setting prevailing wage levels for the H-1B, H-1B1, E-3, and PERM programs.

DOL resumed its work on amending wage obligations once a federal court vacated a Trump administration rule, which would have taken effect in November 2022. The agency intends to publish the proposal in September.

These are just some expected changes in employment-related immigration that will likely affect many employers. Unfortunately, compliance has often proved challenging due to the frequent changes in these immigration laws. In most cases, I-9 regulations see the bulk of complications, increasing the chances of costly mistakes. The best way to ensure you complete the form correctly is to use an electronic I-9 management system. This system will guide you through the entire process and safely and securely store the records.

There’s a smarter way to verify your employment eligibility I-9 Compliance makes things easier on your end with automation. Start today.