The National Association of Software and Service Companies (NASSCOM) has said that the changes announced to the H-1B visa program will restrict access to talent and will harm the American economy, endanger US jobs and put US interests at risk, slowing down R&D into solutions to the COVID crisis.
The new rules notified by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), and the Department of Labor (DoL) for the H-1B visa regime, as per Nasscom, change the definitions of specialty occupation, employer and employee-employer relationship and limit the validity of an H-1B visa to one year for a worker placed at a third-party worksite.
Nasscom also claims that they increase enforcement and investigations for these visas and also change the current four-tiered prevailing wage system for jobs that US employers seek to fill with foreign workers. Both rules will be issued as Interim Final Rules (IFRs), without any notice period or right to comment.
As per Nasscom, the overall US unemployment rate grew from 4.1% in Jan-2020 to 8.4% in August-2020; while unemployment in computer occupations declined from 3% to 2.5% in this period. In the 30-day period ending September 28, 2020, there were over 652,000 active job vacancy postings advertised online for jobs in computer occupations: up from 625,000 vacancies in the 30-day period ending May 13, 2020.
Nasscom says that the new rules announced will worsen this talent gap by making it more difficult for US employers to hire foreign workers.
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