Since 2017, Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has been working to revise the definition of the “specialty occupation.” The agency’s stated aim is to increase the focus on obtaining the best and the brightest foreign nationals and protecting U.S. workers and wages. DHS’s proposed regulatory changes to the specialty occupation visa category include revised definitions of “employment” and “employer-employee relationship,” as well as additional requirements to ensure employers pay appropriate wages to H-1B visa holders.
On September 16, the Department of Labor (DOL) sent an Interim Final Rule aimed at restructuring H-1B/H-1B1/E-3 and PERM wage levels to the to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) for review. The text of the rule is not yet available. The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) serves the President of the United States in overseeing the implementation of his vision across the Executive Branch, including policy, budget, management and regulatory objectives. Review of the rule by the OMB is the last step before publication and enactment.
When will the rule be published?
The proposed rule is classified as an Interim Final Rule (IFR), which means that the DOL finds “good cause” to issue the final rule without first publishing the proposed rule publicly and accepting stakeholder comments. The rule will be made available for public inspection at least a day before its official publication in the Federal Register. Given that this type of rule becomes effective immediately upon publication, there will be little foreknowledge of the exact regulatory changes that DHS plans to enact.