The U.S. intends to modernize its H-1B visa program between now and the end of 2023. This move could benefit millions of applicants across the globe. One of the proposed ideas is to change the system so it will be easier for American start-ups to employ overseas workers on an H-1B non-immigrant visa. Another one is to also change a few other regulations in order to reduce opportunities for fraud or misuse and to streamline the whole H-1B registration process.
All of the above forms part of suggestions which DHS has put forth as part of what is known as the ‘Spring Agenda”, a twice-yearly affair that helps to create a regulatory roadmap for the various government agencies involved.
According to the DHS, it specifically wants to change the regulations related to the employee-employer relationship and introduce new guidelines and requirements for site visits such as those related to petitions that are filed by employers who depend on H-1B and whose core business info is difficult or impossible to be validated with commercially available data. Another benefit is that it will under certain circumstances make employment start dates more flexible and deal with ‘cap-gap’ issues that affect students who are in the United States on an F-1 visa.
The DHS has also suggested that its regulations be amended to make the way in which an Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status (Form I-485) is processed more efficient. This form has to be completed by holders of non-immigrant visas who want to change their status and apply for permanent residency or a green card.
The aim of the new proposals is to dramatically cut down the current processing times, which sometimes run into decades for applicants from countries such as India. This will also help to improve the efficient use of immediately available immigrant visas and make religious workers part of the system.
It is important to take note that these are currently only proposals. If they are accepted, it will most likely take a while before they can be implemented.