Washington Update

FASEB Supports Proposed Modernization of H1-B Visa Requirements

By: Nabila Riaz
Wednesday, December 20, 2023
FASEB recently submitted comments to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) in response to its Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) on updates to modernize the H-1B Specialty Occupation Worker Program.

In its comments, FASEB commended the proposed changes aimed at enhancing the effectiveness of U.S. mechanisms for attracting and retaining international talent. FASEB's comments specifically praised DHS's efforts to clarify policies and streamline H-1B eligibility requirements, expand H-1B cap-exempt areas, and extend "cap-gap" protections for F-1 students transitioning to H-1B status. These changes are expected to improve processing efficiency, alleviate application backlog stress, and enhance the overall well-being of the scientific workforce.

To strengthen the STEM workforce pipeline and foster innovation, FASEB recommended that DHS consider the degree field alongside relevant coursework, skills, and experience in defining and establishing criteria for a "specialty occupation." Additionally, FASEB urged DHS to provide further guidance on conducting site visits and clarity on what constitutes a refusal to comply.

FASEB eagerly anticipates the implementation of the final rule, emphasizing its potential to offer greater protections and prevent disruptions in employment authorization. The final rule is expected to contribute to a more robust and diverse STEM enterprise, further supporting the ability of international scholars to remain and work in the U.S.