June 04, 2021
A draft document obtained by the New York Times suggests the Biden administration intends to “restore opportunities for foreign employees through the existing H-1B program” and reduce administrative barriers to legal immigration.
Under the Trump administration, denial rates for initial applications for H-1B visas for high-skilled workers tripled and nearly doubled for L-1 visas for intracompany transfers. Similarly, the rates at which requests for evidence were issued greatly increased (20.8% in 2016 to 47.2% in Q1 2020). In addition, the average time to obtain an employment-based green card doubled.
Per the New York Times, the “DHS Plan to Restore Trust in Our Legal Immigration System” offers detailed policy proposals that would help more newcomers move to the United States, including high-skilled workers.
However, the Biden administration is also considering rulemakings that would make hiring early career professionals on H-1B visas more difficult.
What it means: The document is a glimmer of hope for companies, as the Biden administration thus far had shown support for the Trump administration’s restrictive stance toward H-1B visas. The White House declined to comment on the document but underlined that it is just a draft and will be subject to further revisions. Nevertheless, the blueprint could indicate a change in the aggressive enforcement tack the previous administration had established.