Trump administration overhaul of H-1B visa program challenged in court


WASHINGTON – A group of information technology companies filed a lawsuit Friday evening challenging the Trump administration’s rule that employers must pay their foreign employees on H-1B visas in order to raise salaries, aimed at visas Eligibility has to be tightened.

The Trump administration rolled out its long-awaited overhaul of the H-1B visa program for high-skilled workers last week, a program highly valued by American high-tech firms and other employers.

A piece of that reform, released by the Labor Department, last Thursday sidelined the period of public comment. The department’s rule raises substantially that minimum wage companies are required to pay their H-1B employees.

ITServe Alliance’s suit, a trade group representing information companies, was filed against the department in the US District Court in New Jersey.

“Without providing prior notice and giving the plaintiff or general public an opportunity to comment, the Department of Labor dramatically changed the way it calculates prevailing wage rates for the H-1B program,” the suit states .

The suit argues that the Trump administration cut corners by issuing regulations on an emergency basis, rather than a full analysis of current visa holders and its impact on the economy, and to include possible changes based on public feedback.

The Department of Labor did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Separate lawsuits are expected as soon as next week against another set of rules issued by the Department of Homeland Security. Those rules limit eligibility to qualify for an H-1B visa and shorten its duration for some contract personnel. This rule is going to come into effect in December.

Under the new wage requirements of the Department of Labor, which rely on wage surveys by profession and location, companies will be required to pay entry-level workers at the 45th percentile, at least 17th compared to the current liability Must be paid on percentage. Top level employees, who are currently required to receive salaries at the 67th percentile, will be required to pay the 95th salary.

According to Labor Department data, an entry-level electrical engineer in San Jose, California, for example, would be paid at least $ 127,042 before the new rule went into effect.

The new rule is likely to affect a small subset of H-1B holders – only those who are in the initial stage of filing a renewable application. Should it remain in effect, however, it could have a huge impact on smaller firms such as small start-ups, which have limited cash to pay higher mandatory salaries.

Write Michelle Hackman at [email protected]

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