With an aim of awarding the visa to the most skilled and highest paid foreign workers, Donald Trump’s administration proposed major changes to the H-1B application process.

Under a new proposed merit-based rule, a notice for which was issued yesterday, companies employing foreign workers on the H-1B visa – under the Congressional mandated annual caps — would have to electronically register with the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) during a designated registration period.

The H1-B visa has an annual numerical limit cap of 65,000 visas each fiscal year as mandated by the US Congress. The first 20,000 petitions filed on behalf of beneficiaries with a US master’s degree or higher are exempt from the cap.

“The proposed rule would reverse the selection order and count all registrations or petitions towards the number projected as needed to reach the H-1B cap first,” the DHS said.

“This proposed change would increase the chances that beneficiaries with a master’s or higher degree from a US institution of higher education would be selected under the H-1B cap and that H-1B visas would be awarded to the most-skilled and highest-paid beneficiaries,” it said.

The proposed process would result in an estimated increase of up to 16 per cent (or 5,340 workers) in the number of selected H-1B beneficiaries with a master’s degree or higher from a US institution of higher education, the DHS said.

“This would help reduce wait times for cap selection notifications. The proposed rule also limits the filing of H-1B cap-subject petitions to the beneficiary named on the original selected registration, which would protect the integrity of this registration system,” USCIS said.

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