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【ARCFE News】HOW THE NEW H1B RULES AFFECT FOREIGN WORKERS

  1. 9/11 Response and Biometric Entry-Exit Fee

  2. Redefining specialty occupation

  3. Impact on foreign workers

  4. Is this the end to your American Dream? Is there an alternative option?


 

THE H1B PROGRAM


The H1B program allows U.S. employers to hire foreign workers in specialty occupations that require specialized knowledge and a bachelor's degree or higher. Employers must petition the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) on behalf of the worker and demonstrate that no qualified American workers are available for the position. Successful H-1B visa holders can work in the U.S. for up to three years, with the possibility of extensions, and may also be eligible to apply for permanent residency.



9/11 RESPONSE AND BIOMETRIC ENTRY-EXIT FEE


The 9/11 Response and Biometric Entry-Exit Fee is a charge levied to support enhanced security measures and the implementation of biometric entry and exit tracking systems in the US. This fee helps fund initiatives to improve the accuracy and efficiency of immigration control and to ensure national security.


This fee is imposed on employers with 50 or more employees in the U.S., where over 50% of those employees hold H1B or L1 visas. Currently, the fee is required only for initial petitions or when there is a change of employer.


PROPOSED RULE CHANGE


Under a new proposed rule, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) would mandate that employers also pay $4,000 to extend an H1B visa and $4,500 to extend an L1 visa as part of the 9/11 Response and Biometric Entry-Exit Fee.



REDEFINING SPECIALTY OCCUPATION


The proposal to redefine the "specialty occupation" coincides with other planned reforms to the H1B visa program. The new regulations intend to restrict H1B eligibility by mandating that positions require degrees directly aligned with the specific specialty. This mirrors a previous Trump-era policy that faced legal challenges for excluding numerous skilled professionals. For example: Degrees in business administration could potentially be classified as "general" and considered inadequate under these new regulations.



IMPACT ON FOREIGN WORKERS


If these new rules are implemented, they would particularly affect Indian H1B visa holders or Indians seeking the H1B visas the most, as they make up the majority of the H1B workforce (74.5% per USCIS H1B FY2019 data). Employers subject to the new fees would face increased costs associated with H1B and L1 visa petitions, impacting companies that rely heavily on these visas for their workforce. This proposed rule change also comes closely of the H1B 70% filing fee hike that took effect this past April 1st.


Additionally, the new definition of "specialty occupation" will also bring major hurdles to employers seeking to hire foreign tech workers whose degrees are not precisely in the specific field they would be working in. It's important to note that many tech workers, including Americans, often do not have degrees that would exactly match their job field.


These changes will lead employers to rethink and adjust their hiring strategies, potentially becoming more cautious when extending offers to foreign workers and prioritizing hiring American workers to avoid these extensive expenses and hurdles.


It will also significantly increase the difficulty and competitiveness for foreign workers to secure employment, where employers are willing to commit resources and effort to hiring and sponsoring them.



NOT THE END TO YOUR AMERICAN DREAM ——

CONSIDER THE ALTERNATIVE OPTION


The EB-5 program offers a path to US permanent residency (Green Card) for foreign investors who invest in designated EB-5 projects, creating at least 10 jobs for the American workforce. Unlike the H1B visa, which is employer-sponsored and requires specialized skills, EB-5 allows investors more control over their immigration process and does not require employer sponsorship or job-specific qualifications.


5 ADVANTAGES OF EB-5 OVER H1B


  1. Permanent Residency: EB-5 offers a pathway to US permanent residency (Green Card), leading eventually to citizenship, while H1B visa holders typically do not have a direct path to permanent residency.

  2. Investor Control: EB-5 investors have control over their investment and immigration process, whereas H1B visa holders are dependent on employer sponsorship and job availability.

  3. No Job Specificity: EB-5 does not require job-specific qualifications or sponsorship from an employer, unlike the H1B visa which ties the visa holder to a specific job and employer.

  4. Family Benefits: EB-5 investors can include immediate family members (spouse and unmarried children under 21) in their application for US residency, providing a broader immigration benefit compared to the H1B visa which does not extend to family without separate processes.

  5. Path to Citizenship: EB-5 investors can eventually apply for US citizenship after meeting residency requirements, whereas H1B visa holders must typically navigate complex visa renewals and extensions without guarantee of permanent residency.


SAVE TIME & MONEY WITH EB-5 CONCURRENT FILING


The EB-5 Reform and Integrity Act of 2022 (EB-5 RIA 2022) offers great benefits to investors and their families, including concurrent filing. Concurrent filing allows investors who are present in the U.S. under a different visa category to file their I-526E petition at the same time as their Adjustment of Status (AOS) package. This would gives investors and their families freedom to live, work and travel while waiting for their Green Card petitions to be processed.


Forms to be filed at the same time through EB-5 Concurrent Filing:

  1. I-526E (Immigrant Petition by Regional Center Investor)

  2. I-485 (Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status)

  3. I-131 (Application for Travel Document) - Advance Parole (travel document)

  4. I-765 (Application for Employment Authorization) - EAD Card (work authorization)



FREEDOM TO WORK & TRAVEL WITHIN JUST 2-6 MONTHS OF FILING


Many of our investors who filed concurrently in the U.S. have successfully obtained their combo card within just 2-4 months of filing, with the fastest case being within only 57 days! This combo card allows them to work freely in the U.S. without restrictions and to travel and re-enter the country without needing additional visas.


AWARD-WINNING EB-5 REGIONAL CENTER

WITH 10+ YEARS OF EXPERIENCE


ARCFE is an award-winning Regional Center first designated by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services on March 5th, 2013 (Pre-EB-5 RIA 2022) and was redesignated under the EB-5 RIA 2022 bill on December 15th, 2022. We have assisted over 1500 clients through 15 real estate development projects, with a 100% project approval rate up to date. ARCFE has successfully raised and managed EB-5 funds and has returned EB-5 funds to all of our eligible investors. As of December 2023, we have repaid $62M+ USD. 



While the H-1B program has been popular among foreign workers, its instability and constant changes make it unreliable for your future plans. It’s essential to have a solid strategy that offers stability and a clear path to obtaining U.S. Green Cards. Speak with one of our team members to discuss your eligibility and start your journey to permanent residency today.


 



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