NAICU Washington Update

District Court Overturns Rules on H-1B Visas

December 03, 2020

This week, the U.S. District Court for the Northern District in California decided that the interim final rules (IFRs) for the H-1B visa program issued by the Departments of Labor (DOL) and Homeland Security (DHS) in October are invalid. If upheld, the ruling would effectively render the DOL and DHS rules invalid nationwide.

Although the court’s ruling effectively reverses the IFRs, the Trump Administration may seek to preserve the regulations by appealing the ruling.

In its ruling in favor of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the court found that both agencies lacked the statutorily mandated “good cause” to issue IFRs in lieu of following the required notice-and-comment rulemaking process. The court also held that DOL lacked good cause to implement the rules effective immediately. 

Both DHS and DOL announced the IFRs in October.  The DOL rule increased minimum salary requirements for H-1B visa holders and the DHS rule tightened eligibility requirements for H-1B visa holders by redefining “specialty occupations.” The DOL wage rule went into effect immediately and the DHS eligibility rule was scheduled to go into effect on December 7.

Shortly after the IFRs were issued, NAICU joined two separate amicus briefs (available here and here) in support of colleges and universities that challenged the regulations. 

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