US court sets aside proposed Trump-era rule on H-1B visa selection

A US federal judge has struck down a proposed Trump-era rule that aimed to replace the current H-1B cap lottery system with a wage-level-based selection process. Judge Jeffrey S White of the US District Court for the Northern District of California vacated a Trump-era H-1B cap selection regulation on the grounds that then-Acting Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf was not lawfully serving in his role at the time the regulation was promulgated.

The judge on Wednesday granted the US Chamber of Commerce’s motion for summary judgment in the its lawsuit challenging the regulation, according to the court order uploaded by the Chamber’s litigation centre. The H-1B visa is a non-immigrant visa that allows US companies to employ foreign workers in speciality occupations that require theoretical or technical expertise. Technology companies depend on it to hire tens of thousands of employees each year from countries like India and China. The number of H-1B visas issued each year is capped at 65,000, plus an additional 20,000 reserved for individuals with advanced degrees. The current system for selecting applications for consideration is a hybrid of first-come, first-served and a lottery. During former president Donald Trump’s final days in office, the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced to do away with the traditional lottery system in deciding the successful applicants for the H-1B visas.