US Plans To Replace Lottery System With Salary Offer To Issue H1-B Visas

New Delhi: Barely a week before the US presidential election, the administration of President Donald Trump has announced to scrap the lottery for awarding H1-B professional visas and replace it with a system that ranks applicants by the salaries offered to them.

“The current use of random selection to allocate H-1B visas makes it harder for businesses to plan their hiring, fails to leverage the H-1B programme to truly compete for the world’s best and brightest and hurts American workers by bringing in relatively lower-paid foreign labour at the expense of the American workforce,” a news agency quoted Acting DHS Deputy Secretary Ken Cuccinelli as saying.

President Trump has suspended the H1-B visas till the end of the year citing high unemployment level due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Explaining the new system, the DHS said it would prioritise applicants “based on corresponding wage levels in order to better protect the economic interests of US workers, while still allowing US employers to meet their personnel needs and remain globally competitive”.

The US has so far been using a lottery system to randomly select the 85,000 people who would get the visas because of the high number of applicants. There are more than 200,000 applicants this year.

Of the visa slots, 65,000 are open to all while 20,000 are for those with advanced US degrees. Indians are the biggest beneficiaries of the H1-B visas getting about 75%.

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