New Rule Facilitates H-1B Transition for International Students

United States North America International Studies Higher Education News by Erudera News Oct 26, 2023

United States

Recent proposals for H-1B modernization rules have opened up new opportunities for international students who stay in the United States on an F-1 visa, to change their status to a non-immigrant work visa (H-1B).

An F-1 visa is a type of visa that permits international students to live in the US while pursuing full-time studies, Erudera.com reports.

The news has been announced by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), which, in collaboration with the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), has released a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) to make the modernization of the H-1B program happen.

According to a press release issued by the Department of Homeland Security, the proposed changes aim to simplify eligibility criteria, improve program efficiency, provide increased benefits and flexibilities for employers and employees, and strengthen measures for program integrity.

“DHS continues to develop and implement regulations that increase efficiency and improve processes for employers and workers navigating the immigration system. The Biden-Harris Administration’s priority is to attract global talent, reduce undue burdens on employers, and prevent fraud and abuse in the immigration system,” Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro N. Mayorkas said.

Under the H-1B program, employers in the United States can hire skilled employees who are needed to meet their business demands and remain competitive globally.

“The proposed rule would change how USCIS conducts the H-1B registration selection process to reduce the possibility of misuse and fraud. Under the current process, the more registrations that are submitted on behalf of an individual, the higher chance that individual will be selected in a lottery,” the press release said.

Cyrus Mehta, an immigration attorney based in New York, told the Times of India that the new regulation offers an extended “cap-gap protection period,” meaning students will have an extra six months of legal status and employment authorization.

The cap-gap period refers to the period between the expiration of an international student’s F-1 status and the start of the H-1B status. According to Mehta, it lasts from September 30 to April 1 of the next calendar year.

The 2022 SEVIS by the Numbers Report, a series of reports published by the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), showed there were a total of 1,362,157 international students holding active F-1 or M-1 study visas in the US last year. That was a 10.1 percent increase from the previous year.

Most international students in the US (90 percent) pursue higher education. Among them, nearly 37 percent pursue bachelor’s degrees, 41 percent pursue master’s, 16 percent are enrolled in PhD programs, and six percent pursue associate degrees.

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