Last month, United States Customs and Immigration Services announced a policy memorandum that rescinds a December 22nd, 2000 memo allowing computer programmer positions to be eligible for H-1B visa status as specialty occupations.
The new memo states that computer programmers, specifically those in entry-level positions, may no longer be classified under specialty occupation positions, and may not be eligible for H1B status, stating that a bachelor’s degree in a specific computer programming field may not be required for the petitioned position.
USCIS justifies the revoking of the December 22nd, 2000 memorandum by expressing how the memo is obsolete, given that it was implemented based on data organized and published in previous editions of the Occupational Outlook Handbook. On top of this, USCIS states that the memorandum did not “fully or properly articulate” the standards needed to petition for H-1B specialty occupation adjudications, including the relevancy of the earned bachelor’s degrees by H1-B candidates.
While USCIS states that the rescinding of the memorandum, and the implementation of the new memo, does not constitute a change in policy, it does fall in line with the administration’s expressed goal in reserving temporary visas for only highly skilled workers, while encouraging companies and organizations to reserve entry to mid level jobs for American workers. The change reflects a targeting of companies that outsource entry-level, lower-paid positions.
Moving forward, companies and individuals petitioning for H-1B visa status for computer programming positions will need to provide supplementary evidence that their specific position is highly specialized, and one that requires professional degrees. It is expected that those seeking entry-level positions will receive more scrutiny throughout the application process.
It is more important now than ever to have expert legal resources when considering petitioning for the H-1B visa, given the administration’s expressed goals in changing the program. D’Alessio Law Group is closely monitoring all H-1B related policies and developments, and is dedicated to providing the best legal information suited to your specific needs and concerns. Please contact D’Alessio Law Group to explore your options within the H-1B program. Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call our offices (310) 909-3934.