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H-1B visa changes may only have a small effect on scientists

by Jyllian Kemsley
October 9, 2020 | A version of this story appeared in Volume 98, Issue 39


Employers looking to bring skilled workers into the US will face new hurdles under rule changes to H-1B and other temporary visas. The US Departments of Homeland Security and Labor issued the reforms Oct. 6. Among other changes, the rules tighten the definition of “specialty occupation” and increase the wages employers must pay workers on such visas. However, the changes in degree and skill requirements are unlikely to affect scientists as much as applicants in other occupations, Rebecca J. Bernhard, an attorney at law firm Dorsey & Whitney, says in a statement. Instead, they will have a greater impact on jobs for which multiple, “more generalized degrees” would be acceptable, such as for marketing or some IT positions, she says. The new rules come after a federal judge blocked the Trump administration from enforcing a June 22 ban on issuing H-1B visas. The judge ruled Oct. 1 on a suit brought by the National Association of Manufacturers, the National Retail Federation, the US Chamber of Commerce, and other groups. The ruling applies only to members of those groups.


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