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OIS NEWS - 12/2/2020

Court Orders Halt to DHS and DOL Interim Final Rules Impacting H-1B and PERM Matters

On Dec. 1, 2020, the U.S District Court for the Northern District of California set aside two interim final rules impacting the H-1B visa program for foreign workers in the U.S. In the matter of the Chamber of Commerce of the United States v. U.S. Department of Homeland Security, the court found that the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) and U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) did not provide good cause for side-stepping the standard notice and comment period involved in the rule making process.

In early October, the Office of International Services notified the UIC community of the DHS and DOL interim final rules which amended the visa processes for many foreign workers in the U.S. Specifically, DHS presented new regulations which were set to take effect on Dec. 8, 2020, wherein the regulatory definition of and standards for a “specialty occupation” and “United States employer” were narrowed and the validity period for third-party placement petitions was limited to a maximum of 1 year. The interim final rule presented by DOL took effect immediately on Oct. 8, 2020 and changed how prevailing wages were calculated for H-1B nonimmigrant visas, employment based 2 preference (master's degree and higher) green cards and employment based 3 (bachelor's degree) green cards, significantly increasing minimum allowed wages in many fields. Following the Courts decision, these rules are no longer in effect. At this point, it is not known whether or not the DOL or DHS will appeal the summary judgement.

It will take DOL a couple of days to update the Office of Foreign Labor Certification (OFLC) database to reflect wages prior to the implementation of the Oct. 8 interim final rule. OIS will also update forms and processes to reflect the return to pre-Oct. 8 wages and will reach out as needed to departments with impacted cases in processes.

OIS will continue to monitor this situation and notify the UIC international community and department administrators with updates as they become available. In the meantime, please feel free to send any questions or concerns about this announcement to us at ois@uic.edu or +1 (312) 996-3121.