Original Date AnnouncedOctober 8, 2020
DHS issues on October 8, 2020, an interim final rule restricting criteria for the H-1B program. The rule revises key H-1B definitions such as “specialty occupation,” limits third-party placement H-1B validity to one year increments, raises evidentiary requirements, codifies USCIS's H-1B site visit authority, and reimposes contract and itinerary requirements that had been rescinded earlier this year. The rule follows from POTUS's June proclamation restricting the entry of H-1B and other nonimmigrant workers, stating that these changes are due to the economic crisis caused by the COVID-19 public health emergency. This IFR was signed by Chad Mizelle, Senior Official Performing the Duties of the General Counsel, on behalf of Acting Secretary Wolf. The rule was by the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California.
Subsequently, on January 15, 2021, DHS issues an interim final rule that finalizes one section of the October 8 interim rule, changing and broadening the definition of the employer-employee relationship by incorporating what it terms common law elements into the definition of an employer. By broadening the definition, USCIS is now requiring the entities that use the services of the H-1B worker ("secondary employers") to also file H-1B petitions if they meet the broader definition.
[ID #1092]Interim Final Rule: Strengthening the H–1B Nonimmigrant Visa Classification Program 8 CFR Part 214
Effective DateDecember 7, 2020
Subsequent Trump-Era and Court Action(s)
October 19, 2020
Chamber of Commerce of the U.S.A. et al. v. DHS (N.D. Cal. Oct. 19, 2020) - Complaint
On October 19th, 2020, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Stanford University, and other business groups filed a lawsuit challenging this rule (along with DOL's simultaneously-issued rule) as a "coordinated assault on the H-1B visa category." See Chamber of Commerce of the United States of America et al v. United States Department of Homeland Security et al, 3:20-cv-07331 (N.D. Cal.)View Document
**Litigation is listed for informational purposes and is not comprehensive. For the current status of legal challenges, check other sources.**
December 1, 2020
Chamber of Commerce, et al., v. DHS, et al.: Order granting plaintiffs' motion for partial summary judgment
Finding that the government failed to show good cause for effectuating a new rule without first conducting APA notice and comment, the U.S. district court for the Northern District of California sets aside both the DOL and USCIS rules regarding H-1Bs.
**Litigation is listed for informational purposes and is not comprehensive. For the current status of legal challenges, check other sources.**View Document
January 15, 2021
Wage & Hour Division FIELD ASSISTANCE BULLETIN No. 2021-1
DOL's Wage and Hour Division (WHD) issues a directive changing its interpretation of what constitutes an employment relationship for H-1B purposes.View Document
January 15, 2021
OFLC: H-1B Program Bulletin Clarifying Filing Requirements for Labor Condition Applications by Secondary Employers
DOL's Office of Foreign Labor Certification (OFLC) issues a directive changing its interpretation of what constitutes an employment relationship for H-1B purposes.View Document
Biden Administration ActionJanuary 20, 2021
DOL Website: Withdrawal of H-1B notice
This Biden administration policy withdraws one of the Trump-era policies identified in this entry.
On January 20, 2021, the Labor Department withdrew Wage and Hour Division and the Office of Foreign Labor Certification directives and a Federal Register notice, that would have required all entities meeting a newly-articulated common law definition of "employer" to file labor condition applications (LCAs) for H-1B specialty occupation workers performing duties in their workplaces. The department stated that the notices were withdrawn “for the purpose of considering the process for issuing this interpretation as well as reviewing related issues of law, fact, and policy.” The language reflects a memorandum from Biden’s Office of Management and Budget to freeze most of the previous administration’s regulations that have not yet been published or are awaiting effective dates.View Document
Biden Administration Action: Revoked/ReplacedMay 19, 2021
2021.05.19 Strengthening the H–1B Nonimmigrant Visa Classification Program, Implementation of Vacatur
This Biden administration policy revokes in its entirety the Trump-era policy identified in this entry.
On May 19, 2021, DHS issued a Final Rule removing the October 2020 Interim Final Rule from the CFR, implementing the district court's vacatur of the rule.View Document
Biden Administration Action: Revoked/ReplacedOctober 23, 2023
2023.10.23 DHS Proposed H-1B Amendments
This proposed Biden administration policy would replace the already-revoked Trump-era policy identified in this entry.
On October 23, 2023, DHS issued a proposed rule to amend H-1B regulations. Some of the proposals closely mirror the Trump-era policy identified in this entry but no longer in effect, such as the proposed revised definition of "specialty occupation" and codification of site visits. Other proposals are opposite to the 2020 rule, such as to remove reference to "employer-employee relationship" from the definition of "U.S. employer" and to eliminate the H programs' itinerary requirements.View Document
Current StatusNot in effect
Most Recent ActionOctober 23, 2023 Action: Revoked/Replaced 2023.10.23 DHS Proposed H-1B AmendmentsJanuary 20, 2021
Acted on by Biden AdministrationMay 19, 2021
Acted on by Biden AdministrationOctober 23, 2023
Acted on by Biden Administration