By: Chris Musillo

In two sweeping and lengthy regulations the USCIS and DOL have attempted to jam through last minute rules that dramatically alter employment-based immigration. The DOL rule takes effect on Thursday October 8. The USCIS rule will take effect in 60 days. Both rules are expected to be challenged in court.

DOL Rule

The DOL rule dramatically increases prevailing wages for H-1B and EB-2 and EB-3 workers. The rule changes the computation of Level I, II, III, and IV. Current Prevailing wages use this formula:

Level US wage percentile
I 17
II 34
III 50
IV 67

The new rule changes the formula:
Level US wage percentile
I 45
II 62
III 78
IV 95
USCIS Rule

The new USCIS regulation will be published on October 8 and take effect 60 days later. It applies only to petitions filed on or after the effective date.

The rule implements several changes:
  • It revises the H-1B definition of “specialty occupation” in a very limiting way. This new regulation seeks to rewrite the approvability of H-1B visas. The USCIS has consistently lost in federal court because it has repeatedly misapplied its own definition of specialty occupation. This regulatory change seeks to reduce the likelihood of the USCIS losing on this issue in federal court.
  • The new rule limits third-party placement H-1B validity to one-year increments. There does not appear to be any statutory justification for this change other than the USCIS’ own belief that third-party placements cause more fraud. As with the rewrite of the specialty occupation rule, this regulatory change seeks to reduce the likelihood of the USCIS losing on this issue in federal court.
  • It also reimposes contract and itinerary requirements in H-1B petitions, which had been ruled illegal by several federal courts. Again, the USCIS seeks to reduce the likelihood of the USCIS losing on this issue in federal court.

Musillo Unkenholt will shortly have more detail about these two massive new changes.