US plans to relax H-1B visa restrictionsWhat’s the matter with H-1B Visa Program?

The US is considering major changes to the H-1B visa program to meet the demand for skilled workers driven by the Chips and Science Act. Proposed solutions address deficiencies like lottery system issues and national cap disparities.

Initiatives include ‘Chipmakers’ Visas, a quarterly auction system, and renewable 5-year visas. The Semiconductor Industry Association warns of a potential workforce shortage by 2030 if challenges persist. Read on to learn more.

The United States is considering significant changes to its H-1B visa program to meet the growing demand for skilled workers, a consequence of the investments under the Chips and Science Act. The US Economic Innovation Group (EIG) is at the forefront, proposing revisions to the existing H-1B visa system to tackle various deficiencies.

The Current Challenges with H1B Visa Program:

Lottery System Limitations:

The current lottery system lacks prioritization of specific attributes and fails to allocate visas based on industries with the highest demand.

Allocation Disparities:

With an annual allocation of 65,000 H-1B visas and an additional 20,000 for master’s degree holders, there’s a lack of a straightforward path for engineering graduates who miss the initial allocation.

National Cap Disadvantages:

The 7% cap on H-1B visas for any single nation disproportionately affects countries with large populations like China and India, which are major sources of STEM workers.

Long Wait Times for Green Card Transition:

The lottery system for transitioning from an H-1B visa to a Green Card results in extended wait times, particularly for individuals from China and India due to country caps.

Limited Job Search Window:

H-1B visa holders face a narrow 60-day window to secure a new position if they lose their jobs, risking their ability to stay in the country.

International Renewal Requirement:

Current H-1B visa holders must leave the US to renew their visas since the domestic renewal program was discontinued in 2004.


What are the Proposed Solutions to H1B Visa Program?

‘Chipmakers’ Visas Program:

The EIG proposes the issuance of 10,000 ‘Chipmakers’ Visas annually, featuring an expedited path to obtaining a Green Card.

Visa Auction System:

Introducing a quarterly auction system, where 2,500 visas would be auctioned off to qualifying firms, with immediate ownership transfer to the sponsored worker.

Renewable 5-Year Visa:

The proposal includes a renewable 5-year visa, providing firms with certainty for scaling up investments and training domestic workers.

Utilizing Visa Auction Fees:

Visa auction fees would be dedicated to funding the training of American workers and providing scholarships for students and workers in the semiconductor supply chain.

Government Initiatives:

The US State Department has taken steps to address some challenges through a pilot program allowing eligible H-1B holders to renew visas within the US.

Potential Consequences:

Failure to address recruitment challenges may lead to a shortage of 67,000 employees in the US by 2030, as warned by the Semiconductor Industry Association (SIA).


The proposed revisions aim to reshape the H-1B visa program, fostering a more flexible and responsive system that meets the evolving demands of the workforce. It remains to be seen how these changes will be implemented and their impact on addressing the current shortcomings in the visa program.

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Frequently Asked Questions

What are the new H-1B rules for 2024?

The U.S. Department of State is introducing a stateside visa renewal pilot program in January 2024 that will allow for 20,000 H-1B visa applications. The program will be limited to eligible foreign nationals who received an H-1B visa from a U.S. consulate in India between Feb. 1, 2021, and Sept. 2.

What are the new proposed H-1B changes?

Changes to the Definition of “U.S. Employer”: USCIS proposes adding “beneficiary-owners” to the definition. As proposed, if the noncitizen owns at least 51% of the U.S. employer or has “majority voting rights,” the noncitizen may perform duties “directly related” to owning and directing the business.

What is the cap count for H-1B 2024?

USCIS has received a sufficient number of petitions needed to reach the congressionally mandated 65,000 H-1B visa regular cap and the 20,000 H-1B visa U.S. advanced degree exemption, known as the master’s cap, for fiscal year (FY) 2024.

Is H-1B valid only for 6 years?

After the completion of the 6 year limitation of the H1-B visa, the individual is termed as an alien. The alien has to leave the United States for at least a year to get a new H1-B status. Under the American Competitiveness in the Twenty-First Century Act, some H1-B employees can extend beyond 6 years.

Why is H-1B amendment needed?

According to the law, an employer must file an H-1B Amendment Petition in the following situations: When there are significant changes to the job description of the employee. When there is a change in the location of employment. When there is a change in the work hours of employment.


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